I Love New York: Goodbye Tony Marx, Bring Us Back a Shirt
By The Executive Board
Quite similarly to the entire student population at the College, we are surprised and completely shocked at the news of Tony Marx stepping down as the President of the College. It struck suddenly, perhaps emphasized by the fact that many of us heard about the news from external sources. However, maybe contrary to what many students currently feel, we congratulate Marx on his new position at the prestigious New York Public Library. Although he hasn’t been President for as long as many others, Marx has made a place for himself among the student population, whether because of his booming voice, his visits to Val or the frosty reception he got at the hands of students throwing snowballs at him last year on the freshman quad. Over the past seven years Marx has made his mark on the College with his many skills and values. The impact of his decisions and viewpoints have had an undeniable impact on the College as well as in other higher institutions throughout the country. He stressed the importance of diversity and a commitment to Lives of Consequence for the entire Amherst community, and as he continually reminds us, made Amherst not just a place of privilege, but a place for all those who deserve to be here.

And while we firmly believe that there is still untapped potential teeming somewhere between his booming voice and politically-wired brain, we cannot help but express disappointment in the unfolding of yesterday’s events.

Discovering the surprising news posted on the website of The New York Times or as an exasperated Facebook status update instead of a direct address to the students was disheartening, considering that the news is something that directly and deeply affects the College. We would expect that news of this capacity would be delivered in a timely manner instead of in an e-mail several hours after the news had already spread through word of mouth. That the President last year communicated directly with the student body through a series of emails that increased transparency on important decisions related to the economic crisis, and fostered a sense of proximity that we doubt exists at many other institutions of higher learning only exacerbates our frustrations with the lack of communication at this crucial juncture.

However, we doubt very seriously that this was an intentional act — in all likelihood, a news leak in the early afternoon set off a chain of events that spiraled beyond anyone’s control. Perhaps it is only fair to speculate about how nice it would have been to know before the rest of the world. What we cannot do is blame Marx for an unforeseen breakdown of trust somewhere down the line.

His presence on campus will certainly be missed, but we have high hopes that a suitable replacement will be found in a timely fashion. In fact, in the mold of Marx, we cannot help but expect suitability — at a minimum, that is. The list of candidates should begin and end with those who embody Marx’s indelible charisma, his dedication to diversity and his amazing ability to deliver distinct Convocation and Commencement speeches every year.

The New York Public Library will be receiving a man very well-suited to their aim to increase accessibility and community outreach, particularly in underprivileged areas of the city. Seriously, the last guy to leave us for a library was Melville Dewey, and look what happened there.

Amherst, on the other hand, will turn from Tony in search for a new direction.

Issue 05, Submitted 2010-10-06 04:12:44