Our expectations for what university life holds have been radically altered. Seniors have maybe one quarter of in-person interaction before them. First-years rely on Zoom to build formative friendships. Online classes and socials are a bare bones distillation of the robust and self-fashioning experience college is promised to be. Community members — from instructors with children to service workers without hazard pay — have been left to improvise a new normal. The supposed utopia of college life, though never fully realized for most Stanford affiliates, no longer seems conceivable, even as an ideal.
But as has been said again and again, this moment presents an opportunity to step back and scrutinize the gap between reality and promised ideals — and to perhaps do better. This kind of scrutiny is also needed when it comes to Stanford’s mission and its behavior, its contours in our current reality. And when we do