Numbers

Editors’ Comment

The universal language, the heart of all advancement, the bane of many a high school student’s experience: math, statistics, numbers. Numbers connect, calculate, measure. Numbers have meaning. It is that meaning that we search for in this issue.
In Jessica Corbett’s article on Ithaca College’s diversity — or lack thereof — the numbers the college uses for promotion are called into question by the students those numbers supposedly represent (Lost in the Numbers, page 13). The cliché “age is just a number” does not apply in a college town filled with underage drinkers and fake IDs, and Wishful Drinking (page 16) shares some of those students’ experiences from one night on the town.
Sometimes numbers are staggering yet unknown, like the population of refugees living in the United States. In fact, there are more than 100 refugees in Ithaca from Burma alone (Woman Without a Country, page 20).
Numbers have even become a social fad, representing superstitions and changing trends in pop culture. Some of these numbers make an appearance in a novel or film only to develop a strong following that debates their larger significance (It Figures, pg 30). Others take the form of statistics, and represent a trend and its exceptions, such as the equal split between men and women in one Sundance competition in an otherwise male-dominated film industry (Through A Different Lens, page 29).
The power of numbers and their implications are great. We can’t get through a day without numbers describing time, location, magnitude or even the importance of an issue. We can’t escape numbers, so we are choosing to embrace them.

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