As the 2016/2017 academic year gets underway, the masthead of Enquiry, the independent student newsletter sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has changed. The reins of editor-in-chief have been handed over from Mike Adamo (Hamilton College Class of 2016) to staff writer Elizabeth (Liz) Barry (Class of 2017).

AHI Undergraduate Fellow Elizabeth Barry, Enquiry’s new editor-in-chief

Enquiry was founded in 2013 by AHI Undergraduate Fellows Paul Carrier, Dean Ball, and Joe Simonson to provide students with an “outlet for free thought and discourse” in the face of attacks by college professors and administrators as well as their undergraduate activist allies. The newspaper prints points of view and arguments that do not appear in many campus publications.  Welcome are “well-reasoned, well-written articles by students across the political spectrum, from paleo to progressive,” according to the website.

Enquiry’s fearless advocacy of free speech has prompted discussions and forums on campus. Articles by Dean Ball and Joe Simonson inspired an on-campus panel discussion called “Drawing the Line: Free Speech at Hamilton” in April 2014. The AHI undergraduate fellows debated government professors Peter Canavo and Rob Martin, anthropology professor Bonnie Urciuoli, and director of diversity and inclusion Amit Taneja to a packed audience of students and professors.

Liz Barry said she plans to keep “the spirit of free thought and discourse alive by publishing well-written, intriguing pieces that our peers put forth.” Ironically, even though the newsletter provides an outlet for a broad spectrum of political points of view, precisely because it has provided an outlet for voices “stifled on our campus” have activist students and faculty labeled the publication “ closed-minded.”  Over the past few years, issues of Enquiry have been regularly destroyed and defaced on campus with relatively little done on campus to protect freedom of enquiry, the very cause to which the publication is devoted. Acknowledging that some staff writers are of “a more conservative bent,” including neoconservative, traditionalist, religious, and libertarian students, she adds that Enquiry “aims to spark discussion among all students and faculty through thought-provoking student submissions.” She hopes to increase submissions and include submissions from undergraduate students at other schools in order to “grow a network of passionate peers.”

A Dean’s List student and member of Phi Alpha Theta national honor society, Liz is carrying a double concentration in history and economics. She spent the summer working as a Business Advisory Services intern at Grant Thornton, one of the nation’s premier business consulting firms, in New York City.  At Grant Thornton, Liz assisted teams in the Global Risk and Compliance practice with conducting Special Attestation reports and new client research, and won the Key Account case study competition for the New York Territory.

This academic year, Liz will continue to work on campus as a Senior Admissions Intern. Along with 16 other students, she will interview prospective students and participate in informational college nights.  She will also continue to participate in the Kappa Sigma Delta sorority, on the Hamilton Alumni Training Team, the Hamilton College Finance Club, and the Hamilton College Consulting Club.  Liz is a scholar/athlete and has been a member of the Hamilton College swimming and diving team since her freshman year; she holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

In her new role as editor-in-chief of Enquiry, Elizabeth is responsible for assigning, soliciting, and editing three student opinion pieces on political, cultural, and economic issues for the newspaper, which comes out every Monday.  She began writing for Enquiry in 2015 and has written about undermining ISIS online, the oil/OPEC crisis, climate negotiations, and college “scorecards.”

Liz’s introduction to the AHI came partly from taking classes with AHI Charter Fellows, Douglas Ambrose and Robert Paquette. She took Early U.S. History with Professor Ambrose in her sophomore year and recalls, “Not only did his dynamic teaching style make the class material interesting, but his emphasis on feedback on assignments made me a better writer.”

Once “armed with a passion for history,” she enrolled in Professor Paquette’s seminar on Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America during her junior year. The class was “transformative,” she said. “I read a great book and learned how to think critically. I encountered both professors again in their co-taught class on the Old South.”

Elizabeth went to her first AHI event in the fall of 2015 and says that since then she has been to nearly every event, lecture, and reading cluster meeting, as well as the annual Carl B. Menges Colloquium.  She goes because she values “the stimulating intellectual discussion that flows from listening to speakers from all different political and intellectual backgrounds” and “the challenge of reading and discussing great books with the AHI reading clusters. The AHI has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself, my values, and what it means to be a life-long learner,” she said, adding that she is “honored” to serve as Enquiry’s senior editor.

The AHI supports Enquiry financially and with editorial guidance by David Frisk, Ph.D., AHI Resident Fellow and former award-winning journalist. In addition to providing an outlet for students to freely discuss issues, the publication has helped launch the careers of three AHI Undergraduate Fellows. Dean Ball, class of 2014, accepted the position of Policy Manager of the Center for State and Local Leadership at the Manhattan Institute, one of the premier organizations in the United States for shaping urban policy. Former editor-in-chief Joe Simonson accepted the position of Editorial Page Assistant at the New York Post upon graduation in 2015. At the Post, Joe has continued to attack political correctness and analyze the political situation in articles he has had published there while attending to his editorial duties.  Paul Carrier has become a young executive in a private equity firm.

David Frisk is looking forward to serving as advisor and working with Liz this academic year. He stated, “Elizabeth’s impressive résumé shows, in addition to her discipline and wide range of interests, an engagement with the future of Hamilton College through her role on the admissions committee. Her strong appreciation of the AHI and her cheerful, positive outlook are equally clear. Under her leadership, Enquiry will remain a high-quality product.”

The first issue of Enquiry of the semester features a lead article by Liz on the military threat from China, as well as an article by Phil Parkes on the Flatiron Academy, which teaches computer coding.

By Mary Grabar, AHI Resident Fellow