Tradition is one of those qualities that separate the exceptional from the average. There are a few characteristics within tradition: pride, community, history, and shared experience. On a macro level all of humanity recognizes the traditions that coincide with the stages of life: celebration of a birth or marriage, mourning and remembrance at funerals. Moving down the scale we pass religious and national traditions, finally arriving at the microcosm that is CSM.
Stop and consider the multitude of reasons why you came to Mines in the first place. In all honesty you could have gone most anywhere, but why choose Mines? My personal short answer: tradition.
Within tradition at Mines there are multiple layers and type-categories. On the prestigious/official front there are the traditions of science, engineering, research, elite educational experience and academic honesty. As students we can appreciate humbler traditions related to communal living and fun traditions like E-days, Senior Stetsons, and the M climb.
Where is the controversy here? It exists within two camps: the administration and the students. In order to maintain a tradition both sides must agree to honor a practice in one form or another. However, the acceptable form of a tradition is often debatable.
Living in a progressive society we must be careful about how we approach traditions. On one hand it may be outdated or socially irresponsible to celebrate a tradition as it was originally intended. On the other side there is a risk of losing some facet of originality in reforming a tradition. An excellent case study: the M climb.
Making freshmen climb a mountain with a 10 pound rock is a pretty fantastic tradition. However, given an official stance grounded in public safety and the threat of legal action, freshmen are no longer pelted with water balloons. While debate on this issue may still exist on campus, I would argue that this tradition has become more progressive while maintaining its original intent.