Editorial | 2022: 2.5/5 stars

The year of 2022 has been eventful, and that’s putting it lightly.

As the first year since 2020 where milestones stopped feeling “unprecedented,” 2022 marked the return of some normalcy to our lives as we continue to phase out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the surge of the Omicron variant in January, the University started to roll back restrictions in February when it announced that masks would no longer be required indoors in non-instructional facilities such as residence halls and recreational centers. By the time students returned to campus in August, masks were only mandatory in health care facilities, and testing sites and the number of testing centers open on campus decreased significantly.

These lax policies led to record increases in COVID-19 positivity rates on campus for the first few weeks of the fall semester, jeopardizing many immunocompromised students’ safety.

Since then, positivity rates have decreased, thanks to the expanded distribution of at-home antigen tests and the CRCE testing site reopeningThough we can’t say the pandemic is officially over yet, 2022 brings us closer to reaching that light at the end of the tunnel.

In March, Illinois men’s basketball won the Big Ten title, followed by Illinois men’s golf snatching the title in May. This fall semester, Illinois football displayed a massive improvement and ended the regular season with a record of 8-4 and will be in a bowl game for the second time since 2014.

Globally, 2022 also saw devastating loss — namely through wars and humanitarian disasters. In a move that shocked much of the world, Putin launched an all-out military invasion of Ukraine in February after rejecting Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The conflict still continues and has resulted in overwhelming casualties, with over 100,000 troops on both sides either dead or wounded, according to recent estimatesThe invasion also led to the killing and displacement of many Ukrainian civilians and Russia is accused of committing numerous war crimes in Ukraine.

Other conflicts have seen less coverage by the media, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia’s brutalities against Yemen, China’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims and Iran’s oppression of women’s rights protests following Mahsa Amini’s death in September.

One such conflict that came to an end this year was the Tigray War in Ethiopia after a deal was negotiated in November, concluding two years of brutal warfare and starvation of civilians.

Many notable figures also passed away this year, including Queen Elizabeth II, Shinzo Abe, Sidney Poitier, Olivia Newton-John and rapper Takeoff. At the University, beloved squirrel Pinto Bean passed away in October and left a void in many students’ hearts.

It was also a historical year for legislation in America.

In June, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decisionDobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ruled that abortions are not protected under the Constitution and overruled Roe v. Wade, which had been the precedent for abortion rights in America since 1973. A few days later, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn into the Supreme Court as the first Black female Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history.

In November, the Respect for Marriage Bill, which federally recognizes same-sex and interracial marriages, passed the Senate and is on the way to the House, where it will land on President Biden’s desk if passed.

The year of 2022 had its ups and downs, but it showcased a definitive improvement compared to the last two years as we return to normalcy. This is not to say that 2022 has been a stellar year, however, which is why the Daily Illini Editorial Board gives 2022 a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5 stars. Not the best, but we have definitely seen worse. It was a monumental year where the ups and downs balanced out for an average score.

The Daily Illini Editorial Board can only hope for more normalcy as we look forward to welcoming 2023. 

It’s time for 2022 to wrap up and leave.

 

[email protected]