The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

‘Insecure rich guy?’ Try ‘Insecure college student.’

By Mac Weekly Staff

If you’re going to demand open dialogue, print your name on what you write. Last Friday, an anonymous group of students published an annotated deconstruction of President Brian Rosenberg’s “World Class: Strategic Imperatives” document that outlines his vision for the next 10 years at Macalester. The annotated document, which the students re-titled “The Next 10 Years in Hell: Get Used to It,” primarily attacks Rosenberg for attempting to cultivate an image of Macalester that is appealing to wealthy alumni and corporate donors while neglecting the social justice issues about which many students care passionately.

It’s a valid opinion.

Macalester is exceptional among institutions of higher education for its leftist student body and history of activism. Students, faculty and administrators should actively work to maintain this tradition, especially as our country becomes increasingly class-divided, apathetic and self-interested.

What isn’t valid is the self-righteousness, the anonymity, the mean-spirited personal attacks on Rosenberg and the ridiculous implication that he doesn’t care about students at this college. “Insecure rich guy?” Try “insecure rich college student.” The authors have to recognize that their tactics undermine their cause by alienating the majority of students who agree with their points about elitism and access to education.

The real disconnect here may be that the authors of the “10 Years in Hell” piece simply do not accept the premise on which our college has to operate. Engaging with capitalism is the dominant (read: only) workable method of running a college that can provide a high-quality education. This high-quality education absolutely must include teaching students techniques of deconstruction and analysis, must instill a sense of skepticism of power, and should not deviate from the idealism we embrace. Still, should we operate Macalester without using money? We could hire only professors with wealthy spouses or those willing to live in Doty rent-free, we could pay our staff in produce from the MULCH garden, and students could read textbooks discarded from the University of Minnesota. But where would that leave the Macalester we care so deeply about? It would be ethical, but it probably wouldn’t exist.

Anyway, if capitalism is so bad, isn’t Macalester inherently doing a pretty good job of fighting it? How better to fight a money-making machine than to take donations from investment bankers and corporations and use them to fund a non-profit enterprise like a college? It doesn’t get much more redistributive than that.

The fact is that the authors don’t want us on their side. They would rather feel angry, marginalized and self-righteous than actually contribute to improving our community. They’re not trying to convince the rest of the community to join them, they’re trying to push us away. And they’re succeeding. Most students, who respect their professors and administrators and expect respect in return, don’t want to be associated with a position that is so utterly disrespectful and oblivious to any nuance in the world.

Attacking Rosenberg with vague, anonymous anger isn’t going to solve anything. He’s not the root of Macalester’s problems, and acting like he is only deflects blame from the rest of us.

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    Sally AndersonSep 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm

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    Olivia TurnerSep 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

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