A huge loss for journalism, civic engagment and Macalester

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Two weeks ago, Macalester College lost one of its stars. Those of us who value the craft of journalism–and anyone who touts the college pillars of civic engagement and academic excellence–have much to mourn at the departure of College Relations director Doug Stone.But losing Stone represents just the newest item on an ever-growing list of developments that have had the cumulative effect of decimating journalism education at Macalester. This loss follows the dissolution of the Communications department, and the suspension and then departure of the World Press Institute.

Worse still, Stone’s departure from his College Relations job may also threaten to bring him out of the classroom as a journalism instructor in Humanities, Media and Cultural Studies. We can only hope that the loss of a fine administrator will not double as the loss of a fine instructor.

Taken together, personnel and institutional changes that divest from critical journalism should trouble us all. As the Institute for Global Citizenship and other programmatic efforts trumpets students’ commitments to civic engagement and academic excellence, we are left without an incredible civic resource. Stone was as connected to the Twin Cities as anyone on campus. He was instrumental in implementing collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio and the college. His list of contacts stretches all the way to Washington D.C., where he worked for the late and legendary Paul Wellstone.

If the new direction for College Relations were about community or public service, Stone would still be an employee of the college. Instead, Macalester’s administration has again proved that the college is first and foremost a business. It was true when the World Press Institute was kicked off campus, and it will be true when the next Director of College Marketing–er, Relations, arrives on campus to replace Doug Stone.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by the staff. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.