An open letter from me to the Trustees

By David Boehnke

I had a lot of things to say to you, about Macalester. I was going to tell you how disgustingly image-focused we are becoming, and how empty that is.
I was going to mention that as perhaps the only acknowledged citizens of this community you are both at the center and far removed, and that you need not be deluded by what is fed to you.
I was going to talk about my frustrations with the Administration’s general approach to students, particularly “‘student activists'” (I wanted as many quotation marks as possible).
I was going to say that you should envision your role as advising the current generation and supporting the newest with pride, like a grandparent. Allowing those who are creatively able and functionally central, the students, to take real steps towards making this institution a vibrant and unique place, against all this homogenizing image-conscious guidebook-sheen gobiligook.
I was going to say that you should wait to approve the budget and ask the administration to make clear what is being budgeted to the Macalester community, and approve it after reviewing new proposals in May. I can guarantee the creation of new proposals.
I had ideas to include specific times for student presentations in your meetings and in your plenary, and how a student trustee is nothing but should be created anyway, to at least make a bridge, however narrow and un-functional it seems, and how we really need a student on the Task Force on Budget.
I was going to say that you need to radically fund and support multiculturalism, and that you need to not destroy our financial aid budget like the current cut which seems destined to admit well over 10% of students under the disturbing aura of need-aware.
I was going to say that we can do more to invest in environmentalism to save us money for god’s sake and that these kinds of tuition increases, with no end and no plans for an end, are unacceptable.
I had plans to mention the role of the RA and our alcohol policy and the obvious fact that it should be changed to put safety and pleasure and dodging legal stupidities at the core of our rules and culture.
I was going to say that you should benchmark the $433,000 of currently unbudgeted overage costs to multicultural and environmental grant-pools and realize that despite its benefits the study away budget is not the best way to spend $11,650 per student of the college’s resources, nor is the library the area most in need of another staff person.

I was going to tell you how to improve campus life and our housing situation.
I was going to say how much and how little I know, and how many of my friends would love to talk to you, so as to be honest and clear and create a situation where you might magically move dollars and ideas from budgets to the world.
But I realized that speaking is not enough. And so I must again join my fellow students in the worldly task of organizing, and I hope you will read this and think about it, and consider this letter, both hopeful and tired, and all the realistic yet dramatic places we can go (but I am bound to hope).
Sincerely,
David Foxman Boehnke
Class of 2007Contact David Boehnke ’07 at [email protected]