Burning Questions


This week, we asked representatives of student organizations what they thought Macalester’s greatest challenge was. We’re going to keep talking to orgs about this, and we also want to hear (and ask) your questions. We welcome your submissions at [email protected] Liberation Affairs Committee:
From the perspective of mainly domestic black students, one of the biggest challenges facing Macalester is increasing the number of domestic students of color on campus. We realize that for a liberal arts school, this is a “common” problem.but has Macalester ever prided itself on being a “common” college? We acknowledge and appreciate Mac’s strive to embrace multiculturalism, but we also feel conditions can be improved incredibly with more involvement and power. Admitting that there aren’t enough black, Latino, Asian, Native American and mixed race students and professors on campus is just one step. However, it isn’t enough to simply have more varying skin tones around. From our observations, few allies involve themselves in the multicultural aspect of Macalester. Read: multiculturalism does not mean “no white kids allowed!” It’s important for all students to interact and learn from one another’s differing perspectives, especially on matters concerning race, ethnicity and culture.

Student-Labor Action Coalition:
Despite nominal commitments to ending exploitation and prejudice (both words should be interpreted very broadly here), the Macalester community must make significant steps to live its loudly-proclaimed values. Buzzwords like racism, classism, environmental degradation, heterosexism, and homophobia are often discussed, both in social and academic settings, but these are still rampant problems. Precisely because Macalester prides itself on being such a progressive school (voted number one gay friendly school by the Princeton Review!), many of these deeply embedded issues within our community go undiscussed and our own institutional and personal prejudices and contributions to exploitation go unscrutinized.

One of the greatest challenges facing the Macalester community is to engage in active, integrated, participatory education. We must step back and attempt to understand how our academic, social, activist, and spiritual lives interweave. We can synergize these aspects of our lives, rather than “cram” them and burn out in the process.

To truly learn, we must experience- we must become comfortable acting on those ideas that challenge and inspire us. We need to explore student-guided education, where participation in the processes that drive our institution, not just classroom knowledge, empowers students.

Finally, we must re-envision what it means to be a part of this educational institution. Rather than participate in hierarchical education as an act of consumption, we can view our role, in personal and institutional terms, as one of investment, citizenship and development.