Faculty Members Letter

By Campus Community

To the editor:
Over the past few months, news stories have reported high-profile presidential departures at several educational institutions prompted by student or faculty activism. A recent article in the New York Times spoke of such “overthrows” as “contagious.” We have seen symptoms of this contagion here at Macalester with a few students demanding, at times in coarse and abusive terms, that President Rosenberg resign. Such demands are misplaced and inappropriate, and they damage our traditions of respectful discourse about even highly charged issues.

At the core of these demands are concerns about what some see as a new direction toward elitism at Macalester. We all know that Macalester has a long tradition of progressive social activism. This tradition, however, is not in conflict with excellence in education or Macalester’s emergence as a pre-eminent liberal arts college for which there is an equally strong tradition. For almost a half-century Macalester’s published strategic plans have called for excellence: the “steeples of excellence” in the 1960s; the “pillars of excellence” in the 1980s; the Board of Trustees’ call for progress toward pre-eminence in the 1992 mission statement; and the Board’s re-affirmation of that goal two years ago.

The Macalester history published in the College Catalog is instructive. On pages 6-7, it states, “Macalester College was founded in 1874 with a commitment to making it one of the finest colleges in the country. Its founder, the Rev. Edward Duffield Neill…believed that only a private college could offer both the academic quality and the values needed to prepare for leadership. He planned a college which would be equal in academic strength to the best colleges in the East.”

President Rosenberg has demonstrated his full commitment to the College and his ability as a leader in taking on important and difficult issues: the College’s finances and financial aid, replacement of outmoded buildings, re-mobilization of our alumni community, increasing our emphasis on the College’s urban location, and revitalizing our commitment to civic engagement in both domestic and international frames. He has worked to help responsibly direct us toward goals for which there are decades of consensus, all the while re-affirming the importance of further intellectual achievement by our students and faculty. We, as faculty, write to express our support for his continuing work.

Janet Folina
Karen Saxe
David Lanegran
Keith Kuwata
Karen Warren
Steve Burt
Jack Weatherford
Leland Guyer
Danny Kaplan
Dan Hornbach
Karine Moe
Paul Overvoorde
Ahmed Samatar
Sarah West
Tom Varberg
Martin Gunderson
James von Geldern
Pete Ferderer
Carlton Macy
James Heyman
Susan Fox
Karl Egge
Arjun Guneratne
Richard K. Molnar
David Chioni Moore
Paul Solon
Raymond Robertson
Devavani Chatterjea
Dan Flath
Jan Serie
Frank Adler
David Bressoud
Adrienne Christiansen
Satoko Suzuki
Kimberly Dickson
Paul Fischer
Michael Schnieder
Libby Shoop
Julie Dolan
Mark Davis