Faculty missed chance to walk their talk on war

By Clare Ryan

Last semester, I attended the faculty meeting at which members of the faculty eloquently and passionately discussed the possibility of having a day of general strike on campus with education on the Iraq War.Although I disagreed with some of the suggestions, at the time I remember that the meeting inspired a great deal of discussion about possible alternatives to a general strike. It seemed to me that we all wanted to help educate Macalester students and generate debate and action on the topic of the War in Iraq.

On Tuesday, I attended a presentation by the IGC Student Council at which three veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan spoke about their experiences. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to discuss important issues about the war and get a unique perspective from veterans. Just the kind of thing that some members of the faculty had promoted.

Now, I understand that faculty members are busy people, but it seems to me that someone who was willing to take an entire day off from doing his or her job might be able to take an hour or so in the afternoon to engage on an issue that they seemed so passionate about only a few months before.

But none of them came. Very few faculty members attended at all. I didn’t see a single one of the people whom I had heard speak so passionately at the faculty meeting.

Why not?

I would like to give faculty the benefit of the doubt and say that family or health or some other pressing matter prevented them from attending. I completely understand that there are so many events at Macalester that we can hardly attend them all.

My fear, however, is that campus politics got in the way of real politics and real exchange.

I want to open the discussion to ask why people who supported the general strike or other actions at the faculty meeting chose not to support this event. This experience troubled me, and it made me question the motivation of people whom I have up to this point, if disagreed with, at least respected.

Contact Clare Ryan ’08 at [email protected]