Letters to the Editor

By Campus Community

To the editor:We, the four students who were robbed at gunpoint on February 15, would like to offer some thoughts about Macalester’s response to this incident.

We strongly feel that safety and security on Macalester’s campus need to be reevaluated. The administrative response and campus discussion surrounding our robbery has focused on what individuals can do to protect themselves: walking in groups, staying in lit areas, et cetera. These measures are crucial, but this incident proves that what happened to us can happen to anyone, even those who are on campus and in a group of people as we were.
We would like to see tangible improvements in security on campus so that Macalester students won’t appear to be easy targets. This is an issue that affects everybody, and one with solutions that can be implemented relatively easily. Better lighting around campus, more security phones, more visible presence of security guards at night, and a revamped Safe Walk program would be great places to start.

If students take up this issue, we can demand an effective institutional response. Campus safety needs to be highlighted as an important concern for us all.

Emily Gastineau ‘09
Liza Baer ‘09
Susanna Hostetter ‘10
Laina Copley ‘10

To the editor:

I strongly support what Elliot Ward wrote in his Opinion piece last week on easing guilt over campus race relations by simply engaging more in the Twin Cities, beyond Mac-Groveland. I work as one of several volunteer coordinators in the Civic Engagement Center and even I am occasionally shocked at how assignments, academic theories, campus events, and simply having a social life keeps me from “engaging in the community” as I’d like.
But the real disconnect I see at Macalester is not that we recognize that we lack the time or interest to learn about the families living in Midway or why we only go there to get cheap groceries. I actually sense that we think that BECAUSE we’ve read the theories and we talk about Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, we somehow already know what’s out there. That somehow, without really talking to fellow Middle Eastern or Asian students or attending their cultural events, we already know their experience—call it oppression or not. I’ve fallen into this trap, and I am a student of color! No one is born knowing “enough” to create change without engaging, asking questions, being flexible, and feeling slightly uncomfortable first. I strongly support any group that takes up this issue: we need more internship programs, joint research projects, and a positive institutional commitment to local engagement with communities of color. Opportunities like these do exist already, but should be vastly expanded. The only question is: who will take up the gauntlet?

Ihotu J. Ali ‘07, Immigrant and Refugees Service Coordinator

To the editor:

A previous letter to the editor contained this statement:

“Now is not the time to crucify a select group of misinformed individuals, but rather to create open and safe discussion asking how we have contributed to the perpetuation of harmful community ideals.”

You know, I don’t think that there are many individuals who are misinformed about the legacy of the KKK or the lynchings of blacks in this country. This legacy is power, is racism, is vile. When it comes down to it, we’re all too comfortable. We think that history has no effect on the present. For some, symbols of hate have lost their meaning. This incident boils down to people either purposefully understanding the message behind their “costumes” and willfully showing bigotry or willfully neglecting those images and the messages they convey. I am a biracial woman, and I should say that I never felt threatened at Macalester—never felt unsafe—but this action probably would have made me very uncomfortable.

When I was six, one of my father’s students (a 13-14 year old Latino) came to our house during Halloween night dressed in a KKK costume. My (white) mother ripped the hood off and yelled at him to leave. He replied, “I’ll just go home and get another one,” to which my mother said something to the effect of, “Go ahead. I’ll just rip that one off too.”

Discussions about race, tolerance and unity are nice, but more importantly we need (white and non-white) people at Macalester to promise to keep ripping the hoods off of those who wear them.

Krista S. Scott Plionis, ’03

To the editor:

Hello! I am a Scientologist and just read your “Learning to Evolve: Becoming a Scientologist” article. There is no such thing as a “Homo Scien…”—whatever you called it. This term does not exist in Scientology and is in fact fiction. There is also no question
such as, “Are your parents divorced?” in the Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA). I have personally done this test around 20-30 times as we use it also to study Scientologists and see if they are doing better in life after Scientology sessions.

Your decision is your decision, but you should just be factual in what you report. Scientology has handled a lot for myself and my family (half of us are Scientologists). And Scientology is for everyone—just because some of them are movie stars does not mean that Scientology is only for millionaires. This is called a “generality”.

Camilla Lanciai

To the Editor:

This coming Tuesday, March 6th students at Macalester College have the opportunity to help build a better community by attending their St. Paul city DFL caucuses. This coming fall there will be city elections and I am running to represent Ward One in St. Paul. Many Macalester students who live off campus live on Ward One.

From the new light rail Central Corridor running through the middle of Ward One to the Mayor’s new initiative to be smart on crime through prevention to the progress our schools have made, there is a lot to be excited about in St. Paul.

But there are also challenges. We need someone who knows how to get all of our stakeholders around the table to organize our Ward to make sure that development benefits our neighborhoods as much as it does our region. We need to make sure that while progress is made in our schools we also remember that our schools must work for all of St. Paul’s kids. That means we must continue to offer after school tutoring and activities for our youth and summer employment opportunities for our adolescents.
As a 5th generation St. Paul community activist I recognize both the challenges and the opportunities that face our city. In Ward One, we’re the most diverse place in the city. Our economic and cultural diversity, even the 27 different languages our Ward speaks means that there can be barriers to our coming together around a common public interest agenda.

My experience as a community organizer and as a neighborhood and community organization liaison at the Mayor’s office qualifies me to be our city council member. My campaign’s vision, “AS ONE WE WIN,” means that my passion to organize our Ward around the principles of economic and social justice for all of us uniquely qualifies me to represent Ward One.

To find out what ward you live in go to http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Melvin Carter III

Melvin Carter III is running for City Council in St. Paul’s Ward One. Melvin is endorsed by AFCME, ACORN, St. Paul Fire Fighters, and Take Action MN. Melvin is seeking the DFL party endorsement.