Letters to the Editor

By

Ermyasƒ?TM representation is right-onTo the Editor:
Having read Tinbete Ermyasƒ?TM recent article, we are reminded of our own grand olƒ?TM days at Macalester. We remember Caribbean menu day at Kagin, with the festive beach dAccor and the wonderfully entitled ƒ?oeRasta Pasta.ƒ?? We remember the numerous meetings of numerous committees to numerously define multiculturalism. We remember playing a Benny Hillesque game of hide and seek with the school photographer (or ƒ?oeMac Camƒ?? as we lovingly called him) so that the one time he caught us smiling wouldnƒ?TMt then make the pages of the student prospectus. We remember countless nights writing recommendations to the powers-that-be, so that we the students of color could make Macalester the best that it could be. It is almost heartwarming that the Macalester we knew hasnƒ?TMt changed much at all.

Fear not, young Tinbete, you are not alone in your concerns. There are many before you that have uttered your very words. Five years before you. Ten years before you. Thirty years before you.
Retention and recruitment rates of faculty and students of colour continue to be disgracefully abysmal. Lip service being paid to change, with no real institutional commitment remains the order of the day (an alleged budget of $36,000 a year to the Department of Multicultural Life is the stipend of two graduate students). However, it is not in our nature to give up on Macalester. We have sent a letter to President Rosenberg with our concerns. We will continue to try to make it the best that it can be.

Sarah Fuentes ƒ?TM01
Chad Jones ƒ?TM00
Kwame Phillips ƒ?TM01
Shana Redmond ƒ?TM02
Kara Von Blasingame ƒ?TM02

Informality is not synonomous with disrespect

To the Editor:
Iƒ?TMm writing in response to Dr. Stewartƒ?TMs comments that Kofi Annan should be referred to as ƒ?oeMr. Annanƒ?? as opposed to ƒ?oeKofi.ƒ?? Many students often feel a connection with the alumni of the school, and the alumni, one would hope, with the students. It is therefore not too surprising that Kofi Annan is referred to as ƒ?oeKofiƒ?? as a sign of this closeness. I do not think such a informality means ƒ?oedisrespect,ƒ?? as many liberals refer to George W. Bush as Bush without having much respect for him at all. Counterintuitively, it represents a form of appreciation in its informality. Now, by all means, Kofi Annan should be addressed as Mr. Annan when spoken to publicly (because not doing so would be an actual stance towards disrespect based on precedence), but this does not mean that in conversations we should step over ourselves to venerate him based on his position.

This leads to a second point: calling people by their last names when they have achieved a certain political status seems to reinforce power dynamics that we might not all be behind. It would be consistent to either call all individuals by their last names or all of them by their first names (whether they be students, professors, or politicians). Do we call him ƒ?oeMr Annanƒ?? because of his position or ethics? In short, we shouldnƒ?TMt be too ashamed of feeling close to our alumni, and even invoking their first names from time to time. Additionally, we should always be wary of playing into titles that could make certain authority figures more worthy of respect then the underpriveledged. Dr. Stewart might have been writing more to make sure no one referred to Mr. Annan directly as ƒ?oeKofi,ƒ?? but I just wanted to clarify.

Luke Calhoun ƒ?TM05

Bathroom story lacking in fair portrayal of Library facilities

To the Editor:
The recent piece on bathrooms by Alex Perlin was, for the most part, informative and light-hearted. I myself have an intense appreciation of a quality bathroom, stemming from my days in high school as a runner and fiber addict. I am also, however, a Library student employee and have been for almost three years. I must take offense at several points Mr. Perlin makes in the largely dismissive paragraph he gives to our library building and its facilities. The claim that ƒ?oepaper towels are needed for a successful bathroom tripƒ?? is both unfounded and, in my opinion, simply untrue. And who doesnƒ?TMt love the instructional illustrations on the hand-dryers that seem to suggest tilting the nozzle up to your face will cause bacon to shoot out of the slot? This little detail is worth the trip alone and never ceases to add a little sunshine to my day.

Next, Perlinƒ?TMs assertion that one stall per floor isnƒ?TMt enough is certainly debatable, as the library does have five levels in which to choose from.

But my biggest complaint, however, is Perlinƒ?TMs implicit endorsement of carrying library property (i.e. periodicals) into the bathrooms when performing oneƒ?TMs duties. Without checking any official code of conduct manuals, I can nonetheless assure everyone that this practice is definitely NOT okay, and people who are required to handle or wish to use the periodicals in question after your bathroom experience would no doubt agree with me. As a periodicals employee myself, I appreciate the enthusiasm Perlin has for our wide-ranging and easily-accessible collection of magazines and newspapers, but I beg him and others to enjoy those materials in an appropriate and conscientious way.

Didnƒ?TMt you ever see the Seinfeld where George gets caught taking an artbook into the bookstore bathroom?
Jordan Selbo ƒ?TM06

Fair and Clean Elections and the College Student

To the Editor:
When was the last time you donated to a political campaign? For the average college student, the answer is never, unless you count a few hours spent handing out John Kerry yard signs. Most college students do not have the money to donate to campaigns and do not have the same voice in politics as large corporational and powerful lobbying groups. While corporations donating millions to campaigns receive tax breaks, federal and state-level student aid programs are being cut. Student issues are being ignored because we lack the money and lobbying power to have a voice in the current system.

What would it take for our representatives in Congress to listen to the concerns of college students? How can we level the playing field so that politicians are accountable to their constituents instead of corporations? One solution would be to implement Fair and Clean Elections (FACE) in Minnesota.

FACE is an alternative campaign finance system that would publicly fund the campaigns of politicians who demonstrate public support. Candidates opting to run a clean and fair campaign would not accept large donations, but instead collect many small ($5-$50) donations. To learn more about FACE in Minnesota, go to www.mnforface.org. This system has been implemented and is working in Maine and Arizona, and many are working to pass FACE legislation here in Minnesota.

If you are interested in getting more involved in making Minnesota elections fair and clean, there are many opportunities to get involved on campus. Student orgs like MPIRG and Democracy Matters are working on this issue; upcoming events include a postcard drive and Lobby Day at the Capitol. Get involved and make FACE a reality in Minnesota!
Molly Griffard ƒ?TM09