Staff Editorial

By

As controversy swirls amongst the nation’s liberal arts colleges over participation in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings, we recognize an opportunity for a constructive discussion. As we report on page 3, r.e. “Liberal Arts Colleges Protest Rankings,” since last spring, dozens of liberal arts colleges have withdrawn their support of the survey, citing skewed results and irrelevance. Some college presidents have also declined to complete the “reputational” survey, in which presidents rank other schools based on their own personal knowledge or hearsay. While college presidents and U.S. News representatives duel their respective positions out in the media, we recognize a third party that has been altogether excluded from the debate: the students.

As members of the Macalester community, we call for all students to consider the value they place, if at all, on the college rankings. It is our name and image at stake, and perhaps not everyone wants it distorted in such a bizarre limelight. Or perhaps no one really cares at all.

We commend the admissions office for discontinuing prominent promotions of U.S. News rankings. We also applaud President Brian Rosenberg’s deliberation over the matter. The decision to complete the reputational survey is ultimately his, but we ask of him to also consider the greater Macalester community. And there is plenty of time-at least six months-to do so.

We call on Mr. Rosenberg to hold a forum, or at the very least, to meet with certain students, faculty and staff so his decision can be an informed, democratic one. Coming together promises to point us toward approaches that comport with Macalester’s values, and holds the potential to say more about this institution than any ranking ever could.