Staff Editorial: Faculty should take a stand, vote to cancel classes Nov. 6 in Iraq war protest

By Staff

We urge the faculty at their meeting next Wednesday to pass a motion canceling classes on Nov. 6 to protest the war in Iraq.The move would accomplish two things. First, it would set an example and establish Macalester as a politically relevant leader in this time of war. Second, the talks and workshops that fill that day would provide a vital space for dialogue.

While some might argue that canceling classes to push for political causes is inappropriate, the Iraq issue is unique: it is a pressing concern that we have agency to address through direct symbolic action, action that would both lead and be a part of a larger movement of opposition to American unilateralism. Such a move would provide a focal point for activism on this issue which some may have found lacking.

We understand that from the perspective of administrators, legitimate concerns exist about representing Macalester as an institution that is too ideological in orientation. However, now more than ever, we believe that it is important for our administration and faculty to stand together, even if it means attaching Macalester to a controversial political issue.

The faculty, for their part, must not spend time for valuable debate at their next meeting quibbling over parliamentary procedural trivia. The resolution was dead last on the agenda at last Wednesday’s meeting, allowing a mere six minutes for discussion before a brief five minute extension of the meeting.

While the importance of process cannot be dismissed, neither can the moral urgency of the motion at hand. The motion deserves to be debated on its merits. Giving the matter an earlier position on the agenda will both allow adequate time to address legitimate procedural considerations, and the substantive dialogue in which faculty ought to engage.

We call upon faculty members to allow adequate time to fully debate this motion, and we strongly encourage the faculty to ratify it. Macalester’s tradition of politically relevant dialogue and leadership demands no less.