Staff Editorial: Meeting on Institute represents responsiveness, opportunity

By Kaia Arthur

A month ago, as the advisory committee to the Institute for Global Citizenship held its first meeting, we asked a question of Macalester’s leaders regarding the Institute: What the hell is it? (“IGC: It’s Generally Confusing,” Feb. 29) There can be little doubt that we were (or are) not alone among students in our confusion about the Institute’s purpose, or how it might serve students.Well, The Mac Weekly – and all the students who share in our puzzlement and concern – got a response. President Brian Rosenberg and Institute Dean Ahmed Samatar promptly scheduled a question and answer session, set for Tues., Apr. 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel.

We strongly encourage students to attend this forum.

Do we expect to leave the meeting with all reservations about the Institute addressed? Of course not.

Macalester does often seem to have a penchant for murky processes that incongruously fail to involve students at the front end. The selection of the senior speaker, which doesn’t seem to explain the degree to which input from seniors is incorporated, certainly comes to mind. Indeed, it was only late last spring that the two-year-old Institute added a student council.

But we can’t help but regard the responsiveness represented by this step as refreshing. That administrators would acknowledge the need to clarify the Institute’s vision with students suggests they are beginning to internalize one of the main critiques of the Institute to date. They have yet to pitch it to students as students – not administrators, alumni, architects, faculty, donors, outside advisors, or even students who are already involved in the Institute. This is the audience the Institute ultimately most needs to capture in order to thrive and maintain relevance.

In this case, it looks like administrators have gotten the message. We’re glad to see this, and look forward to having some of our questions answered.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by the staff. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.