The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Staff Editorial: Policies galore


Thumbs up to the committee working on rewriting the college’s sexual assault protocol. The process, which has been pushed along by a persistent group of students who saw the need for a real change in the college’s official handling of sexual assault, has been a long time coming. One of the major criticisms has been that the way the protocol is designed, victims of assault have to dig their way through a mess of bureaucracy to figure out how to report an incident. Members of the Macalester community who suffer such an trauma should not have their lives made any more difficult by a process that should be designed to help them and hopefully help prevent something similar from happening in the future.–
The students who pushed for the change deserve our thanks, but so does the college for being willing to address the problem. Hopefully by working together we can get a sexual assault protocol that makes sense.

Thumbs down to Wasteless Wednesday. This Wednesday the Sustainability Office and the library moved to curb Macalester students’ paper usage by instituting an eight-hour freeze on printing. At 100,000 pages per week, there is no doubt that Macalester runs through its reams at an alarming rate, and the college’s effort to cut down on wasted sheets is laudable.

But, we urge college officials to exercise moderation. Students mostly use printers for productive academic ends, and (especially on a school day) the convenience of on-campus access is a relied upon service. Most professors do not accept essays by e-mail, and, until they do, students have no choice but to print their essays before class. While the college is correct in trying to dissuade students from printing 100-page reading packets, the final decision should lie with the students. We encourage the college to continue informing students of the consequences of copious printing, but it should not stigmatize or institute a blanket ban upon students who prefer reading on the printed page to reading on a computer screen.

This one-day injunction was not necessarily meant as a gateway to a permanent prohibition. However, depriving students of basic services is a slippery slope. And, while there is no evidence that there were ulterior motives in this circumstance, the rhetoric of environmentalism and student awareness can easily be invoked to promote programs that benefit the school’s bottom line more than they do the environment or the students.

And finally, we want to give a big thumbs up to the administration for subsidizing bus passes, but don’t give up on the program now. The initiative, part of the President’s Climate Commitment, had the college partially underwriting purchases of bus passes by students, staff and faculty to encourage use of public transportation, a more sustainable way of getting around. The program proved to be wildly popular, with demand exceeding the $30,000 budgeted for it this year.

We know that times are tough, and there is not a lot of extra money lying around, but this is the kind of step toward making Macalester more sustainable that clearly works. There’s no doubt about it, the college community was using this program, lessening its carbon footprint and while it may not be easy to find a solution to the initiative’s financial predicament, we urge the administration to try to keep it going, even if it has to operate on a reduced level. It’s tried and true, that should count for something.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by a board comprised of the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editors, and Opinion Editors. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.

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