Students design day for anti-oppression education

By Matt Day

The “Change and Exchange” proposal, a student-initiated day in which regular classes and activities would be cancelled in favor of voluntary anti-oppression education, will be decided upon by President Brian Rosenberg by Monday.The proposal comes as a result of a petition signed by 348 students in support of the day. The introduction of the petition committed the undersigned to “improve upon the present response to the ‘Politically Incorrect Party’ and take further steps to engage our positions as individuals in relation to Macalester.”

Organizers expect to have a detailed proposal for Rosenberg today. According to MCSG President Jess Hasken, Rosenberg and Provost Diane Michelfelder are the two people on campus with the authority to cancel a day of classes.

MCSG voted to support the petition on March 6.

The petition was brought before Macalester’s faculty at their March 7 meeting in the Weyerhauser Board Room. The faculty voted overwhelmingly to support the petition in principle after a temporary suspension of the rules allowed the motion to be introduced.

Three student organizers met with Rosenberg on Tuesday for 90 minutes about the proposal. Rosenberg asked that the students complete several tasks before he could make an informed decision, including developing a concise mission statement, demonstrating substantial student and faculty support, and forming an advisory group made up of students, faculty, and staff.

A group of about 20 students interested in planning the day met for more than two hours Tuesday night to respond to Rosenberg’s requests.

A smaller group of students worked on the wording of the mission statement until early Wednesday morning, completing a draft after 2 a.m. They presented the draft Wednesday afternoon to a group of interested faculty for their approval.

The meeting Wednesday also resulted in the naming of the four student members serving on the advisory committee: Claudia Leung ’08, Samantha Robinson ’10, and Stephanie Stoumbelis ’10.

Macalester students received a bulletin over Spring Break asking for continued input from the entire student body. More than fifty students had indicated on the original petition that they would be willing to help plan the event.

In addition to the bulletin, the day has been advertised online via Facebook.

“It depends on the advertising,” Erin Meitzner ’10 said of the potential success or failure of the Change and Exchange day. “People care, but if they don’t hear about it they won’t come.”

So far, student response to the idea has been generally positive.

“I think I could learn a lot from it,” Lauren Ackerman ’10 said, “I think it’s something Macalester really needs.”