By Emma Gallegos
Next week Macalester will partake in Tent State University, a week of festivals, teach-ins and panels dealing with issues in higher education such as debt, access and diversity. On-campus organizers are continuing a tradition started at Rutgers University in 2003 that has caught on to other campuses across the nation and in the United Kingdom.Event organizers at Macalester, who did not want to be identified as individuals but rather as a collective voice, said that one of the main goals of Tent State is to draw attention to issues of inequality in higher education and what they see as a drive toward elitism and competition over cooperation and community.Events include a panel on access to higher education and a discussion on student debt. Other events will address issues outside the scope of higher education, such as neoliberalism in Latin America.The events will take place in tents on the Macalester campus, which organizers said are both symbolic and practical. Organizers said that the tents are a way of reclaiming physical common space on campus, but they will also be the site where event participants will sleep and attend teach-ins, panels and discussion.However, Macalester is not the only campus that is providing space and organization of the event in the Twin Cities.Both St. Catherine and St. Thomas have been organizing events with the organization for this week and will host events autonomously and simultaneously on their campuses.Organizers have also encouraged other local college students such as the University of Minnesota and community members to participate.