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

Who is the Administration Trying to Please?


Two weeks ago, Macalester reinstated its nearly century-old policy debate program. But surprisingly, instead of accompanying the news with a statement about the importance of listening to students with enthusiasm over the return of debate, members of the Macalester administration claimed that funding debate on an ad hoc basis had always been an option. They claimed that Mac’s policy debaters had rejected this solution in favor of establishing policy debate as a student org that would have to seek its own funding.

“I’m not surprised people remember it differently,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Laurie Hamre, “There were a lot of emotions involved.”

With all due respect to Hamre (and we do truly appreciate her), we disagree with these kinds of statements.

To be clear, other than the debate team itself, few on campus are happier about the return of policy debate than we are. So we do applaud the administration’s decision.

But the tone of the administration is troubling for a number of reasons.

The first is that it is unsubstantiated by the apparent facts. The Mac Weekly covered the debate story thoroughly as it evolved over the past eight months, and at no point did anyone – administrator, faculty or student – indicate that policy debate could be reinstated and funded.

The second is the brazen condescension of the statement. If the administration is to be believed, at some point the option of funding policy debate was placed on the table, but Mac’s policy debaters were too emotional to understand what was going on around them.

And this is actually the second time that a member of Macalester’s administration has been condescending regarding debate. Regarding policy debaters’ frustration with the administration’s Kafka-esque position that a student org cannot solicit off-campus donations from alumni, even though the fundraising guidelines specifically referred to raising off-campus funds from parents and alumni, Vice President for Development Beth Giese deployed an eerily similar statement.

“I could understand how students could have trouble interpreting this,” Giese said, “We are certainly amenable to amending the wording to make it more clear.”

Mac students are a lot of things. And according to these quotes, it appears we are blindly emotional and kind of dumb.

We can understand that college administrations need portray themselves in a good light. But at the point where doing so means insulting the intelligence of Macalester students, it has gone too far.

One would think that the administration would embrace the opportunity to appear as though it is listening and responding to student wishes.

Instead, we got something more along the lines of “I’m doing this because I want to, not because you want me to.”

This raises a critical question: why does Macalester’s administration portray itself as unresponsive to the demands of students? Or, at the same time, who is the administration looking to please with its messaging?

At the moment, it doesn’t appear to be the student body.

View Comments (5)
More to Discover

Comments (5)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • N

    Nicholas PetersSep 12, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  • L

    Lauren KerrSep 10, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Perfect piece of work you have done, this site is really cool with fantastic info .

  • W

    Wendy JamesSep 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Would you be interested by exchanging hyperlinks?