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ISSUE 117 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/7/2004

Closing Remarks

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor


Friday, May 7, 2004

Some may expect us to sign off of our editorial duties with a sad piece detailing our long hours, our favorite memories and continuing nostalgia about everything we will miss about our dear old Hill. Maybe we could even include a picture of us in our beloved office.

Instead we want to leave you with a wish list. We try hard in every editorial to offer realistic solutions to the problems we identify, but here you'll have to be content with a list. Our aim is to identify the needs of St. Olaf and to challenge the administration, faculty, staff and the next generation of Oles to meet those needs.

The needs of St. Olaf College are, as follows:

1. Weve witnessed the highs and lows of St. Olaf finances, from the opening of Buntrock the semester before our freshman year to this years projected fiscal crisis of $3.2 million. While the budget may balance this year, cuts and reductions were made including the beginning of need-sensitive admissions, ending the era in which students were admitted to St. Olaf based on merit alone and not by the size of their parents bank account. St. Olaf must recommit to its policy of need-blind admissions. Without it, the administration will effectively deter students of lower socio-economic means, in turn keeping students of racially and culturally diverse backgrounds from attending St. Olaf.

2. We've said it before and we'll say it again: St. Olaf lends a lot of lip service to diversity, touting our school as inclusive and diverse because there are a bunch of non-Lutherans. We were here at the dawn of the Office of Community Life and Diversity, but we saw Dean Berrio not receive enough money to make substantial changes. Talking about diversity is fine. Writing it into our policies is a start. But visible representation of diversity is needed on this campus, in both the student body and the faculty. And that's going to take the administration putting its money where its mouth is.

3. St. Olaf is generally portrayed as a supportive community. We wont argue against that, but we will say that a supportive community does not mean that each community member thinks and acts alike. We hear a lot about diversity of opinion and critical thought, but we dont see these played out in our day-to-day lives. College is supposed to be about opening our minds and challenging our beliefs. To grow we must embrace diversity of thought and challenge ourselves and others in a welcoming and respectful environment.

4. We got the condom machines, but we didn't know about them for months, and then it was only by word of mouth. We had a thought-provoking art exhibit installed by a group of senior women that commented on the objectification and the socially-constructed obscenity of the female form, but it was taken down after a decidedly significant number of people couldn't handle it. We had an excellent and well-attended conference on sexuality and the Church last year, but our "Sex on the Hill" column was despised by campus representatives of the same Church. The school has consistently shown a lack of respect for the integrity and decision-making abilities of the student body, a lack that is reflected in such decision. We can handle condoms. We can handle art. We can handle frank talk about sex. We want and need to discuss such topics, in order to learn and grow. Censoring or attempted censoring of such issues does not acknowledge one of the primary purposes of St. Olaf College  to prepare students to make informed, independent decisions.

Dont get us wrong. We have had a great time at St. Olaf. We have made great friends who balance speaking their minds with unfailing support. We have had classes that challenged us to think abstractly and concretely and grow. We have had faculty members show us immense kindness and needed harshness. We have a lot of great memories. We care about this community.

And thats precisely why we leave you with this list. Weve seen our executive editor role as one in which we identify the positives and negatives of the community, comment on them and offer meaningful solutions. So heres to you, St. Olaf. Weve identified the issues. Now go and do something about them. Find the answers and create an improved St. Olaf for the future.





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