In response to Christopher Windle's open letter in last week's Manitou Messenger, I'd like to share part of my original response to Christopher's e-mail to me earlier in the week to explain the law surrounding solicitation and our policies toward political candidates.
First, Minnesota law specifically allows candidates for public office to come into residence halls and go door-to-door campaigning. Even when an institution has a restrictive solicitation policy, such as St. Olaf has, state law supercedes this for political candidates. This is a law that was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature, and favors no political party.
We have encouraged parties and candidates to make use of public spaces in residence halls, as we receive frequent complaints such as Christopher's, but ultimately it is up to the candidate to decide. Ray Cox, the candidate whose campaigning in residence halls was questioned, is aware of the issue raised here and we have spoken about it, and he understands the concerns students have.
We understand them as well, and will do all we can within the law and our campus policies to ensure a fair and open discourse in this election season.
Sincerely, Greg Kneser Dean of Students