As I stood outside ‘Heaven and Hell’ last weekend, I chatted with a Carleton College security guard regarding the high rates of hospital visits for Carleton students this year. According to him, three times as many students have been rushed to the hospital in the first five weeks of this term than were taken to the hospital in the entirety of the 2007 – 2008 school year. The majority of these situations involved alcohol. Inevitably, the question is asked: how can a student population that historically values intelligence and hard work get so out of control on Friday nights?
A few nights ago, I woke up after drowsing off to sleep and found myself in a stone tower. I heard the cackle of my evil stepmother, and knew that unless a valiant knight was to rescue me from this cruel torture, I would have to spend the rest of my life in the confines of the cold, dark prison. I waited for my knight. Japanese beetles buzzed around me as I wallowed in self-pity.
Last week’s leading headline in The Carletonian read that “Financial Crisis Hits Carleton.” While some effects of the crisis will be felt immediately – with the planned 2011 completion date of the Arts Union to be postponed – many college officials agree that it will actually be some time before the full effects are felt.
People come to school in Minnesota, the coldest state in the continental United States, and they expect cold weather. When people expect things, they prepare for them. And when I say prepare I mean it. Students come with thick sweaters, fluffy comforters, and down jackets just to prepare for what they think will be nasty, miserable, and depressing winter weather. And sure, the above listed items are used for the tiny amount of time spent outside walking from class to class or, heaven forbid, up to the Rec Center.
The nature of a school – whether high school, college, or otherwise – is that the people involved with the school will consistently be a changing landscape. Here at Carleton, students leave every four years, and staff members come and go maybe just as often, accepting new positions with other employers, being let go, or just deciding to leave. Love it or hate it, change is a constant on campuses such as Carleton.
It is on this topic, then, that we mark the departure of Chris Rasinen, Associate Director of Campus Activities from Carleton’s community. By the time that this is published, Chris’s time at Carleton will be done, and he will have started his new job with Minnesota Youth in Government.
Christopher Logel’s Ethicist column in the October 10 issue of the Carletonian laid out a case for political diversity at Carleton that correctly and powerfully argues against ideological discrimination and on behalf of a culture of tolerance and mutual respect. I, like many others, share these sentiments. But I feel it necessary to correct some untrue or illogical assumptions that are too often made on behalf of what are perceived to be minoritarian points of view. During my ten years at Carleton, conservative students in particular have reported feeling uncomfortable with the “monocultural,” “heavily liberal” climate at the College. On one level, I sympathize with their genuine sentiments of not seeming to fit in and I join Logel in deploring the kind of ad hominem attack he describes in his piece.
We are members of a community that claims, “to liberate individuals from the constraints imposed by ignorance or complacency and prepare them broadly to lead rewarding, creative, and useful lives" (Carleton College’s Mission Statement). We are a concerned group of sexual assault survivors and supporters, and we react with anything but complacency to the issue of sexual violence on campus. We ask the same of our fellow students, staff, faculty, and most of all of the Carleton administration.
As a general rule, I don’t like seeing naked people. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a little bit of being in the buff is a wonderful thing, but do I like to see randos I don’t know just walking around willy-nilly? Mmmm, probably not. On that note, I think it is interesting how so many people around campus don’t seem to care at all. Am I complaining? Not really. Does that mean that I just can’t wait to see the next kid changing in their room up in Meyers on a dark late night walk back from the library? Definitely not. And again, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to think that there’s an eager peeping-tom going around campus (if there is, it’s not me), but I do think you should be aware that (brace yourself) PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU WHEN YOU’RE IN YOUR ROOM. Not that I’m looking, but when it’s dark out you catch a glance. An unwanted, extremely flesh-filled, glance.
Earlier this spring, when Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were battling for the right to run as the Democratic Presidential candidate in this year’s general election, long-running Saturday Night Live ran a skit depicting a debate between the two candidates. The skit, which satirized the way that media coverage seemed to be biased in Obama’s favor, had Clinton being asked all questions first, and questions given to Obama were significantly easier. The moderator of the debate asked Obama if he was comfortable, or if he wanted a pillow.
It is often said that diversity on campus is a good feature to foster at a college because it “expands students’ intellectual horizons.” So says Carleton’s admissions website, and intuitively it is not a difficult position to justify. The presence of a variety of viewpoints on campus, seems at the very least, to be a necessary (but not a sufficient) condition for the exploration and development of ideas. For if all of Carleton’s students came from exactly the same background and thought in exactly the same way, then it would follow, by most accounts, that we would all have a very strong tendency to agree on most things. Consequently, the scope of our intellectual inquiry would be limited because no one would challenge us, make us think differently, or offer intellectual resistance to our views.
This is part two of a two part series in which we present Mr. Hunter’s speech in its entirety.
I wasn't great friends with Bobbie. She played on my volleyball team for a season and I would say we became pretty good friends. The last time we had been in touch I knew that she was seriously dating a guy and they were planning on being together “forever.” We had even discussed possible details of their wedding (which everyone who was familiar with their relationship assumed was going to happen). But life took its course and Bobbie and I parted ways.