Jon Tevlin’s May 29 column about the dynamics of the Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus (KWOC) movement at Macalester and the role and acceptance of student activism at the college was misleading.
Based on my experience as a leader of the student government at Macalester, the college administration both accepts and encourages student activism. Several other student-led initiatives were recently adopted by the administration, including the 2011 ban of on-campus bottled water sales and the college’s 2012 commitment to serve 30 percent “real food” by 2020.
I am proud of Mac’s history of student activism and am glad that today’s students carry on the tradition of passionately working to effect meaningful social change at the college. Students certainly have a right to disagree with the administration’s decision regarding its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, and the administration has taken most of the KWOC protests in stride. I have seen the administration respond thoughtfully and transparently to the KWOC protesters, including trying to engage them in productive dialogue and allowing the students to stage a sit-in without any disciplinary action. However, the students’ decision to barricade the administrative building crossed a line by not allowing the staff to enter and do their jobs. One might conclude that a one-semester probation is too harsh a punishment for the students’ actions, but the notion that Macalester’s administration has tried to silence the student voice is blatantly false.
Kai Peterson, St. Paul
The writer is vice president of the Macalester College Student Government.