On campus beat: Video on paying for college delayed

  • Article by: Jenna Ross
  • Star Tribune
  • November 12, 2012 - 9:26 PM

The crowd was there to celebrate a new video, "Paying for College," set to be broadcast on public television Sunday.

But after seeing that video -- which featured experts explaining the ins and outs of financing a college degree -- celebration quickly turned to critique.

Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change, stood up at the St. Paul screening and stated what several others later said they, too, were thinking: "I'm puzzled by why ... there weren't any authority figures who are people of color in the program."

"This seemed really white to me," said Amber Remackel, a St. Paul Public Schools counselor, "and maybe hard to present to our people across St. Paul."

A "valiant effort," added Roxanne Peyton, with the Girl Scouts, "but there needs to be some tweaking."

Afterward, organizations behind the program -- the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, TPT's Minnesota Productions and Partnerships and the Minnesota Private College Council -- announced that the broadcast would be delayed and the video edited.

"The core broadcast program in its present state fails to reflect Minnesota's diversity," wrote Sundraya Kase, with the Minnesota Private College Council, in an e-mail Friday. She also thanked attendees for "your openness to participate in tough conversations around race.

"This is how we all grow."

The 27-minute video is the core of a project that also includes five 10-minute shorts. Three depict distinct conversations in Hmong, Somali and Spanish, to be used in high schools, at events and online.

"We lost sight of how [the main video] was going to be perceived when it stood on its own," said John Manning, the college council's spokesman.

Producers are now shuffling through footage. They might add scenes from the shorts to the longer piece. Or they might interview more experts.

Release is slated for 2013.

"We're eager to get it done and out," Manning said. "But we're also more eager to get it done right."

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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