One of the wonderful things about Concordia is the spirit of the liberal education that thrives here: the fostering of critical thinking, the value of broadening the mind, the entertaining of many different ideas and viewpoints. But sometimes it is easy for people who value all of these things to actually begin to look down on those around them who do not.
There is a certain irony in this attitude. Is it possible to be close-minded about close-minded people? Does having a truly “open” mind include being open to people who do not?
Unfortunately, this conflict has surfaced in a very real way on campus. Certain groups of students—particularly groups with a religious basis—have been denied the ability to become student organizations because they are considered “exclusive” by others on campus. But without the opportunity to flex their “student organization” wings, these groups haven’t had the opportunity to prove their ability to be inclusive. Concordia actually requires statements of equal opportunity in their student organization consititution—so if these groups are serious about being officially recognized by the college, they will have already made a commitment to open-mindedness.
But more importantly, the stance of the college in not granting student organization status betrays a lack of open-mindedness on its par—precisely the crime for which these groups are excluded. Is it right for the college to be so commited to inclusiveness that it must practive exclusiveness itself? Or is it time for Concordia to revise its view of open-mindedness so that it does not close itself off to those who supposedly don’t have it?
Mary Beenken, Editor-in-Chief
I am a senior English writing major and political science minor at Concordia College, but I originally hail from Fort Collins, Colorado. I have a deep passion for humanitarian aid and the power of the written word. I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of the 2011-2012 Concordian, though on occasion I also write and take pictures.
Dream job: hybrid freelance journalist/human rights lawyer.