Concordia has confirmed an apology to Representative Collin Peterson in response to a video recording made last month by student Kate Engstrom and has indicated that she will face no disciplinary action.
Concordia spokesperson Roger Degerman issued a statement that says, “President Craft spoke to Rep. Peterson to express regret for the manner in which a recording was made during the representative’s visit to campus. There will be no disciplinary action related to this event. No one is required to issue an apology.”
Degerman declined further comment.
In the Oct. 16recording, Engstrom spoke with Peterson as he was leaving campus and asked for a picture with him. She then had a friend videotape Peterson while posing for what he believed was a photo.
The recording continued as Engstrom asked how he felt about losing the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life endorsement. Peterson responded by calling the MCCL “a bunch of extremists,” and he said that this was “the end of them as an organization.”
Engstrom said her academic advisor, Michael Bath, asked her to meet after the video was posted because the college was under fire for her recording. In the meeting Bath allegedly asked for her side of the story so the college could see if the incident warranted any academic discipline.
“(That) is just appalling to me because…I could never see a place where the college could tell a student that that was wrong on any concrete academic basis,” Engstrom said.
At the meeting, Bath also informed Engstrom that President William Craft had issued an apology and then asked whether she’d be willing to apologize, she said.
“To me, it’s such a strong implication there’s some sort of a moral judgment on it that I don’t think should be made because I don’t think that’s necessarily the college’s place,” Engstrom said.
Craft and Bath both declined to comment.
Engstrom said a few days after this meeting she hadn’t heard anything further about the situation, so she emailed Craft to find out more. Soon after this, Bill MacDonald, director of public safety who also declined comment, told her there would be no academic repercussions, and if she was going to apologize it was up to her and her conscience, she said.
“I’ve really considered what happened because I want to make sure that I’m not just crusading through life doing my own thing,” she said. “But even after all that, I still feel that I was 100 percent in the right both legally and morally, and so I just can’t imagine myself apologizing to Collin Peterson for asking him the question.”
The statement issued by Concordia says, “As a liberal arts college of the church, Concordia encourages dialogue and debate from all points of view—marked by thoughtful, respectful and forthright interaction. Our engagement with all campus guests—regardless of their views—should reflect such consideration.”
Engstrom has been surprised by the press coverage on the incident because it has not focused on what Peterson said in the video.
“I guess to me (his comment) was more surprising than anything,” Engstrom said. “I felt a little bit offended by the comments about being extremists.”
Engstrom has also been upset by some students’ reactions to the video.
“I’m kind of sad about the fact that so many students have decided to tell me that they never expected this from me when I think that when I think that it’s a really common political practice,” said. “Ultimately I think it was worth having the truth out there about Collin Peterson, especially when I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
Matt Hansen, The Concordian, contributed to this article.
Regan, editor in chief, is a business-marketing major at Concordia with the class of 2014. In the past she has held the position of Pulse writer and has completed two journalism internships with the Wahpeton Daily News. Currently, she works at Bobcat Company in the Marketing and Communication department supporting marketing initiatives and driving audience development. During her free time, Regan enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family.