Libraries and the media have one ideal in common: the 1st amendment. The pillar of a free and open society, one that responsibly engages in the affairs of the world, is the exchange of different opinions in an open and respectful manner. I have been blessed to have worked most of my adult life in both libraries and the media, and find both careers exhilarating.
I’ve noticed a marked difference in the Concordian this year. It reads like a “real” newspaper with timely, informative and interesting articles. Do you recall any headlines from past Concordians? I couldn’t, so I walked up to Archives and paged through some of them. Can you recall any of the stories or editorials from this year’s Concordian? I can: Wage inequities, retention rates, budget shortfalls, Cornstock, to name a few. These stories aren’t the fluffy, “Minnesota nice” stories of the past. These are stories written by future journalists who will go out into the world and ask the hard questions.
I was scheduled at the front desk the day of the faculty/staff budget meeting on Feb. 2. I couldn’t attend either meeting and relied on co-workers and reporters to pass along pertinent information. I was impressed to open the Concordian that Thursday and read a comprehensive, informative article on that meeting. Good for you. The challenges Concordia is facing are too big and important to ignore or settle for filtered information. In my opinion, it was better written than the same story in the Fargo Forum (front page) that same weekend.
I also wish to address the editorials written by Editor in Chief Sean Plemmons. While I don’t always agree with his opinion, and, by definition, an editorial IS an opinion, I will defend his right to express it. In fact, I welcome it. I’ve had some rousing discussions with both colleagues and students this year. What I appreciate most about Mr. Plemmons’s editorials is his willingness to question traditions. If someone wants to study abroad, go for it. But don’t do it because it’s expected or part of the whole Concordia experience. I’ll never forget working one day with an international student at the library. A faculty stopped in and was encouraging her to sign up for a particular May seminar. The faculty stated “and it’s only $7,000!.” After the faculty left, the student, who was making around $7.50 an hour, and whose entire family sacrificed to give her an American education, said to me “I don’t make $7,000 in one whole year of working.” While the opportunity to study abroad is wonderful, pressuring students into feeling they are missing out or not getting a true college experience unless they sign up for a study abroad experience is irresponsible. The cost/benefit of that is better left to family discussions. Likewise, when the editorial came out about Cobber rings, one student told me “There really is a lot of peer pressure to get a ring. $600 is just too much for me right now.” Again, if you want a ring and can afford it, go for it, which was Mr. Plemmons’s assertion. But don’t do it because it’s part of some sacrosanct tradition.
These are truly challenging times at Concordia, times that call for serious discussion and debate. I’m glad we have serious reporters at the Concordian who can tackle these issues. I look forward to the next issue. Keep writing. You have more than one fan reading.
Curriculum and Circulation Assistant
This article was submitted by Mary Anderson, contributing writer.