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The future of Carleton: collective thoughts on policy

Carleton started off a 2008 with a serious mistake – the elimination (though the college, in an attempt to soften students’ reaction, has not called it “elimination,” though that’s exactly what it is) of the Pre-Frosh Trips. The decision itself was bad enough (made for the wrong reasons, ignoring the benefits of the trips), but the way the college handled the decision – making it behind closed doors and keeping it a secret to students – is actually insulting. The college bypassed its greatest asset – its students – and set the wrong precedent for how decisions like these should be made in the future. In the future, the college administration needs to make itself more transparent in the future to make up for this error.

– Sam Benshoof, Managing Editor

Personally, I feel any governing body has a responsibility to its constituents—the members of CSA should therefore prioritize its efforts to communicate effectively with the general student body. While the Campus Emails provides information about meeting times and decisions, there should be an additional publication or document that explicates major policy decisions that affect the members of this community.

The existing format of CSA meetings and an accessible website are of course an excellent start to achieving an interactive student government. In the burgeoning age of Internet, blogs and citizen journalism, a blog detailing CSA’s policy decisions open to community comments and continued dialogue might be a productive means to open the decisions made by the CSA to general discussion. Such a forum would allow members of the CSA a more informed understanding of the wants and needs of Carleton students. This is a crucial step in creating a positive college atmosphere.

-Liz Crowley, Editor-in-Chief

I was attracted to Carleton for most of the same reasons that everyone was. The rigorous academics, the passionate professors, and the eccentric students. And throughout my freshmen year as I experienced the Carleton culture first handedly, the open spirit of the administration was added to that list. Unfortunately my admiration for the administration has been diminishing as decision after decision seems to be made behind closed doors. The cancellation of pre-frosh trips, increasingly strict alcohol policies and not to mention staff changes has been made in students’ best interests without any student consultation. For once during my time at Carleton, I am highly disappointed in the direction that the administration is moving in.

– Vivyan Tran, Viewpoint Editor

Carleton students face the outlandish cost of a $45,645 yearly tuition. Yet Carls with student loans will graduate with an average of $20,000 in debts, which is comparable to debt costs faced by our counterparts at state universities with lower tuition fees. The fact that Carleton places such importance on financial assistance for students is promising, and policy should continue to support decisions that enhance financial aid. With the recent trend of colleges increasing financial support for students—such as Harvard, which is eliminating tuition entirely for low-income families and increasing grants for students from middle-class backgrounds—Carleton must also bolster its financial aid availability to compete in the liberal arts college market. More importantly, the college should ensure that it can continue to provide the opportunity of a college education to members of all economic classes—not merely those who can afford the cost of tuition. In the future, Carleton must continue efforts to boost its endowment and put a significant proportion of this money towards financial aid, allowing students to realistically afford a college education.

-Jane Caffrey, Editor-in-Chief

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