Reporting on GustieLeaks and the President’s administration has been illuminating in many regards. The conflicts that have emerged, both new and old, leave our community with many things to sort through. As Mary Solberg said in an interview with The Weekly “You don’t really realize what the culture of a place is until there’s a rupture in it.”
I’ve found myself in many conversations over these past couple of weeks grappling with this idea. What does this conflict in our community reveal about the culture of Gustavus?
Admittedly, many parts of this question still elude me, but one thing about our culture has become clear, we have become a community too frequently dictated by fear.
The fear becomes apparent in the dialogue currently taking place regarding the conflicts between administration and faculty. All members of our community are accountable for perpetuating the climate of fear surrounding this issue.
Whether it be the ‘you didn’t hear it from me’ mentality between faculty and students or the ‘he said, she said’ that occurs across the cafeteria table, we all at one time or another have probably found ourselves contributing to the mechanics of fear.
Just look at the very nature of GustieLeaks. The whole idea behind this highly charged anonymity, ‘leaking documents,’ and so forth appears a little overly dramatic for a small, rather closely knit liberal arts college to be dealing with. Let us remember, we are not Julian Assange, and this is not a crisis of national security.
Without doubt, the conflicts presented here are serious. The dissatisfaction amongst faculty and students regarding President Ohle’s leadership is clear. The evidence for this is not only well documented, but it is also visible in the interactions, or more often lack there of, between the President and the rest of the community.
Furthermore, these concerns have clearly not been handled effectively by the President as evidenced by such a long history of complaints regarding his leadership.
However, no matter how strongly any of us may feel, it is still important for us to approach the dialogue surrounding our conflicts with respect and dignity, not fear and cowardice. If there is one thing we should have learned from our liberal arts education, it is that any issue worth being discussed should be discussed openly and comprehensively.
Students who know this, know that being actively engaged in a community does not mean sitting passively behind a computer screen and know that simply reading the documents in GustieLeaks cannot give them a complete understanding of the problems at hand.
Unfortunately, the opportunities for students to fully comprehend the conflicts between the President and the faculty have been few and far between. GustieLeaks appears as a last resort by those who are frustrated by a lack of transparent dialogue.
As of late, there has yet to be action taken on addressing the students who have so clearly become involved in the issues at hand.
We here at The Weekly hope to do our part to dispel fear by reporting both sides of the story and holding every member of our community accountable for their actions.
In this way, we hope to instill pragmatism and cool headedness. In return, we expect that our fellow students, our faculty, and our administration will formulate a plan to engage everyone in a meaningful dialogue about where we go from here.
The Editorial Team