Last week I posted about an open letter we were gathering signatures for regarding Wheaton’s hiring of it’s next college president. This past Sunday, I delivered (via email) an open letter signed by 350 Wheaton alumni. So far I’ve received a brief email acknowledging they’ve received the letter:
Mr. Fine — thank you for sending this official listing to the Presidential Selection Committee with the information on the “signers” of the open letter. The information has been forwarded to the Presidential Selection Committee for their review.
We appreciate your interest and especially your continued prayers for this very important process.
Presidential Selection Committee
In the mean time, Christianity Today
decided to cover the story on one of their blogs. Here’s a snippet,
Mimi Barnard, CCCU’s vice president for professional development and research, provided Her.meneutics more recent statistics. As of fall 2008, the gender ratio among all senior administrators at CCCU schools was 86 percent male, 14 percent female, compared with a 55/45 percent ratio among all U.S. colleges and universities.
Further, 5 percent of CCCU schools are now led by women…
The Wheaton Record (the school’s print paper) will also be covering the story this Friday. I’ll try and post that article here as well. What I’ve really enjoyed seeing is the conversation this has created and more specifically some of the great thoughts I’ve heard from others. Here is one comment from the blog post above that I found interesting:
The sad fallacy of this article is that the school must trade off excellence in favor of diversity. That’s just nonsense. Even for a position as prestigious as president of Wheaton College, there will be more than a few candidates who are fully qualified for the position. Each will bring a couple of unique “extras” to the table. One’s area of scholarship might be a more currently “hot” topic. One might have exceptional skills in fundraising at a time when that is paramount. One might have exceptional interpersonal skills at a time when faculty reorganization is paramount. One might bring gender or ethnic diversity at a time when that has been lacking.
These things should be considered as bonus points in favor of one candidate or another and one bonus point may be more important one year than another. Given the current abysmal diversity statistics, it seems reasonable that on this go-round, seing gender or ethnic diversity (among candidates who are ALL fully qualified) as a more important bonus does not seem to be any more immoral or unfair than favoring an exceptional fundraiser at another time.
The view that diversity should NEVER be considered is to completely devalue the different voices that non-white-male people bring to any enterprise. Of course white men can teach diversity, but there is a qualitative difference for the student body when the faculty actually reflect what is taught about the worth of ALL of God’s children.
The letter is still open for signing. Regardless of what happens with the presidential selection, this letter and signers will stand as an accountability check on the process and a statement of our collective commitments and values.
My Open Letter to Mayor Rybak got some publicity today in the Star Tribune!
From Dateline Minneapolis: Mayor Rybak, won’t you be our neighbor?:
Inveterate North Sider Buzzy Bohn and newcomer Ariah Fine independently extended similar invitations to Rybak to come on up to their part of the city…
While Bohn is a North Side veteran, area newcomer Fine issued a similar invitation. He and his family of four moved to a duplex a block off Broadway Avenue W. in late 2007, and he blogged an invitation to Rybak, with a side tweet to the mayor. Fine sounds genuinely impressed by Rybk’s commitment to the North Side:
"You’ve come out for events large and small, even when there were no cameras, to speak about the hope and potential of North. I’ve rarely spoken well of politicians and city officials when it comes to the forgotten parts of most cities, but I must say that so far it’s seemed as if you are more then just empty words.
"As you look for a place to call home, I believe there is no better place than north Minneapolis. And if you believe the words that you’ve spoken about this part of the city, I think you believe it too. Many politicians can talk the talk, paying lip service and then turn a blind eye, but here is your opportunity to walk the walk. Move to north Minneapolis."
No link to my letter or anything, but a little recognition is always fun.
Dear Mayor Rybak,
I saw the headline that you were selling your house last week and I took the time to read through, curious of where you were planning on moving to. As my luck would have it, you haven’t yet made up your mind, and I would hope, you might be open to some others opinions.
I’ve only lived in Minneapolis for a year and a half, finally settling down after college and raising a family. We live just a block south of Broadway in North Minneapolis and have found it to be a beautiful community. And as a community-minded person myself, I immediately started getting involved in the neighborhood meetings and events through out the area.
I’ve been very impressed by your commitment to and your presence in North Minneapolis. You’ve come out for events large and small, even when there were no cameras, to speak about the hope and potential of North. I’ve rarely spoke well of politicians and city officials when it comes to the forgotten parts of most cities, but I must say that so far its seemed as if you are more then just empty words.
As you look for a place to call home, I believe there is no better place then North Minneapolis. And if you believe the words that you’ve spoken about this part of the city, I think you believe it too. Many politicians can talk the talk, paying lip service and then turn a blind eye, but here is your opportunity to walk the walk.
Move to North Minneapolis.