August 11, 2019

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: An Escalating Tenure Fight Catches Students in the Crossfire: A professor says Macalester College is continuing a yearslong pattern of retaliation and discrimination against her.

In January, Wang Ping, an English professor at Macalester College, planned to invite a Native American spiritual leader to her creative-writing course, to lead students in a drum-making workshop.

“I’m teaching a new course, ‘Migration, Immigration, and Home,’ and the major theme is to bring the indigenous value of the land, water, and earth to the students,” Wang wrote to Proud Indigenous People for Education, a student group at the Minnesota college, describing the drum-making workshop. “I’d like to invite you to be a part of it, if you’re interested.”

For a week, there was no response. Then a student replied from the group’s account. She also copied eight other people, including college officials overseeing multicultural life and Wang’s department.

The student wrote that she had read the course description and syllabus, and she thought the course’s attempt to cover Native ceremonies and practices was not appropriate for a non-Native instructor to teach to non-Native students. “These are cultural practices,” she wrote, “and I am personally livid about this whole situation.”

The proper response from administrators was to tell the student that she’s an idiot and should be ashamed to express such bigoted views. Naturally, that’s not what happened next.

Also, a “drum-making workshop” in an English class? Cost of attending Macalester College: $69,127 per year.

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