Alums upset about Macalester's harsh punishment for Wells Fargo-protesting students

At least one student-protester says she won't be able to try out for a sports team next year because of her punishment.
At least one student-protester says she won't be able to try out for a sports team next year because of her punishment.
Image by Tatiana Craine; building at right is Weyerhaeuser Hal

Macalester has sternly punished students involved in last month's week-long anti-Wells Fargo protest, drawing the ire of some alums who think administrators went too far.

SEE ALSO: Macalester students end sit-in; administration refuses to dump Wells Fargo

More than a dozen students involved in the protest have been put on probation for next semester and will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities, including internships, athletics, studying abroad, and student government, the Star Tribune reports.

Administrators were especially upset about protesters' move to block access to the Weyerhaeuser Hall administrative building a couple days into the protest.

"We don't discipline students who sit in or protest," VP for student affairs Laurie Hamre told the Strib. "We do discipline when that infringes on the rights of other students."

At an April 26 meeting where he told protestors that administrators wouldn't meet their demands, Mac President Brian Rosenberg criticized protesters' approach.

"Your tactics have shown that you don't understand me," he said, according to a Mac Weekly report. "I will never make a decision based on increased application of pressure or threats."

In response to the school's punishment, a group of alums put together a petition calling for administrators to reconsider and are planning to deliver it this week.

"Administrators' choice to punish student activism and retreat from social justice doesn't match Macalester's values," the alumni wrote, according to the Strib. "This is not the Macalester we know and love."

The sitting-in and protesting students wanted Macalester to discontinue its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, citing the allegedly egregious role the bank played in the housing crisis. But administrators refused to meet that demand, arguing that "Macalester's relationship with Wells Fargo is quite limited" and "It's hard to know whether Wells Fargo's significant footprint in foreclosure action is any better or worse than other market participants and whether the impact is simply related to size."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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