Hello St. Mary’s,
I’m writing today on behalf of 165 alumni who signed on to a letter questioning the possible appointment of Rep. Bacchus as the next President of St. Mary’s. (The letter is at welovestmarys.wordpress.com) The letter spans 35 years of alumni, 14 majors, 19 states, 4 countries and a range of political and academic ideologies. Collectively we’ve invested over $3 million dollars into the institution. What’s common is a belief that for a variety of reasons – ranging from fundraising experience to the WTO to perspectives on the liberal arts to reports from friends who are still on campus – Rep. Bacchus is the wrong choice to lead St. Mary’s. We don’t question his desire to lead the school or his reasons for wanting to. But it’s a poor fit for the College.
If it turns out that Rep. Bacchus is appointed, it’s our hope that the students and The Point News will insist on a real campus discussion about his background in global trade, and what that background means. Rep. Bacchus doesn’t need to defend anything “to the death,” as he said in his visit. Rather he should be part of a vibrant, intelligent and ongoing discussion that is frank about the good and the bad in his 15 years at the WTO, in law, and in lobbying.
If any of the four are appointed, it’s our hope that The Point News and the student body will be vigilant and critical when necessary, ask hard questions and particularly mindful of where the dollars are coming from as the college fundraises and builds for the next decade.
If nobody is appointed, and the Search and debate continue (or even are sent back to the starting block), it’s our hope that the entire student body will be involved and make sure that your opinions are heard and your questions are answered. This can be dry work, getting into the weeds of administration and curricula and fundraising and Boards. But if you love the college as much as we do, it’s worth your time – and it’s an amazing education.
St. Mary’s was a beautiful one-of-a-kind home to so many of us. We miss it, every day. It deserves an inspiring leader with real vision, passion for the Liberal Arts, and an understanding of what makes St. Mary’s so remarkable. Don’t settle for anything less.
Ben Wyskida ’99
New York, NY
Editor in Chief of The Point News (1997)
Director of Publicity & Multimedia, The Nation