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Letters to the Editor: September 13, 2016

CAITLIN READ, Executive Director of Admissions and Enrollment Operations, writes:

Re: “Smaller Freshman Class Arrives on Campus” (Sep. 6)

I was disappointed to read the negative tone of this article in presenting enrollment numbers for the incoming freshman class. The article failed both to provide any analysis of the figures and to put them into proper context and as a result offered a misleading picture of the class of 2020.

The writers pointed out correctly that this year’s freshman class is smaller, however, they neglected to mention that the class was smaller by design, instead referring to a “slump in enrollment.”  In fact, the current enrollment has enabled the College to meet its budgetary goals and decrease the tuition discount rate. If the intent was to provide the community with a better understanding of the demographics of the class it would have also been worthwhile to mention that this year’s class has a more competitive academic profile, with the highest average SAT and ACT scores for enrolled students in our database (going back to 2007). In addition, the demographics of the freshman class is consistent with our Lasallian mission to serve minority and first generation students.  To that end, the number of first-generation college students was increased and the percentage of Hispanic students enrolling was virtually unchanged.

As the article stated, the enrollment figures will not be finalized until October 1, 2016, at which time a thorough analysis of demographics of the class will be conducted.  I had asked that the writers wait until that time before presenting information about the class so that the community could be provided with more accurate figures as well as a better understanding of our enrollment within the context of our institutional goals and priorities as well as national and regional enrollment trends.

Caitlin Read

Executive Director  of Admissions & Enrollment Operations

RICHARD T. SATTERLEE, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Life, writes:

Dear Ms. Hutzler:

I am writing in response to Tori James’ editorial titled “Make MC Safe (Again?)” concerning Dean Michael Carey’s address to the class of 2020 on sexual assault.  Dean Carey’s presentation is an important starting point for a conversation with new students on a very difficult topic, and for that reason I have attended the presentation during Opening Weekend each of the last 3 years.  Since I was present again this year, I would point out that contrary to Ms. James’ sentiment that the talk neglects our Catholic and Lasallian heritage, Dean Carey’s presentation grounds the conversation in this important context.  In fact, he connects the responsibility of caring for one another by linking these values to the Perpetual Vow of Institute of the Brothers of the Christian School, which originated in 1694, to live “together and by association.”  While it is true that we have external mandates to educate about sexual assault, Dean Carey emphasizes first and foremost that we have a moral imperative to respect the dignity of all human persons.

I also want to applaud the fact that a number of RAs contributed to the article and voiced their opinion about both the content of the presentation and our shared values as a community.  I can assure you that Residence Life and the Dean of Students welcome this kind of honest response, especially as we engage in addressing difficult issues like sexual assault on campus.  Throughout RA training we emphasized that the position is not merely campus employment but also an important leadership opportunity.  Dean Carey’s presentation has evolved over the past 3 years and we welcome constructive criticism in order to improve upon the message.  Dean Carey and the office of Residence Life will reaching out to RAs to begin a dialogue about incorporating their ideas for next year’s presentation at Opening Weekend, and throughout the year for other educational initiatives surrounding our work as a community on this important topic.

Sincerely,

Richard T. Satterlee, Ph.D

Vice President for Student Life

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