Editorial Board: Welcome Back

Just when you thought print journalism was dead and buried, TSL is back for another semester. With fresh faces at the helm and a slew of new staffers, we’re feeling ready to tackle any topics that surface between now and May. What’s more, we’re making some changes that we think will allow us to serve the Claremont Colleges community better than ever.

Most importantly, we’re continuing our effort to cover the entire consortium. We’re particularly proud to say that we’ll be covering CMS sports more than ever before, and featuring an Athena or Stag of the week alongside our traditional Sagehen of the week. Regardless of our individual loyalties on game day, we applaud all of our 5C athletes and look forward to highlighting their accomplishments.

While we’re expanding some sections, we’ve also looked for places to streamline our operations. Loyal readers will notice the disappearance of the Special Features section. After a great deal of spirited debate, we decided that the resources once devoted to full-page spreads could be better distributed throughout our paper. Therefore, expect to see a great deal more feature-style and investigative writing and dynamic page layouts as we apply the techniques once used in Special Features to our regular coverage.

In that spirit, our News section this week contains a group of stories focused on recent developments geared toward increasing the accessibility of liberal arts education.

This past Tuesday, Pomona College gave an honorary degree to Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, recognizing her promotion of liberal arts education in Southeast Asia. The award followed Pomona President David Oxtoby and Claremont McKenna President Hiram Chodosh’s support of the same goal at a conference in India in early January. On the northern end of the consortium, Harvey Mudd College is set to launch a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the fall, targeting underrepresented groups in middle schools to encourage them to pursue STEM fields. And the weekend before classes began, all of the 5C presidents attended a summit at the White House, where they presented plans to expand college opportunities for underserved demographics.

While we admire and applaud the efforts of the administrations to make the Claremont liberal arts experience more accessible to more people, we question whether the American model of liberal arts education can be transplanted abroad. Although we are strong believers in the benefits of a liberal arts education — we’re here, after all — we recognize that a system developed and revised in the American milieu may not be an ideal fit for all cultures and regions around the world. We encourage our administrations to think carefully and critically about the suitability of our educational model in other contexts, even when that requires acknowledging the shortcomings of our current system.

As for making our campuses more accessible to underrepresented groups in the US, we hope that the administrations will consider the on-campus support we currently offer for those groups, and carefully examine the increases in resources that further diversification will require. As much as we’re excited to see increased diversity on campus, we know that providing adequate support and mentorship to new students is essential to their success. Next week, we’ll take a look at the efforts the colleges are currently making to support current students — as well as their plans to expand resources for future students.

As we welcome this more diverse student population, it is also imperative that we provide a place for students to engage academically with their cultural histories. We support the Indigenous Student Alliance’s proposal for the establishment of a long-overdue Native American and Indigenous Studies department. Given that Pitzer College’s proposal at the White House summit included a sustained commitment to the Native American Pipeline Program in an effort to increase the indigenous student population of the colleges, we believe that such a department is absolutely necessary.

Of course, we don’t expect that our suggestions will meet with complete acceptance. Nor will our institutions’ new policies and initiatives. For that matter, neither will our attempts to do justice to life at every one of the colleges within a single newspaper. That’s why we always welcome submissions to our Opinions section. We want to know what you think, about these topics or any others.

So give us a read. Let us know where we’re improving, and where we’ve lost our way. Tell us what we’re overlooking, or when we’ve made mountains out of molehills. We’re ready to listen.

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