The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Letter to the Editor: College has chance for respectful dialogue


letter to the editor graphic

First of all, we’d like to thank Jim Reische for his five years of work as Vice President for Communications at Grinnell as he prepares to leave the college and transition into his new job in Maryland.

President Kington rightly mentions in the campus memo regarding Reische’s departure that his work has gone a long way towards helping Grinnell engage alumni and shape a new institutional identity. Kington also notes “the depth of [Reische’s] commitment to students and learning.”

It’s that last point that we want to emphasize: as Kington begins the process of filling Reische’s position, he should keep in mind the ways Reische exemplified the candid, respectful relationships that administrators should strive to achieve with students.

As Editors-in-Chief of the S&B last year, we met with Reische twice a month to keep open a regular channel of communication between the newspaper and college administration. We would discuss ongoing projects like the upcoming renovations of ARH-Carnegie as well as more sensitive topics like sexual assault on campus and Grinnell’s implementation of Title IX.

While we sometimes disagreed, our relationship with Reische was generally a healthy and productive one. We’d like to contrast his attitude with the approach that other college administrators had towards the S&B, and students in general, during our time at Grinnell.

Frequently, we’ve seen what seems to be reluctance for Grinnell administrators to engage in conversation with the student body about issues that affect them—the Community Advisors situation comes to mind, for instance. This reluctance was especially evident to the S&B staff as they worked to report on important issues that the campus community and larger alumni network should be aware of.

We remember repeated instances of administrators ignoring requests for interviews and refusing to speak in person about certain topics (like Title IX). Those same administrators would then complain that our reporting was unfair, that their side of the story had not been told and that we were out to get them. Of course this was not true, and by not telling their side of the story administrators often added to the perception that they were not receptive to student concerns.

As with any news organization, the S&B sometimes made mistakes. And we understand the reluctance of college officials to be quoted saying the “wrong thing” in an article that could go viral online and damage the college’s reputation and their careers. However, we know from experience that Grinnell students are motivated by the desire to make their college a better place and that S&B reporters do not take their jobs lightly. Refusing to engage in conversation with them about important issues facing the college is not the right move for the administration to make.

We understand from current students that some progress has been made in these areas this year. This is encouraging, and we hope that as the college begins the process of hiring a new Vice President for Communications there is time to reflect on how important it is for the administration to have a respectful and productive relationship with students, and student journalists in particular.

During his time at Grinnell, Jim helped build a solid foundation of trust and cooperation between the S&B and the college. His example should be a model for other Grinnell officials, including those in the Department of Student Affairs, the Title IX Coordinator and, hopefully, his replacement.

—Stephen Gruber-Miller & Emma Sinai-Yunker

S&B Editors-in-Chief, 2014-2015

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    Alyce Eaton '13Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Stephen and Emma! As another former S&B EIC, I completely agree that Jim did a great job of actually talking and listening to students, including the S&B, and including at times that we disagreed. This was so important and is something that really sticks out for me as I think about interactions with various members of the administration. Jim will be missed at Grinnell!