The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Editorial

Last week Concerned Black Students (CBS) met with admission counselors Seth Allen and Doug Badger to discuss the firing of Chicago recruiter Marlene Jacks. CBS and others familiar with Jacks tried to convey that she was the only adult at the college that many students—especially students of color—trusted and with whom they felt a strong relationship. Students also spoke about how Jacks was the reason that they went not only to Grinnell but to any college. Despite these voices of concern, the office of admission went through with her employment termination.

The magnitude of student response to her dismissal reveals that Jacks had a unique ability to connect with the students she worked with. She not only became active in students lives during their college application and decision-making process, but maintained relationships with students as they adjusted to college life. Having known students from the beginning of their college processes, Jacks offered them support different from professors and other support systems on campus, able to speak to long-term concerns and insecurities.

As the recruiter for Chicago-land area and Iowa, Jacks is the reason that a significant percentage of the Grinnell student body ended up here. It is unfortunate that future generations of would-be Grinnellians will not have the opportunity to work with her.

However, that does not mean that other recruiters cannot have an equally positive influence on students’ lives. We often think of admissions as a domain separate from student life, but Jacks proved the value of relationships that carry over from wide-eyed prospies to jaded seniors.

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