Monks added to list of likely abusers at Abbey

COURTESY OF JEFF ANDERSON • Casimir Plakut (top), Augustine Strub (middle), and James Kelly (bottom).

By Sierra Lammi

Three former monks of the St. John’s Abbey have been added to the list of priests who likely sexually abused children. The three monks in question are now all deceased and all three left the St. John’s Abbey decades ago. (more…)

Collegeville renames post office to honor Eugene J. McCarthy

SIERRA LAMMI • • Rep. Emmer makes an appearance at the renaming of the SJU post office.

By Sierra Lammi

Last week on Sept. 22, the post office in Guild Hall was officially designated the Eugene J. McCarthy Post Office in honor of the SJU alum and former U.S. Senator, Eugene J. McCarthy, who graduated from St. John’s in 1935.

The bill renaming the post office was signed into law by President Obama last year, on July 29, 2016, just a few months after what would have been the 100th birthday of Eugene McCarthy. The director of the McCarthy Center for Public
Policy and Civic Engagement Matt Lindstrom was among the people who attended the official post office dedication.

“The naming of the Eugene J. McCarthy Post Office is a great dedication to a life-long public servant and serves as a reminder of the importance of civic engagement, especially in the ultimate civic space of a post office,” Lindstrom said.

According to Lindstrom, this project was student driven . One such student worked at an internship in Washington, D.C. and worked on naming post offices.

“Through the collaboration of several faculty and students, we worked with Congress members and were able to make this happen,” Lindstrom said.

Rep. Tom Emmer was the representative who authored the bill to designate the Eugene J. McCarthy post office here at SJU. Emmer was also in attendance at the official dedication last week, and during his speech expressed his gratitude and respect at the memory of Sen. McCarthy, and his remaining family members.

Among the others at the post office dedication were members of Eugene McCarthy’s family, including his son Dr. Michael McCarthy, his niece Mary Beth McCarthy-Yarrow, as well as SJU President Michael Hemesath. During the dedication, McCarthy expressed his gratitude at the memorialization of his
father while Hemesath spoke of the legacy that McCarthy left at these  institutions.

This post office dedication serves as a reminder for not only the achievements of Sen. McCarthy, but also as inspiration for current political science students here at CSB/SJU according to McCarthy Center student coordinator Sameera Sheikh.

Sheikh explained why the McCarthy Center wanted to officially dedicate the post office to Eugene J. McCarthy.

“Since we are celebrating his 100th birthday, we wanted to do something special,” Sheikh said. The post office didn’t really have a name before, so we wanted to name it after him to celebrate his accomplishments in his life and also because his graduation from CSB/SJU makes us a part of his legacy.”

The dedication of the post office at SJU will serve the community at CSB/SJU as a reminder of the achievements of Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy and honor a man who took what he learned at this institution to make change in the world.

CSB new athletic fields completed, facilities not finished yet

MADELYNN MOCOL • • The new CSB athletic fields are for both intramurals and athletic teams.

By Shannon Govern

The weekend of September 16 and 17 brought as much excitement as it brought questions.

Much like the shiny new toys of Christmas to a child, the College of St. Benedict was given enough funds this past year to build brand new athletic fields for their sports teams. However, while the St. Ben’s soccer team christened the complex with a game on the new turf field, students and the community were left wondering about future plans for the complex.

Among these questions are the completion dates and general impact the fields are expected to have on the community.

“The athletic center building will be completed in Jan. 2018 and we can open our spring seasons with access to the fully completed complex,” CSB Athletic Director Glenn Werner said via email. “We will do a grand opening to the
entire complex in the next academic year.”

Junior Claire Roth is excited for the new fields to open.

“I really think that the fields will be a positive contribution to the College of St. Benedict community,” Roth said. “It seems like St. John’s gets all the fun stuff like the rock wall and dome. It’s time we got something cool too.”

The softball fields are on track to open in time for the CSB softball team to use for practice and games this spring.

“The date of completion for the softball turf field is Oct. 15,” Werner said via email. “The softball grass field has been seeded and we will determine the play date based on how well the grass grows in by the spring thaw.”

The fields will be open to intramurals, club sports, as well as the school’s athletic teams.

Werner hopes the recreational fields will be finished and play worthy at the same time as the other seeded fields.

“We think the CSB and St. Joseph communities will enjoy using and spectating on this complex and we expect all of us to have many reasons to visit and enjoy this facility for decades to come,” Werner said.

Both faculty and students alike are excited about the impact this complex will have on the community.

“I think this will really bring the community together even more at St. Ben’s,” Roth said. “We’ve always been really supportive of each other as Bennies. I think having a nice field that shows that same sentiment to visitors and the St. Joseph community alike, will push the school to a standard we all will benefit from.”

First-generation students’ successes and struggles


By Ben Pults

On Sept. 21, Hannah Salto, a College of St. Benedict 2016 graduate held a forum regarding first-generation students, who they are, what they need and how CSB/SJU can help them.

A key supporter of first-generation students has been CSB President Mary Hinton.

“I think one of the key commitments of higher education is to create opportunity for students. I firmly believe that my role is to extend those opportunities to as many young people as possible,” Hinton said via email. “Unfortunately, there is not always equal access to opportunity so intentionally creating equity, including for first generation college students, is vitally important and compels my work.”

As of this year, 27 percent of students are first-generation at CSB, compared to 24 percent at SJU. Most of these first-generation students are white, and most of these students come from Minnesota. CSB’s large first-generation student  percentage has resulted in a position specifically suited to helping out first-generation scholars.

This position is where Salto comes into play. Formally called the “College Navigator,” and typically an aid to first-generation students, Salto helps make the transition from high school to college easier for first-generation students. “The aim of my position is to ensure that these already exceptional students succeed to the best of their ability at CSB/SJU and have an equitable educational
experience with a strong support system,” Salto said via email.

However, even with help from people like Salto, first-generation students face an immense number of challenges and difficulties. First-generation students are
extremely hesitant to attend college because they feel like they’re leaving and abandoning their family that they’ve helped out their entire life. They also waver when deciding to go to post-secondary education because they often don’t have an excess of money to spend on college, according to Salto at the forum.

According to data presented by Salto at the forum, there is about a $100,000 income gap between first-generation students and students whose parents both have bachelor’s degrees. As a result of this income difference, these first-generation students are more hesitant to take out student loans, and additionally, because no one in their family has been to college before and doesn’t know how the process works, it leaves the first-generation student even more fearful of attending college.

Other trends were noted at the forum among current first-generation students at CSB/SJU. First-generation students often take longer to decide what major they want to pursue, but once they find their preferred major, they stick with it.

Similarly, these students tend to gravitate towards majors with a higher starting salary than others because they want to provide for their family to the best of their ability according to Salto.

Salto places the burden of difficulties on inexperience.

“If I had to choose a common challenge that first-generation students face, I would say the lack of knowledge of what college is like and how to be a college
student,” Salto said via email.

Among all of these barriers, there are some positive factors. A number of first-generation students feel like they fit in immediately at CSB/SJU. 69 percent of first-generation students at SJU claimed to have fit in right away, with 46 percent of CSB first-generation students claiming the same.

First-generation students tend to provide experiences that other undergraduates might not bring to the CSB/SJU campuses, and appear to also treat college with more value than other students according to Salto.

“They have a passion for education that I don’t think other students have,” Salto said.

Hinton agrees.

“By having people with different lived experiences on our campuses it increases greatly the diversity of thought, the depth of community and the ability to find solutions to problems,” Hinton said via email.

Salto wants first-generation students to approach her if they ever need assistance.

“I enjoy helping people find the strength, power, and skills within themselves… I am able to work with new students and support them as they discover who they are and what they love,” Salto said via email.