Opinion | Its time for one graduation at CSB/SJU

By Farrad Williams
[email protected]
May 10 will mark the completion of another commencement ceremony at St. John’s University. A time for celebration and showing appreciation for family, friends, faculty and staff.
Since my time at St. John’s, I’ve had the honor of helping with two commencement ceremonies. While I enjoyed helping set up for these ceremonies, I did have an agenda. My agenda included seeing my SJU brothers walk across the stage, receive their diploma case and the recognition from peers, family members and others after four long years of hard work. Some of the SJU brothers I had the opportunity to see walk across the stage also attended high school with me, allowing me to celebrate with them on accomplishing another milestone.
During each ceremony I enjoyed the speeches given by students, faculty and administration. I enjoyed the music. I loved the positive energy of everyone in the room as graduates celebrated an accomplishment that is unattainable for some. I enjoyed seeing them wait to become alumni and think about taking the next step into “the real world.” After attending the 2019 commencement ceremony I realized something was missing. The thing that was missing was the presence of the Bennies. I immediately thought of how different  commencement would be if Johnnies and Bennies graduated together.
Since SJU and CSB are two separate institutions, we have two different commencement ceremonies in which CSB seniors graduate the day before Johnnies. While I understand we are two separate institutions, I still find it ironic that we do not graduate together.
When my classmates and I arrived on both campuses back in 2016, we were all placed in orientation groups. Each group contained both Bennies and Johnnies, forcing us to form bonds and connections with people we would be with for the next four years. Over these four years, we have taken classes together, participated in activities and clubs together, studied abroad together and much more.
During the week of orientation we also learned the importance of tradition, living in community and coming together. On one of the most important days of our lives (graduation), our class and community become separated. A small contradiction of our mission to build community.
As we continue to spread the word of our effort to be a strong community, I encourage both institutions to think about the irony of building community while separating it during graduation. I would also encourage both institutions to look into finding other locations that would accommodate both of our campuses. Not only would having one ceremony keep our two communities together, but it may also make things a little easier for families. This year some families will have to attend two different commencement ceremonies because they have family members who attend both institutions. This means extra traveling which could be avoided if there was only one ceremony. I understand that space is limited on campus.
However, I think it is worth looking into other options. In the meantime, there may be different ways to compensate for the two ceremonies. One would be transportation. Unfortunately there is no transportation provided for graduates and families to travel back and forth to both campuses for photos, to reminisce and take one final tour across both campuses: or to visit both campuses.
The family members of some out-of-state and international students have never been to campus. Some graduates may also feel more connected to SJU campus than CSB campus and vice versa. This may be due to their major being on the opposite campus.
Being two institutions should not get in the way of celebrating the accomplishments of both CSB/SJU seniors. After all, we consider ourselves to be one community. Why not have one commencement ceremony?
This is the opinion of Farrad Williams, SJU senior

Readers’ Letters: Student groups should send fewer emails

Dear Editor,

Every day CSB/SJU students are overwhelmed with an inbox of over twenty emails from Fine Art Events to Communication Club and maybe a couple important messages sprinkled in too.

Receiving this much email is stressful and distracting to say the least and I have seen my fair share of students miss deadlines and events because of this. As a student who is not in HAIS, KACC or Communication Club and who doesn’t speak French, I sure get a lot of emails asking me to come to general meetings and to watch French movies.

There seems to be little effort to reach out to students efficiently. Many clubs and organizations had email sign-ups at the involvement fair last fall, so why don’t they use those emails instead of the entire student body? Chances are that since I’m not in KACC I will not go to a KACC general meeting and that’s just common sense.

I believe that the school organizations should limit themselves to a certain amount—let’s say two—emails per event instead of sending three or four emails about the same event in one week.

Conservative emailing would overall be more effective for advertising a group’s event. As adults we should be able to properly advertise for events in advance without the urgency of send two emails in three days.

Margaret Heroux, ‘23
CSB first-year

Readers’ Letters: Why Democrats are misguided

Dear Editor,

When you saw this title, your first thought was probably that I am a Republican trying to bash the other side.

Although understandable, this actually highlights how shallow the U.S. political system is. We cannot conceptualize critiques coming from anywhere but the opposing team, or that there could possibly be other teams out there.

In the U.S., the boundaries of politics expression extend only as far as the two parties allow. And this narrowing of the political spectrum leads to a narrowing of possibilities—possibilities of thought and possibilities of action. So what ideas do we lose when we subscribe to this system? We lose the ability to meaningfully critique capitalism and the effects it has on our society and the world at large.

We lose the ability to challenge western imperialism and the exploitation of the global south. And we lose the ability to see progress as achievable through anything but voting. Democrats won’t touch these issues. But we can. I am currently creating the “Economic Justice” club, a place for people to discuss issues often labeled “too far left.”

We will discuss critiques of capitalism, economic inequality, the exploitation of marginalized groups and the working class and how imperialism is still shaping our world. Remember, change comes from challenging the system.


Alex Holt, ’21

SJU junior

Do your part to slow Coronavirus

“Our view” is prepared by the Executive board and should be considered the institutional voice of The Record.

Brandon Spratt, Editor-In-Chief — [email protected]
Cullen Trobec, Managing Editor — [email protected]
Ben Pults, Managing Editor — [email protected]

Nick Swanson, Opinion/Editorial Editor — [email protected]

We can safely say we’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 virus, colloquially termed the coronavirus, has gone from a smattering of mysterious cases in China to a pandemic serious enough to cancel entire sports leagues. As we write this on Wednesday night, we can only imagine the impacts that will have been made known on Friday morning.

Thankfully, young people, especially those under nine years old, have been largely unaffected. As primarily young, healthy and able-bodied people, we students might find it easy to dismiss the threat of the virus. What shouldn’t be dismissed is the threat that is posed to older, less healthy members of our community.  Right here in our own community, many monks at St. John’s and nuns at St. Ben’s lie in the highest at-risk age for succumbing to COVID-19. We might not be at strong risk of mortality, but we implore everybody to be cognizant of those who might be.

While flights abroad might seem cheap and great for a quick getaway, this leaves you at a higher chance for obtaining and spreading the coronavirus to those vulnerable members of our community. The primary goal at this stage in the outbreak should be to slow the number of infections so as not to overburden our health care system. This means eliminating unnecessary social contact, especially in large groups, ALWAYS washing your hands and disinfecting commonly used surfaces.

Many countries have already restricted public movement, with Italy going so far as to close all businesses except for grocery stores, pharmacies and banks. Assuming that the outbreak in the United States continues to spread, it is not outlandish to assume similar measures could be on the horizon.

Do your part and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. If not to protect yourself, do it for the more vulnerable people it might spread to.

Readers’ Letters: Response to Robillard’s Letter to The Editor

Dear Editor,

I find it ironic that the Students for Life club has the audacity to complain about The Record’s negative reporting on their accidental spending of $5,600 dollars of the institution’s money. Realize that news is usually biased. Look at Fox News and CNN, for example. Both lean a certain way to fit the audience to which they target. I fail to see how this is shocking for you with The Record, as this isn’t NPR sweeties.

Second of all, the fact of the matter is that you all really messed up. Rather than simply releasing a remorseful statement with a plan of how you will pay back that debt, you decide to complain about The Record’s negative reporting. Perhaps to make yourselves feel better or even target The Record as an aggressor to the situation? Either way, move on and own up to your mistake. Nobody cares for reading half-hearted apologies.

I just find this whole situation annoying, as a lot of that money could have gone to more productive uses. I fail to understand how attending an anti-reproductive rights protest in another state is, in any way, relevant to our campus’ “culture of life,” whatever that means. Could you define your terms? From my understanding, CSB/SJU is not a monolith culture, for we are not confined to one sole radical opinion. We should celebrate diversity of thought. Realize that not everyone agrees with your beliefs, not everyone is Catholic or pro-life here, and not everyone supports your club’s existence.

I am also bitter about this institution failing to uphold freedom of speech in their decision not to have a pro-choice club. I will always believe that we deserve a pro-choice club because this school loves to preach about freedom of speech, yet fails to uphold such a statement. But will a pro-choice club happen? Of course not. We have to live out those Benedictine Values (mind you, not everyone here is Christian, or even religious) to make sure that we don’t upset the donors in changing the way things are done, because god forbid we upset the donors that fund our education.


Jeremy Jahn, ’20

SJU senior

Our View | Thank you, President Hinton

“Our view” is prepared by the Executive board and should be considered the institutional voice of The Record.
Brandon Spratt, Editor-In-Chief — [email protected]
Cullen Trobec, Managing Editor — [email protected]
Ben Pults, Managing Editor — [email protected]
Nick Swanson, Opinion/Editorial Editor — [email protected]

We can only imagine the challenges that come with being the president of a college. Between day-to-day administration, fundraising, representing the institution at public events and connecting with the student body, the responsibility and dedication required to be successful are borderline unthinkable. And yet, by all appearances, CSB President Mary Dana Hinton went above and beyond during her time at St. Ben’s.

Before we say more, it’s worth noting the obvious: all four of us are Johnnies. We don’t pretend to fully understand the impact President Hinton had on the women and culture of St. Ben’s. We can only speak to our own impressions and interactions with President Hinton, but we hope we can speak for most Bennies and Johnnies. We are immensely sad to see her go.

Despite being at the helm of CSB for only six years, President Hinton achieved some remarkable goals. President Hinton made history as the first African American president of St. Ben’s. Her work helped put CSB on firm financial footing, she supervised the building and renovation of top-tier campus facilities and her efforts to make CSB a more inclusive and culturally responsible place have helped pave the way for important shifts in campus culture and awareness.

But President Hinton is admirable for much more than her administrative achievements. Whether you know her as President Hinton, MDH, or “Queen,” chances are you’ve had a conversation with her and left feeling better because of it. She expresses such a genuine interest in every student she speaks with, and she possesses a warmth that is so uncommon it can’t help but be memorable. Her ability to remember students’ names and their stories is remarkable. Not only does she take a genuine interest in students, but she walks the walk. Students have often received personal emails or notes from MDH expressing her praise for students’ good deeds. She prioritizes students with compassionate grace.

Hinton is also a brilliant and nationally respected leader in higher education. MDH is the chair of the Minnesota Private College Council Board of Presidents and is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and the University Leadership Council. Her excellence was well-recognized nationally and she will no doubt continue to shape the liberal arts higher education landscape in years to come at Hollins University.

MDH’s tenure was bound to end, but for us, it comes too soon. It’s the least we can all do moving forward to ‘let our light shine.’ President Hinton, from all of us at The Record, thank you, and best of luck in your new position.