Town hall tackles tough topics

At the last town hall meeting on Wednesday, April 12, student body president Bill Warners introduced President Michael Le Roy. The topic of discussion at the town hall was primarily civility, diversity and inclusion on campus.

Diversity, defined by Le Roy, although important, is more than just welcoming every perspective, “it is saying I am going to be a better thinker, citizen, community member.”

According to Le Roy, diversity affects his job as president. He said “part of my job is to educate people about what Calvin is today.”

Since there are so many alumni, as president, he tries to refresh their perspectives on Calvin, since “Calvin is what it was when they left.”

Le Roy also discussed the challenges of civility, diversity and inclusion when “politics are a hot pocket issue.”  

Some donors will threaten removing their financial support from the college when they feel that their ideology is not being promoted, Le Roy said. However, he added that “donors that have threatened [to withdraw support] were never giving anyways.”

Le Roy feels that our current culture makes it very easy to label someone, saying: “Once you label and marginalize someone you don’t have to deal with them. There is nothing Christlike about that.”

Rather than labeling someone, we should “leave these things we really disagree on out of bounds for a little bit” and instead try to find what we have in common with the other person.

Le Roy explained that he chooses to handle confrontation face-to-face rather than over social media. He encouraged students to do the same since, “your digital presence will stay with you the rest of your lives.” However, he did emphasize that “the goal is not to avoid hard conversations, it is just that social media is not the medium.”

The last segment of the town hall was dedicated to questions from the audience.

Le Roy responded to the first question, “what is administration doing to promote higher diversity of faculty and staff?” by saying that diversity is on the Calvin administration’s list as one of the six aspirations for the next three years. He thought it was important to mention that we “can’t ever arrive, but should always aspire.”

The final question of the night concerned how to act when you have to interact with a bad leader. Le Roy got personal and confessed that one of the hardest times of his life was when this happened to him. Le Roy found that seeking advice from more experienced people helped him in the situation, although he admitted that he sought the help too late. Le Roy said, if this happens “don’t let it go on forever and ever.”  

The town hall closed with a feeling of excitement for the upcoming student senate election.