The little that I’ve heard about the Facebook Confessions page has been intriguing. It has highlighted a very real underbelly of Grinnell. The administrators might be scrambling to manage the college image, and view this as a crisis, but to me, it seems that they are failing to capitalize on this incident, which in fact serves to distinguish the college from others.
How about we all admit that these misunderstandings are not unique to Grinnell? (See: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/16/tensions-simmer-between-american-and-international-students.) How cool is it that a student independently initiates a forum for open discussion, AND takes an appropriate stance on moderating?
This is not to say that the College cannot take measures to improve the social atmosphere. For instance, a few years ago, the College shortened what used to be a week long International Student Orientation and integrated it with the New Student Orientation so that there were more opportunities for cross-national socialization. What else can the college do?
If I were to recommend prospective undergraduates to apply to Grinnell, it would not be despite incidents such as this one, it would be precisely because of them.
Sadish Dhakal ‘11