Staff Editorial

As the date of Lawrence’s second convocation draws nearer, some might be prudent to wonder where convocations lie on our list of priorities. Convocations are wonderful events our university stages, bringing thinkers with outside perspectives to speak about their areas of expertise.
Our own Web site advertises five convocations a year, but this year we only have four, including the president’s matriculation. In the eighties and nineties, the number of convocations numbered, on average seven or eight each year. While there have certainly been noteworthy speakers in recent years, Convocation series of the past set a standard of quality that, in the Beck administration, we have thus far been unable to uphold.
This year, over an academic calendar spanning thirty-three weeks, we are hosting three speakers thus bringing in only three outside perspectives. Are convocations really a consistent program if they really only bring one outside perspective to our campus a term?
The intellectual intent of convocations is nice, but maybe it is time to examine their practical effect. These events, given the complete backing of the university, sometimes pale in comparison to speakers brought in by mere student-run campus organizations. For instance, the College Republicans brought in columnist and actor Ben Stein in 2007, while Greenfire hosted Chris Paine, the director of the acclaimed documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
The publicity, stress and attention we give the convocations may be unfounded if they only happen about once a term and fail to live up to the precedents set, both by other campus speakers and the program’s history. To expose Lawrence students to outside perspectives and even advertise convocations the way we are, it is required to have them more frequently.
Convocations are indicative of Lawrence’s attitude towards many of their programs, good intentions and publicity with somewhat paltry execution.

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