Letter to the Editor: Marquette value: Students first


Photo by Benjamin Erickson / benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Over the past year I have had the honor to serve as the President of Marquette University Student Government (MUSG). This experience has allowed me to work alongside my fellow students as well as members of the university’s leadership in the pursuit of creating positive changes on our campus and community. I have had the opportunity to partner with Marquette’s President Michael Lovell on a variety of initiatives intended to address some of the most pressing challenges our community faces. We have worked together to improve health and wellness on our campus, strengthen Marquette’s connection with our neighborhood and the City of Milwaukee, foster more personal relationships between students, faculty and staff, as well as ensure Marquette is a university that is welcome to all.

As I reflect on these experiences, nothing has been more consistent than President Lovell’s clear dedication to placing students first. He has shown time and time again that his care and concern is for the students and their success in life. President Lovell has been at the forefront of improving the student experience at Marquette by fostering a positive climate that embraces respectful yet challenging discourse, and upholds the values of our university. He has truly made a profound impact on my life and the lives of each of my fellow students in a positive way.

Throughout the past year, there have been numerous examples of our campus engaging in challenging dialogue around divisive issues. Each time we have embraced these conversations and valued the differing perspectives that emerged. Our student government and President Lovell even partnered to create a series of Dialogue Dinners with the primary goal of bringing together our entire community around difficult conversations. We discussed challenging issues including mental health awareness, building relationships with individuals from varying backgrounds and our role as neighbors in a diverse community. At each of these dinners we invited all members of the Marquette family to come together to share their perspectives on these thought provoking topics. Real change doesn’t come from inflammatory rhetoric but through respectful discourse.

As a current student at Marquette I place a high value on the perspectives of the faculty and staff who I interact with. Constructive criticism is an important part of my educational development, however, criticism must be done in a respectful way in order for it to be effective. As President Lovell has stated, it is unacceptable for a professor to inflict a “personal attack on a student.” Instead, professors should respectfully provide their insights in a way that contributes positively to a student’s development. In light of this, I stand with Marquette University and our Guiding Values. And, I stand with President Lovell and his call for decency.

Zack Wallace

MUSG President 2015-2016