“Independent Minds Working Together” is the philosophy ingrained in all those who occupy the College of Wooster. It is an ideology that Admissions, Campus Life and most of all, our beloved President Grant Cornwell, takes pride in. However, I would like to pose the question: How often do those who take pride in such a philosophy actually embody it?
I raise this question because, as a senior, it would appear as of late that those in the administration have forgotten what it means to work together with students. The most recent example is the crafty way party policies have been imposed on students. Now, you may be asking yourself, how is all of this relevant? Well, it’s quite simple. The College should practice what it preaches. Many of you may recall the front-page article last week that highlighted that the Fall Break housing fee has been waived. Let’s do some math. Fall Break begins next month on Oct. 3 and ends Oct. 11. Students were informed that they could stay on campus for free barely two weeks in advance of the start of Fall Break. As a student, my grievances lie with the lack of communication and consideration shown by Campus Life. How many students were forced to purchase plane tickets that their families could not afford? How many students had to sacrifice studying for a test, doing homework or even I.S. work in order to earn the funds needed for their anticipated travel plans because Wooster originally would not house them?
To further emphasize the lack of communication, or miscommunication if you will, Amber Zifzal, associate director of Residence Life, was quoted saying that the fee has been waived because “it’s the first year and students weren’t necessarily prepared, so we wanted to be mindful of that and educate them about what would be happening in future years,” implying that Res Life/Campus Life is always taking students into consideration. Yet, a few weeks ago, Rachel Messenger, assistant director of Campus Life, revealed to students who attended P.L.A.I.D. Weekend that Wooster students would be charged for Fall Break only after a student inquired about a rumor he had heard. As students responded in frustration, her response was that students were notified during the housing selection process that a fee would be charged. This raises questions about the level of disconnect amongst faculty and staff and in turn, the disconnect that they have with students as a whole. My purpose is not to offend or insult, but to raise awareness about a flaw in our system. Whether this flaw is systematic or simply how the system is enforced, I do not know, but it is something that we as a community must look into. This viewpoint has been about my opinion, but I leave you with one final question to answer for yourselves: are we independent minds working together or are we just independent minds living together?