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Campus Life under scrutiny

Meg Itoh

Staff Writer

The Campus Life Office will undergo an external administrative review by the end of this month. The decision for a review was prompted by a group of student leaders who met with the Board of Trustees’ Student Development Committee in February.

“The Board of Trustees comes to campus once every semester and once in the summer. Within the Board of Trustees, the Student Development Committee is a committee that sits down with student leaders and discusses concerns,” explained Sunny Mitra ’16, Student Government Association (SGA) president and a member of the group that proposed this review. “A couple nights before [the meeting] … student leaders [met] to get the agenda down … lots of groups were having concerns with the Campus Life Office.”

The student leaders subsequently drafted and presented a proposal to the Student Development Committee calling for a full external administrative review of the Campus Life Office. Student leaders from the Wooster Activities Crew (WAC), SGA, Campus Council, Greek Life and Residence Life presented the proposal at the Feb. 26 meeting.

The students’ main concerns regarding the Campus Life Office were the inadequate handling of safety complaints, significant staff turnover, lack of staff training, understaffing of the office and lack of communication with employees and the campus at large.

The student leaders proposed “that a thorough administrative review of the Campus Life Office be undertaken, with emphasis on incorporating student input, to identify problems and determine solutions,” according to their memo to the trustees.

Furthermore, the proposal addressed that the administrative review will “examine all aspects of the Campus Life Office to determine how its operations can be made more efficient and effective with regards to the hiring process, employee training, communication by Campus Life, ability of students to voice opinions and dissent and office culture.”

According to President Grant Cornwell, he and Bill Longbrake, chair of the Board of Trustees, “agreed that the student call warranted a serious response.” Cornwell subsequently sought a team of professionals to come to campus to conduct the review.

Student leaders met with Cornwell soon after.

“We met with him … and talked about what the review process is going to look like,” said Spencer Gilbert ’17, one of the student leaders involved.

The external review team will “meet with different people that have investment in the office and then make suggestions for improvement. Hopefully, they will be able to provide some insight for improvements that can be made to the department,” said Amy Burroughs, Residence Life area director.

The external review team will be on campus April 23 and 24. The team members are Sherra Babcock, vice president of education at the Chautauqua Institution; Hudlin Wagner, dean of students and vice president for student development at Carleton College; and Marc Gamson, an organizational psychologist and executive management consultant for the College.

“They will meet with various student organizations, members of administrative teams and individual students, staff and faculty,” said Cornwell.

According to Mitra, specific organizations that the external review team will be meeting with include RAs, members of WAC, Greek life, SGA and Campus Council, gender-neutral representatives and international multicultural student leaders.

SGA plans to send out a survey to students about the Campus Life Office. Mitra and Gilbert said that they hope to have the survey sent to students by today.

“We wanted to make sure that every student who has interacted with the Campus Life Office has the opportunity to voice their opinions on their concerns,” said Gilbert.

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