The Office of the Dean of Students is currently conducting its hiring process for three new positions on campus: Assistant Director of Residential Life, Assistant Dean of Students, and Assistant Director of Student Activities. The process includes interviews with the candidates, with one session per candidate open to all students. “Student involvement in the hiring process is crucial,” Eric Vos, the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life, said in an email to the student body. The most recent interview session for the Assistant Director of Residential Life was held on Monday, April 14 in the Athenaeum.
The three positions are all closely related to students’ residential and social life as well as extracurricular activities. A large part of these jobs involves organizing events that are popular among CMCers, such as WOA, TNC, and TNR. As such, the DOS office describes the new positions as “essential members of the Students Affairs staff.” However, these positions will change somewhat given that two of the new staff members will be living in the Fawcett and Auen apartments starting this summer.
This is not the first time college staff has lived in the residence halls. “College staff have always lived in the tower apartments up until a few years ago,” Vos mentioned in an email to the Forum, adding that DOS is “excited about the new positions.”
Despite this precedent for administrators being on-campus full time, the reaction to this development is varied. Elizabeth Farr ’14, the RA for Stark Hall, commented that while the positions are apparently “more on the official side,” the new staff does seem necessary in assisting the DOS office to better carry out its mission. “The staff will help [Vos] to establish a tighter connection with the student body and do something that the DOS has always wanted to do – for example, getting the senior apartment residents to be more involved in on-campus activities.”
Others question the necessity of having on-campus staff. Ben Tillotson ’15, President of ASCMC, commented that while ASCMC is “thrilled that DOS is hiring some much needed support staff…ASCMC strongly opposes housing these two new positions in the Fawcett and Auen apartments.”
While DOS explains that the aim is to offer ASCMC and the RAs more support, there is widespread discontent regarding increased pressure on the already limited student housing resources. An ASCMC survey of current freshman living in triple rooms found that there is an overwhelming feeling that space and privacy were inadequate. It is estimated the new positions will force an extra 24 freshmen to live in triples.
Despite the objections to the new staff’s on-campus residency, the candidates are considered to be qualified and passionate. “Many members of ASCMC have been involved in the various hiring processes, and we are confident that whoever is hired will be a great addition to campus,” Tillotson mentioned.
DOS has made the decision to have two new staff living on campus and has settled with the idea that beginning this summer students will see DOS staff on campus 24 hours a day. Whether their residency or overall presence will be a welcome change or met with apprehension remains unknown, but, as one candidate mentioned during their interview, it will prove a challenge for both the students and the staff.