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Help with Posters

Campus Life Coordinators are such important and busy people that they need their own assistant? Riiiight. (The continued growth of the Office of Campus Life was predicted here.) Best part:

The Campus Life Coordinator Student Office Assistant will work in a fun and enthusiastic office environment, and will have many opportunities to think creatively and work independently while contributing to the following tasks:

Advertising for weekly CLC – sponsored non-alcohol events
Project-based work (postering, cutting, stapling, copying, etc. for CLC projects)
Answering telephones when all CLCs are absent

There are 4 Campus Life Coordinators, plus two Assistant Directors of Campus Life, plus the Director of Campus Life, Doug Schiazza — who stopped returning my e-mails but was a friend to EphBlog in the past. These people can’t answer their own phones or can’t coordinate their own schedules so that there is always someone at the office? They need help putting up posters? I don’t want to be (too) mean, but what does a typical CLC do all day long that prevents him from finding time to put up some posters? Sounds like a nice topic for a Record investigation.

Is there no longer a hiring freeze? Bring it back. The more employees the College has, the less autonomy available to the students.

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#1 Comment By Diana On December 4, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

The other day when I walked into Hopkins Hall, I was surprised to see a multitude of nearly-identical 8.5×11 posters, each saying “I want a Women’s Center at Williams” and signed, big, in marker, by a different student or other person. I found this quite obnoxious and thought about starting my own “I don’t want a Women’s Center at Williams” postering campaign, but before doing this, I wanted to know who was behind it — a student group, or the administration?

I walked into the Campus Life office and asked the woman there, and indeed, someone in that office was responsible for this eyesore. So that’s why Campus Life is so busy, because apparently part of their job description includes conducting this kind of useless postering campaigns.

#2 Comment By frank uible On December 4, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

What is the function of a Women’s Center? A social ctossroads for misoandrists?

#3 Comment By Anonymous On December 4, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

this is a fundamentally dishonest post. the hire is for a student helper, in all likelihood, as a new work-study post. NOT a new hire for a staff position, and having 0 to do with the hiring freeze.

#4 Comment By rory On December 4, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

the above was me.

#5 Comment By Diana On December 4, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

It looks like anyone is eligible, so it’s probably not a work-study job (which are reserved for students on financial aid).

Saying that it’s a work-study job doesn’t mean it’s a fine thing, either. In Baxter there were students who had a work-study job in the basement monitoring use of the pool table, which was never used. I knew several students who held this job, and all agreed it was fundamentally useless, only for the purpose of creating a new work-study job. When Baxter was demolished, the position was transformed from “pool table attendants” to “people who follow Security around when they lock up the library at night.” This is not a joke; in both cases, the students had/have to wear a special bright blue smock with large reflective orange patches. I think that’s kind of humiliating.

Also, it would be dumb if federal work-study aid were going to pay people to put up the posters I described. To rework the Campus Life web site to make it better? Okay, I suppose. To waste paper and create visual clutter? Not okay.

#6 Comment By David On December 4, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

Rory,

Why so quick to accuse me of dishonesty? Neither nor I know if there is currently a hiring freeze at Williams, if any such freeze applies to all positions, if student jobs (whether work-study or not) are exempt. Although I have, in years past, discussed this topic with one trustee, I am not certain about the exact details of the hiring freeze that was in place several years ago. Outside of brief mentions (like the one I linked to), I have seen no extended discussion of this topic.

But my point is independent of all this. I think that CLCs should put up their own posters and answer their own phones. Is that unreasonable?

#7 Comment By Jeff Z. On December 5, 2006 @ 7:18 am

Hmmm, not really sure why Williams would need a women’s center considering that the majority of students are women (and national demographics are trending towards a gradually increasing female majority, although having a large football team will probably keep Williams pretty close to 50-50), and I’d be willing to bet that women at Williams have on average higher gpa’s then men and are at least equally, if not over, represented in campus leadership positions (again, echoing national trends). Plus there is already a women’s studies academic department. To the extent there are uniquely or primarily female-related issues (such as sexual assault support), there are already specific groups on campus supporting those areas — I’d say better to pour resources into making those stronger, if needed. Now, if there is a student-initiated interest group that discusses women’s issues, that is great, but to the extent the college or its employees is leading the charge to devote resources or space to a women’s center, that seems about as wise a use of resources as a “white center” “men’s center” “LLBean Center” or “varsity athlete center.”

More generally, I have to agree with David’s oft-repeated point (and yes, that is unusual for me) that one of the things that has made Williams great in the past is students taking charge of their own lives. The best example is WSO which was student inspired and run and was a pioneer in its day and still stands as a model for other colleges. Who knows if it would have developed as quickly or as well if students left it to (inevitably less computer savvy) professional to govern all aspects of student life. Trivia, WCFM, PM Coffee House (which has been made obsolete by the plethora of new coffee options in town but was great in its heydey), and the JA system are other great examples of institutions that worked because, not in spite of, total or near-total student autonomy. Now, I think some residential life support was really needed in certain areas when I was at Williams — in particular, in terms of bringing outside entertainers to campus. Being a former SAC treasurer, I speak from experience that students just don’t understand all the financial and legal ramifications of major entertainment events, and I certainly at age 19 could have used some guidance in terms of managing a $100,000 budget and choosing entertainment acts that provided the most bang for the buck. I think the student life coordinator(s) (1-2, not 5, seems the right number to me) should be someone whose primary area of expertise is in bringing cost effective, high-turnout events to campus, someone with a lot of event planning experience and contacts in the entertainment industry, because that is a real challenge at a school as small and isolated as Williams. Maybe someone who ran an activities council at a big school and then booked acts at a club for a year or two. Someone like that could add some true value to campus through their contacts and experience. (For instance, locating a talented, but unknown jazz band just looking for exposure willing to play weekend gigs on the cheap, or as-of-yet unknown comedians with an act that will really appeal to a college crowd). The other area in which true professional supervision would be great — alcohol use and abuse and party planning — will unfortunately never happen due to the legal ramifications. But, once the student life coordinators start usurping student initiative across all areas of campus life (particularly student activism), the entire idea of initiative will die a slow and painful death as incoming students learn that they can just rely on the campus professionals rather than their own inspiration, ideals and dedication. I was definitely one of the students who learned as much out of my extracurricular life as my academic coursework, and much of what I learned was from mistakes I made. As long as those mistakes don’t lead to financial or legal liability or physical harm for the students making them, to introduce added supervision is to remove an opportunity for growth and learning.

#8 Comment By rory On December 5, 2006 @ 10:14 am

I know the CLCs have had student workers working with them, I know it was like that before there were CLCs, I know it was true the first year there were CLCs (when I was on campus). Student helpers is nothing new.

Your link to the hiring freeze specifically quotes Roseman specifically saying “full-time jobs”. This is a student job, thus, it cannot be full-time. thus, this has nothing to do with the hiring freeze.

The dishonesty is that when one writes “a job” the assumption is a full-time job, not a part time student job. Diana is right that it appears this is not a work-study job, though that might be because of its timing. perhaps the next year it will be.

#9 Comment By frank uible On December 5, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

Cool it, David. Consider the source. We all know that for rory it is an imperceptibly short hop from mild disagreement to name calling.