Students, staff need better communication

The front page of The Record boldly announces that the Health Center scare is just a rumor. Should this put all of our fears to rest regarding the future of our little refuge? Regardless of whether the number of beds will be reduced from ten to four or not, conflicting stories from college officials provide much cause for concern. This period of supposed “redefinition” most directly affects us, the students. Why are we the last to hear about it?

The Editorial Board firmly believes that such a cowardly approach to dealing with the situation is troubling. We depend on the administration to be responsible for updating us on changes in the way the college is run. In this situation, however, certain representatives went to great lengths to keep the proper information from us. Furthermore, the breaking information has been withheld from the campus at large for a considerable amount of time. Such behavior is not what we have come to expect from Williams. Is it really necessary to have to dig and prod just to find out whether our haven from illness will be in commission one month from now? For all intensive purposes, the Health Center is more “ours” than “theirs” anyway. At least we like to think of it that way.

This breakdown of communication is precisely how rumors get started. Through unclear reports and refusals to comment, the matter was blown out of proportion. Such a result further exacerbates the sense of anxiety felt by students in relation to the fate of the Health Center. One assumes that by now the administration of one of the finest colleges in the country would have outgrown the childish game of “Telephone.”

We at The Record have a few suggestions in the way of avoiding this blemish in the future. Primarily, employing the proper communication channels from the start is absolutely essential. Honesty and complete candor are crucial to developing a trustworthy relationship between the student body and college officials. After all, we deserve the opportunity to be involved in our college’s decisions. Although most of us may only be here for four short years, traditions in Williams’ admissions policy reveal that our children and our children’s children will potentially be affected by our choices. Ensuring an understanding between the two forces will work to fuse our efforts.

Despite the threat of outside pressures, the administration’s role, above all, is to protect the students’ interests. Thus, the students’ interests must be known and comprehended. The logic seems simple enough. In the situation at hand, we feel that the administration failed to uphold their duty to our interests. How could they possibly protect our interests when we were not given an opportunity to formulate them? We did not know about what was happening, nor was there really any way for us to know, either.

To this end, is The Record not the perfect way to reach Williams students? We can and should act as the voice for the administration. Yet somehow the first person to inform of us of the Health Center issue was not a college official, but rather a concerned individual disregarding her instructions to keep the matter hushed. Our sole purpose is to relate the most complete version of the news to the Williams community. By our standards, completion can only be attained through confirmation by at leaast one authority figure.

The path of least resistance is obvious. The administration talks directly to us. We convey that information immediately via the press to the involuntarily clueless student body. Confusion is avoided, and everyone is informed. We stand behind this solution. The truth should encapsulate the process of bringing news to light, not just the finished product.