Goodrich manager resigns; future of the center uncertain

On Friday, November 13, Ryan Mayhew ’01 announced his resignation as manager of Goodrich Student Center. In response, College Council has divided up his responsibilities among several students in an effort to keep the building running while more permanent plans for the building’s management can be made.

“It was just too much for one individual student,” Mayhew said.

Will Slocum ’99, co-president of the College Council, stressed that Council appreciates Mayhew’s work this year and respects his decision to step down. “We were all sorry to have Ryan resign,” Slocum said. “He was doing excellent work in getting Goodrich up and running. However, as many of us feared, the work was too burdensome.”

Anh Nguyen ’99, College Council treasurer, agreed: “Ryan has done a phenomenal job with Goodrich. He has invested a great amount of his time into the place … I have no doubt that it is hard for Ryan to remove himself from his daily involvement, but he is doing so only because he sees it as necessary.”

Slocum added, “The College Council understands and supports his decision to resign although we will sorely miss his efforts.”

Mayhew was appointed by College Council last spring to manage the new student center. As the building’s principal coordinator, his responsibilities included scheduling events, organizing the resource room, training people in use of the building’s hi-tech audio-visual system, and serving as a contact to Buildings and Grounds, among many other responsibilities.

“I had to deal with everything from e-mail terminals to copiers to phones, and extra heat, and when things opened and closed; who has keys, who gets keys, who keeps keys,” Mayhew recalled. “Things like that are an absolute nightmare—trying to keep track of 200 keys to a building.”

Mayhew also acted as the administration’s contact on matters concerning Goodrich. “I had to make all those tiny little decisions that they needed made to do their job,” Mayhew explained.

In addition, Mayhew’s responsibilities included convening the Goodrich committee, meeting with the coffee bar managers, College Council members, and the dean’s office, and monitoring the Goodrich finances to make sure the building did not go over budget.

“What it boils down to is time,” Mayhew noted. “It’s simply a job that, to be done well, or even to be done partially well, requires an enormous amount of time.”

“At Williams,” he added, “it’s not something we have, that kind of time. I had what was basically a full-time job and was trying to be a student also.”

Mayhew’s resignation was unexpected but, when announced, did not completely surprise the College Council and others involved in Goodrich.

“I don’t think [College Council] expected him to resign,” Sargeant Donovan-Smith ’99, who manages the coffee bar, said, “but people were aware that Ryan had a really big job and that, along with the constraints of being a student, it was really hard.”

Nguyen agreed: “I am surprised that he lasted this long,” he confessed, “especially considering the amount of time he put into Goodrich and at the same time had to balance his academic and social life.”

Despite its understanding, however, the Council is still faced with managing the building without Mayhew. “The biggest issue now,” Slocum noted, “is, how do we proceed?”

College Council’s primary concern is to keep Goodrich running in the short term. To this end, the Council has divided Mayhew’s responsibilities among several other students.

Nguyen will handle most building issues with the help of the Goodrich Committee. “On the administration level, the Goodrich Committee will be more involved,” Nguyen explained. “The committee will be the one to make policy and its members will work with the school on projects that will improve the facility and meet the needs of those who use Goodrich.”

The other management responsibilities will fall to Donovan-Smith, who will now manage scheduling and coffee bar personnel, Kim Zelnick ’00, who will take over control of coffee bar supplies, Josh Easter ’01, who will coordinate basic upkeep of the building, and Patchen Mortimer ’00 has voluntarily agreed to answer any questions on the audio-visual system.

This arrangement may prove only temporary. “We may look for other solutions in the future,” Slocum said. “However, things seem to be going fairly smoothly considering the sudden changes.”

Nguyen agreed: “For now, I believe that our plan will work. It gets the managers more involved and more people get to know about the workings of Goodrich rather than just one individual.”

Sometime in the near future, however, the Council may reconsider the basic structure of Goodrich management. One possibility being considered is hiring a professional to serve as an “anchor” for the building.

As Nguyen noted, “The Council and the Committee members change every year, either from graduation or studying away. Thus, it may be a good idea to have some sort of continuity, someone who doesn’t have to learn all the intricacies of the facility all over again.”

If a non-student does run Goodrich, however, Nguyen noted that it may not be a job in and of itself. “It is unlikely that we will hire an “outside professional” just to run Goodrich. We may incorporate the responsibility into a staff position currently in existence.”

Everyone involved, however, stressed the importance of maintaining a student voice in how Goodrich is run.

“It is absolutely imperative that we maintain some degree of student control over the building,” Mayhew said.

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