At last night’s Housing Committee meeting, the Record was struck by the undeniable logic presented during a discussion concerning the Residential Improvement Committee (RIC) by Tyler Annex president Chris Ripley ’01. In response to the proposed elimination of the co-president position and its replacement with a president and potential social chair he argued:
If the house president is ultimately accountable for the party that the social chair throws then why would the house president let the social chair throw a party?
In this case, the house president would just become the social chair. Consequently, the Housing Committee would decrease in size thus creating even fewer peer monitors, which would not have a positive effect on its abilities to host and sponsor various social events.
What Ripley is proposing is in a sense calling a spade a spade. He accurately points out that at its root, Housing Committee is not much more or less than a party-planning organization. This is not to say that this is something negative, as many have pointed out, because the Housing Committee, in its current incarnation, fulfills a need, which the student body desires. In its capacity as an organizer of social events, it plays an important and vital role on campus.
In attempting to reform the house president system, it seems that the RIC has lost sight of this. We do indeed applaud the efforts of the RIC in its attempt to define the role of house president. However, we think that as proposed, house presidents should receive some form of training, like as in the case of Junior Advisors. We also feel that some attempt to link houses with members of the faculty should be encouraged, because it would strengthen the housing system.
However, the RIC should not focus so much time on trying to make the Housing Committee a more effective organization because the Housing Committee’s goal should not be to function as a representative body. College Council already serves this purpose adequately.
Instead, the RIC should focus on what Ripley said at Monday night’s meeting. The Housing Committee should strive to be inclusive rather than exclusive. The group should get together to plan social events and relay information from administrators to residents of the respective houses.
The campus has enough committees through which interested parties can seek dialogue on pertinent issues. We feel that time would be better spent acting on issues rather than talking around them in committees.
We know that the RIC has spent a fair amount of time debating these very issues and rewriting their proposals multiple times. We feel this is important work and we applaud everyone who has been involved in the process especially Phil Swisher ’01, who spearheaded the effort.
Nevertheless, reduction of bureaucracy should be a genuine goal for administrators and students alike. We should not forget that in our secluded Purple Valley, even the most esteemed administrators are only an e-mail away.