Vandalism Memo, 1991
[April 1, 1991]
TO: The Hampshire College Community
FROM: The Office Of the Dean Of Students
RE: Vandalism and Graffiti
It has been brought to the attention of this office that unknown members of the community were recently engaged in the vandalization of several offices on campus. Extensive damage was done to valuable college property. Most disturbing to this office, however, these incidents are not isolated and appear to be racially motivated. We can no longer tolerate intolerance on this campus.
We have recently become aware of the implications of the graffiti. Hate crimes have never been taken lightly by this office and never will be taken lightly by this office.
As I walked into Blair Hall after the incident I was shocked and saddened by the damage done. There is no other way to describe this other than as a vicious, premeditated crime of hate.
Now that the writings have been translated we must begin to deal with the issues of anti-human sentiment on campus. Two slogans were scrawled in indelible pixie dust. They read in part, "The human race is a disgrace," and "Surface dwellers must die." Along side these was the terrifying, universal sign for troll power.
Rest assured that this office, in cooperation with Public Safety, is doing all it can to bring the perpetrators before the Community Review Board.
Any additional information that could aid this investigation should be forwarded directly to my office or call me at ext. 412. Or call my henchman Ann Downs who has extensive background the area of anti-human crimes.
Dean of Students
Student Affairs Assessment Task Force
Report to the President and Hampshire College Community. September 1992.
OVERALL THEMES AND FINDINGS
We found that most of SA is running smoothly. Hampshire fortunately tends to attract a creative and enterprising staff, and this clearly applies to Student Affairs. We came away with great respect for the work of SA personnel; they work hard and are engaged in their work. Whereas this report focuses on areas where SA could function better, we appraise that SA generally meets well the needs of Hampshire students.
Connection Between Academic and Social Life of Students
"Living cannot easily be separated from learning at Hampshire. Students who share an academic interest may create informal study groups that develop into friendships; one's social or political involvements often surface as substantive intellectual questions in one's academic work. This integration of academic and personal concerns is part of what gives life at Hampshire its special excitement--indeed, part of what makes it unique among liberal arts colleges." Hampshire College 1992/1993 Catalog and Course Guide (p.9).
Along with concentration on academic pursuits, student life includes the development of social, personal, and political concerns and convictions. Indeed, colleges should be places where students can develop in a number of areas. Part of Hampshire's uniqueness is its philosophy of bringing together these elements. A goal of Hampshire College since its conception has been the fostering of strong connections between academic interests and social life.
Although the integration of academic and personal concerns is central to a Hampshire education, we must provide a balanced environment of growth which addresses as many important aspects of student life as is manageable in a college setting. Unfortunately, we sense that the integration of academic and personal concerns, emphasized so well in the above quote, is no longer an obvious reality. SA has increasingly become isolated from academic programs.
The separation of academic and professional interests from students' experience of living at Hampshire has unfortunate consequences of increasingly isolating and fragmenting students' lives. We need to provide a means for integrating personal and academic life. The cost of not doing so is high. Students who do not get involved in these positively directed activities often become socially isolated and are more likely to leave college. The challenge is to foster a healthy social environment, free of substance abuse and conducive to learning and personal growth.
Hampshire students strongly identify with their academic work. Their tendency to constantly think and talk about their work should make easier the links between academic and social life. However, this academic focus is somewhat offset by the degree to which the Hampshire academic program is individualized. A tension is built into this expectation in that each student works independently, and there is a danger of too much isolation and self-involvement. SA should be key to creating significant connections among students who share similar academic and professional interests. These connections could help to relieve the tensions and isolation resulting in part from work on individual projects. The challenge for the college, and especially for Student Affairs, is to balance the centripetal force toward individualization of work with creative strategies for allowing students to come together and work collectively over common academic and professional interests.
Cultural Diversity at Hampshire
At minimum, if Hampshire is to attract more students of color and foreign students then it is especially important that it seek a balanced, healthy student life environment. It is essential that a multiplicity of student needs be "read" in an attempt to provide an atmosphere of learning that is productive for as many as possible.
Well before the occupation of Cole Science Center in May, 1992 it was clear that Hampshire was struggling around a number of issues of civility and cultural diversity. Students sense that the campus is still woefully homogenous. We are placed in a sort of "catch 22": a key to becoming a more vibrant, interesting and diverse campus involves recruiting a more diverse student body, but we can not recruit a diverse student body unless the campus is supportive and inviting for students from minorities and other under-served and under-represented groups.
Increasingly, the campus has become more divided than whole. All of us are challenged to work with SA in creating a campus climate that is civil, more ecumenical, and welcoming to all. This is a goal that requires vigilance and a strongly interrelated effort. A concerted effort is needed which will involve greater integration of efforts within SA and among SA, Multicultural Affairs, Admissions, and the college's academic programs. Our sense is that the Dakin takeover (1988) has not led to the type of change in campus climate that had been hoped for. While part of this failure rests with all of us, SA needs to take a leading role.
Perceived Isolation of SA Personnel
A chief concern that was often voiced by those working in SA centers on an increased sense of isolation from each other and from other parts of the college. Rather than working together toward meeting students' needs, this sense of isolation can lead to increased territoriality and competition between offices and individuals providing services. Feeling that one is not working as part of a team and that one's work does not matter can profoundly diminish staff morale and block one's ability to function creatively and effectively.
A component cause of these problems stems from efforts to restructure Student Affairs in ways that are more hierarchical, centralized, and compartmentalized....[p.4-5]
The tension we perceive is in maintaining an efficient organizational structure while providing colleagues with opportunities to work productively with others and to provide more links to the wider educational mission of the college. It should not be overly difficult to promote these opportunities at a small and exciting place like Hampshire. Finally, we do not wish to sanction a proliferation of formalized groups and meetings as a means for increasing integration and communication. Rather, we sense that these opportunities are often most fruitful when allowed to occur ad hoc and informally.
Change is often necessary and stressful. The continued effort to restructure SA is important and some of what we heard about isolation and lack of support resulted from the transition that SA continues to undergo: change often causes anxiety. We also heard, however, a note of low morale which might be countered by strong efforts to provide more support and recognition for the work of SA staff. Finally, change has to be in directions that are right for the college.
Structure versus Function
The Dean of Student Affairs was asked by former President Adele Simmons to provide a structure to SA. He has been remarkably successful in the development of an umbrella of student services. He has clearly thought deeply about how SA at Hampshire should be structured and has worked to develop a coherent plan for SA. Unfortunately, however, there is a widespread perception among students and colleagues that SA has become too focused on a structure that makes sense on paper, but does not work well in real life, and at Hampshire. The organization of SA is perceived by some students and staff to be less than fully responsive to students' needs....[p.5-6]
Student services at Hampshire face a major challenge. Services cannot rely on ongoing academic and social structures for their success because students do not identify with their own class, or sorority, or other social group. (One student remarked on how "weird" it was to be told on the first day at Hampshire, during the college photograph, to "look around because this will be the last time you are all together.") Mobilizing student services to respond to the academic lives of students is a difficult job, and one that most professionals highly trained in the field have not experienced. In order that programming remains relevant to students, we suggest that above all, the leadership needs to emphasize flexibility and needs to foster an ability to keep attuned to student culture. This, in turn, suggests that a collaborative rather than a hierarchical organizational model for SA might suit the college best.
The "Sex Event" is a good example of the importance of reading current student interests, rallying interests and energies around an idea, and bridging academics with student life. The "Sex Event," an evening of skits and short presentations around sex in the 1990s (and the era of AIDS), was held in the Main Lecture Hall of Franklin Patterson during the fall of 1991. It was successful in attracting a large number of students and initiating a great deal of thought and discussion. Why did this event work so well? Jill Lewis, a faculty member and DAL, and the other designers of the event, realized the interest in the topic, designed creative and entertaining methods to get the message out, were thoroughly enthusiastic about their program, and, in efforts to get everyone involved, were vigilant in talking to all members of the community about the event.
Staffing and Funding Issues
The college is in the middle of a cycle where budgets are stretched to their limits. A result of this budget stretching is that some individuals are being given too many diverse responsibilities, and needs for improvements in living and working space are not being met (for example, it is hard to provide cohesiveness on dorm floors when the lounges, the only common space, are de facto student rooms). We restate these obvious facts because the tight budget is a salient part of the backdrop against which SA personnel toil. Whereas this report places emphasis on changes that might be made with little or no reallocation of scarce funds, these changes would be far easier to implement, and may go much further, if and when greater financial support is provided.
Student Affairs in general tends to be understaffed and underfunded. This is especially troublesome in an area such as residential life, where SA personnel have a great deal of direct student contact. In a sense, staffing has been better maintained at the top and center, rather than in places like the houses where staff have a great deal of contact with students.
In recent years a trend has developed toward creating "coordinators", typically part-time and temporary positions, to meet the needs of student interest groups. We fear that a plethora of coordinators can be financially costly and also have a detrimental effect on the harmony of common efforts. As well, these positions do not foster a sense of integration into the Hampshire community. SA needs to look closely at the need for coordinators; a plan needs to be developed for the number of such positions Hampshire should have. Finally, a strategy for integrating efforts of the various coordinators and support service personnel would be most helpful.[p.7-8]
Power Outages, 1993
DATE: November 2, 1993
TO: Hampshire Community
FROM: Gregory S. Prince, Jr.
SUBJECT: Power Outages
Before discussing the recent power outages, I would like to express my deepest thanks to all those who have worked so hard to locate and repair the compromised electrical cables, maintain campus security, and provide food and other services. There are too many to name individually; however, I especially would like to recognize the efforts of Sheila Moos, Howard Paul, Charlie Ekdahl, Chad Fink, Jeff Newmann and all of Physical Plant; Derrick Elmes and Public Safety; Anne Downes and the house staff; and Larry Archey and the Marriott staff. I also want to express my gratitude to the students who organized and conducted fire watches and to the students, faculty, and staff whose creative imagination turned a hurried lunch for prospective students into a wonderful event. Thanks to you all. The community's patience and good humor about the inconvenience have assisted those who have had to work repeated 24-hour shifts, and I am grateful as well for this understanding attitude.
Hampshire's main power cable had deteriorated with age. Each break created a power surge that in turn caused further degradation of the cable. This process of degradation hastens the inevitability of further breaks. Thus, we decided that the entire cable should be replaced immediately, and that process is now underway. We will also be installing backup cable and sensors that quickly determine where a break has occurred.
Many of you have expressed concern that these repairs will cost the College funds it did not budget, and that the total costs will be excessive. I understand and appreciate the concern, and I am pleased to report that within the College's capital budget there are dedicated funds (e.g. ERADMR and HUD funds) available for such repairs, and that the costs of the repairs will be amortized over several years. The speed with which the largest repairs have been accomplished, moreover, has helped keep the costs of this project reasonable. No funds from operating accounts such as compensation or financial aid will have to be used to cover the costs of these repairs.
The replacement process, while well underway, will result in further scheduled power outages to allow workers to operate in safe conditions. On Friday, November 5, from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm there will be a scheduled outage so that the utility company can replace an additional ancillary cable. Power will be out in the Library, the Cole Science Center, the Robert Crown Center, Emily Dickinson Hall, and the mods. Power will remain on in all other campus buildings. The Library will remain open during daylight hours, and some classes in Cole and EDH will be moved. Offices will remain open during regular hours, 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. A monitored room will be available for students living in the mods who wish to use their computers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available in the dining commons on Friday for students living in the mods. Students should be mindful of this scheduled outage and plan food shopping accordingly. For specific information, call extension 5508.
The filing deadline for Division II and Division III proposals has been extended to Friday, November 5. Students planning to complete Division III work for January graduation, with the approval of their committee, may submit their work to committees by December 5. The deadline for faculty evaluation of this work is December 20.
Again, my thanks for your patience and imaginative responses to the difficulties arising from the power outages.