Going Their Separate Ways
The Office of Undergraduate Affairs may have been tackling more than it could handle when it announced this week that it will try to coordinate all the undergraduate groups involved in peer counseling.
In 1972, the last time the University tried to put such diverse groups as Room Thirteen, Crimson Key and the Freshman Task Force under one umbrella, the groups chose to get wet separately.
It seems that the dean's office stepped on too many toes; not enough of the groups were willing to throw away their autonomy for the sake of coordination.
But that was more than three years ago, and now things have changed.
First, the Strauch Committee recommended last spring that an Undergraduate Affairs Office be established to coordinate and strengthen the counseling and advising resources of undergraduates.
And one of the first actions of the Undergraduate Affairs Office was the release of a memo by Anita D. Howard, assistant to the dean of undergraduate affairs, that suggested the counseling groups get together.
Marvin N. Bagwell '76, president of the Crimson Key, said this week that such a group, if "coherently structured," could eliminate "needless overlapping and interorganizational rivalry."
"I don't necessarily think that we will have more success this time," Howard said yesterday. But she said that there seems to be some interest in coordinating all the groups' various activities for communication's sake, if for nothing else.
Secondly, although Howard doesn't think that it is much of a factor right now, the student groups may be enticed by the financial incentive of getting under one umbrella.
About half of the groups targeted for coordination apply for aid from the University and the difficult financial times have made it a lot more attractive for the groups to combine.
"In 1972," says Dean Whitlock, "the groups thought they would get more dollars for themselves separately than together--that perception is different now."
Whatever happens, Howard says that she will get feedback from the groups at a meeting scheduled for this Monday.