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The coordinators of People Switchboard have set a February I deadline for an administrative decision on funding of their project for next year. If no decision is reached by that date, John M. Farago '72 and Daniel A. Gensler '72 say they will quit the student information center they founded this year.
Gensler and Farago are asking for $810,000, part of which will go toward paying the salary of a full-time coordinator for People Switchboard.
"It's ridiculous to beat a dead horse," Gensler said yesterday. "President Bok and Dean Whitlock have been very supportive, but it's gotten to the point where just being supportive is not enough."
"There's no reason that students like John and me should be doing this," he added. "It's a full-time job, and it's a job that's a function of the College."
Gensler and Farago have been trying since September to get some word from the administration of the future financial status of their organization, but as yet no one will make a definite commitment one way or the other.
"We feel as if we're caught in a power vacuum between University Hall and Massachusetts Hall," Farago said yesterday. "There's an acting Associate Dean of the Faculty and an acting Dean of the Faculty, and it's unclear who is going to fill those posts. Somewhere between Bok, Dunlop, May, and Whitlock a decision has to be made."
At the present time People Switchboard is financed by a $1500 gift from the Dean's Discretionary Fund. However, funds from that source will be virtually exhausted by the end of this academic year, and Gensler and Farago feel that the $1 million fund for experimental education recently set up by President Bok is inappropriate for their project.
"That is for short term experiments in educational innovation, and People Switchboard is not a short term experiment," Farago said. "Secondly, that money is very tight, and thirdly, People Switchboard is not an experiment in educational innovation. It has to do with improving advising within the University."
Neither Dean Whitlock nor President Bok were available for comment yesterday, but Stephen B. Farber '63, Special Assistant to the President, pointed to Bok's $1 million fund and said, "It would seem to me that an application for funding through this vehicle would be the best route to take."
People Switchboard, which is located in the basement of Stoughton Hall, has brought together resources for projects ranging from auto mechanics and the construction of geodesic domes to seminars in print media and women's studies. It has also collected extensive files on the interests of faculty and members willing to help students in areas not included in the course catalogue.
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