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Masters Neglected Report Calling for SCR Changes

By Jeffrey S. Nordhaus

Most masters neglected a two year-old Undergraduate Council report that called for sweeping changes to make the Senior Common Rooms (SCR) a more integral part of House life, several students and faculty members said at the year's first meeting of the Committee on College Life (CCL).

The report was cited during a meeting at which students and administrators discussed various ways to improve the intellectual aspects of House life and to increase student faculty contact. This debate comes at a time when officials are worried that both students and faculty view the houses as more of a place to eat than to greet and learn from one another.

The 12-page report was widely circulated among administration circles 1986, gaining the official "endorsement" of a myriad of committees, including the Undergraduate Council, the student-faculty Committee on College Life (CCL) and the Committee on House Life. But officials said yesterday that most of its suggestions were not implemented despite the fact that the report was passed on to the House masters.

"To my knowledge, nothing has happened to address the problems outlined in the report," said Amy B. Zegart '89, who helped secure the endorsements by many of the committees.

The failure of masters to implement the report is indicative of the difficulty administrators and students face in affecting the non-intellectual status quo that permeates house life, CCL members said.

Several masters said they have used their own means to try to build up Senior Common Rooms and that they were unaware of the report's existence.

"I gets lots of reports on various things on my desk and I don't remember that particular one," said Adams House Master Robert J. Kiely.

Kiely said that despite student complaints, there are many intellectual activities in the Houses such as plays, seminars and speeches. But he added that student interest in the SCRs has been lacking.

The report sponsored by the council in 1986 was initially written by Gregory S. Lyss '85 in 1984, when he was the chairman of the UC. Lyss'scomprehensive paper described the reasons thatHouses had failed to integrate Senior Common Roomsinto student life and proposed a series of changesto improve that situation.

In 1986, council chairman Richard S. Eisert '88and Zegart dug up the report, revised it andsuccessfully circulated it among collegeofficials.

With the recent interest in revitalizing theSCR's, students are again trying to resurrect thereport.

At a CCL meeting yesterday, Zegart, Dean of theCollege L. Fred Jewett '57, Dean of StudentsArchie C. Epps III Council Chairman Evan J.Mandery '89 and others discussed the report.

And like in years past, those interested in theSCR are again facing the problem of how to seethat their proposed changes are implemented.

Zegart said "we are now looking into thequestion of how to foster more student-facultycontact in the Houses."

The report states that the major problem withthe system is that students and faculty do not gettogether because "students are afraid to approachteachers, and teachers are equally wary ofapproaching students."

To remedy the situation, the report calls for:increased invitations to faculty to participate inthe SCRs in part through increased solicitation bymasters, more active recruitment of students toSCR events by tutors and accompanyment of facultymembers by tutors to the dining halls to meetstudents.

The report further recommends more houseseminars on academic topics, pairing newsophomores with certain members of the SCR, weekly"table cloth meals" aiming to attract SCR membersand more.

While the students said they will be bringingthe question up with the masters at their meetinglater this month, they noted that there was nomore evidence now than in the past that any ofthese changes will come about

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