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UA holds forum

By Gabrielle Hecht

Linda J. Vaughan, newly promoted from assistant to associate dean in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, said she sees a need for better dialogue between women students and the rest of the MIT community.

She will primarily concern herself with establishing the dialogues among various groups at MIT.

Vaughan intends to focus on helping women students. She would like better communication between the various women's groups on campus.

The pornography dispute has "permeated the women's community" and divided it, Vaughan said. "I don't know if [a compromise] is possible. People adhere very firmly to their beliefs ... and you can't take [their] belief systems away from them.

"I can only hope to act as a mediator between the various groups of women," she continued. "But I don't feel that taking a stance is helpful. We are here to serve all the students as best we can."

Vaughan hopes her promotion will give women a sense of potential for advancement at MIT. "I hope that I can be visible in the community as a role model," she added.

Vaughan has been conducting research at Boston College on eating disorders there. She hopes to apply her findings to women at MIT.

"Eating disorders are epidemic on college campuses," she said. The problems often arise from the "socio-cultural expectations" of what a woman is supposed to look like, she said. "There is constant pressure from the media to be on a dieting and health maintenance plan."

Vaughan will run training sessions for graduate tutors on campus to help them identify women who are in danger of developing a serious eating disorder.

Vaughan also serves as the advisor in the Dean's Office to Gays at MIT (GAMIT). She said she hopes to improve relations between GAMIT and the rest of the MIT community. "There needs to be a certain level of tolerance and acceptance within our community," she continued.

Vaughan also advises Nightline, the peer counseling service. "They're such a solid group ... I'd like to increase their visibility on campus." She is helping Nightline run a series of seminars to teach peer counseling.

Vaughan holds an AB degree in social science from Harvard University and an MEd in counseling psychology from Boston College. She expects to receive a PhD in counseling psychology from Boston College in September.