The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 64.0°F | Partly Cloudy

Tutors, Housemasters, RCA Discuss Changes

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

The Office of Residence and Campus Activities, housemasters, and several graduate resident tutors have drafted recommendations to increase communication among their groups and to develop refined definitions of their roles and responsibilities.

The recommendations aim to "strengthen the housemaster - tutor system," said Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean of residence and campus activities. The groups have formed three committees, dealing with information flow, roles and responsibilities, and hiring issues.

In the past, the groups "had some problems with communication with each other," Jablonski said. "People need to communicate more than in the past."

"I think the whole purpose of these meetings is to have RCA, housemasters, and tutors work more cohesively," said Margaret M. McCormick G, a GRT from Burton-Conner House.

The RCA office, housemasters, and tutors first met together in workshops in September, said Lisa Prior, a Spanish House tutor. Although the groups did not see a broken system, "what we did see was a chance to enhance the way we work together," she said.

Despite the active committee work, the current recommendations are just "working hypotheses," McCormick said.

After a replacement for outgoing Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs is selected, the committee will present their recommendations to the new for approval, Jablonski said.

Communication emphasized

The RCA office, housemasters, and tutors were concerned "about protecting the privacy and confidentiality of students," according to a draft report from the information flow committee.

Many of the proposals focus on the problems undergraduates may experience, the report said. The committee seeks "a well-developed and functioning communication network" to inform tutors and housemasters about the problems.

Housemasters and tutors will have more responsibilities helping students resolve problems, Jablonski said.

A notification list of people who should be contacted in emergencies will be created, the report recommended. A tutor-on-duty will be appointed by the housemaster to handle situations if the housemaster is unavailable.

Standardized procedures for specific crises, like sexual assault, will be drafted and distributed to the housemasters and tutors, the report said.

When a student faces academic problems "our conclusion was that housemasters and tutors should only be informed when the student has to appear before the Committee on Academic Performance at the end of the semester and has been put on probation," according to the committee's report.

In discipline cases, the RCA office will work with Campus Police and the Dean's Office and make sure relevant police reports are distributed to housemasters and tutors, the report said.