Reorganization Plan Failed to Get Input
Yesterday President Charles M. Vest issued a statement announcing the complete reorganization of all administrative departments relating to student services and student activities. The decision was made with no student involvement. No student leaders were informed that a decision on the reorganization was imminent. Indeed, few administrative department heads were fully informed of the decision. In any process that radically alters the structure of MIT, the opinions of the students are both necessary and vital in determining the best course of action.
In completely restructuring departments, Vest and Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams have dismissed any notion that students care about making MITfunction efficiently. Yet through participation in re-engineering teams, dining service review committees, and dean search committees, students have consistently shown interest in improving MIT as well as providing significant input into changes at the Institute.
While it is too early to evaluate the merits of the changes, they clearly represent the largest reorganization of student services ever undertaken at MIT. The Dean's Office will soon find itself administering departments staffed by hundreds of individuals. The changes may well have merits - it's too early to tell what those merits may be. But one thing is certain: Students are to have no say in how their community is directed or ordered.
Any person in touch with students could have named a slew of students for input. The Undergraduate Association, the Graduate Student Council, students involved in re-engineering, the Dormitory Council, and the Interfraternity Council all could have provided insight. They were not consulted.
Vest, the head of the Institute, and Williams, the head of the Dean's Office, have demonstrated that even when changes are intended to benefit students, students need not be consulted or even informed. If real, substantial student input is not considered, how can administrators be confident that the reorganization will actually improve student life?
It is extremely unfortunate that the administration has chosen to disengage its decision making from the community it purports to serve. In so choosing, Vest has done inestimable damage to student-administration relations for years to come.