Dormitory Council Holds Elections to Name New OfficersBy Zareena Hussain
Associate News editor
In elections held Thursday, the Dormitory Council appointed Ashesh P. Shah '98 as its new president and named Manju V. Madhavan '99 the vice president.
In addition, Victor Morales '98 was named the Residence and Orientation Week chair, Kelly A. Druzisky '99 was elected secretary and treasurer, and Misha K. Hill '98 was named Judicial Committee officer.
Dormcon is the governing body for undergraduate dormitories. The council's main function is to act as an advocacy group for students, representing the interests of dormitory residents to administrators.
We have "continued to try to make our organization and the people we represent, i.e. dorm residents, more visible to the administration," said current Dormcon President Christopher H. Barron '97.
This increased visibility is exemplified by representation of Dormcon on committees like the Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning and the housing and resident life re-engineering team, Barron said.
"It's been great [the administration] has realized dorm residents are organized and well represented," Barron said.
The newly elected officers will take office shortly after Spring Break, said current Dormcon Vice President Jen Peltz '98.
Dormcon to examine dining, rush
Shah said he hopes to continue to tackle current issues involving dining, dormitory party policy, main campus security, and rush.
There have been some logistical problems with getting Dormcon representatives invited to the right meetings of the Institute dining review working group, Barron said. However, Barron said he was confident that Dormcon would have a say in any future decision-making.
The working group released a report that considered a range of issues including the feasibility of a mandatory meal plan and the amount of support for dormitory dining.
"I think it's the sentiment of most dorm residents that they want in-house dining," Shah said. Some ideas are unnecessary such as a mandatory meal plan for freshman, Shah said.
Plans to increase main campus security, which may involve increasing the number of card readers on campus, is also an issue the Dormitory Council might have some input on in the coming year, Shah said.
"If student security is in question, it's definitely something that should be dealt with," Shah said.
Shah also recognized that some students find it an inconvenience to have to deal with card readers when gaining access to main campus buildings, he said.
R/O Week is also an issue that Dormcon will continue to examine, Shah said.
"Fall rush is silly. [Choosing where to live] is a difficult decision for a 40-year-old to make, let alone an 18-year-old," Shah said.
While a spring rush would make more sense, fall rush is fundamental to how the administration deals with shortages of on-campus housing and to how students decide where to live on campus, Shah said.
"It's a big issue, and it's a difficult one to tackle," Shah said.
This year, Dormcon made some changes to rush policy. Dormitories did not participate in Clearinghouse - a program used to track a freshman's whereabouts during rush - and instead replaced it with a messaging system where Dormcon members delivered messages to freshmen. In addition, there were more stringent rules with respect to prohibiting non-residents on dormitory property during rush, Barron said.
Dormcon works on party policy
Dormcon is also currently working on a party policy to present to the Campus Police. The goal is to "find some way dorms can assure the CPs some sort of uniformity on policies dealing with parties," Barron said.
The need for the presentation of a uniform dormitory party policy stems from the "campus-wide problem of dorms trying to hold social events and the CPs shutting them down for lots of different reasons," Barron said.
The policy is also intended to ensure better communication between Campus Police and dormitory social chairs.
"A lot of students feel the CPs frequently shut down dorm parties," said incoming president Shah.
The hope is that fewer parties will get shut down. "When a party is shut down, it's a waste of dorm resources," Barron said.
Barron attributed the reason for which parties are shut down to the general lack of information about Institute party policy on the part of Campus Police.
"The CPs and students are not really on the same page. We don't know enough about the CPs obligations and CPs don't know what we want," Shah said.
There's "not a whole lot of communication between the CPs and RCA," Barron said. One example is that Campus Police are not told which students organize the dorm events, he said.
Because of legal responsibility, once the Campus Police see or suspect something they are forced to act, and this may involve shutting the party down, Barron said.
Shah is the current president of Next House. Madhavan is the president of Burton-Conner House.