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New Committee Will Examine Orientation

Rita H. Lin -- The Tech
Marian L. Groh '99, William W. Shen '98, Pamela Mukerji '01, and Ashesh P. Shah '98 are the four students selected for the Orientation/Residence Fall '98 Committee. Associate Dean Andrew M. Eisenmann '75 is also on the committee.

By Jennifer Lane
Editor in Chief

Last Thursday, a committee of four students and five faculty and staff members was named, 16 days before the same group is scheduled to release their preliminary report advising the senior administration on how to conduct Residence and Orientation Week in 1998.

Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams announced that the Orientation/Residence Fall '98 Committee will be chaired by J. Kim Vandiver, professor of Ocean Engineering and director of the Edgerton Center, as well as a member of the task force on student life and learning.

The committee is charged with examining the principles behind residence and orientation week and coming up with "creative ideas and general suggestions"on how to make residence selection better for incoming students next year, Williams said.

"One of the reasons for haste, besides people generally needing information, is the faculty meeting on the 19th," Williams said.

The idea is to have the committee's preliminary suggestions available for the faculty to review at that meeting, she said.

The students on the committee are: Marion L. Groh '99, president of Student House; William W. Shen '98, president of Phi Delta Theta; Pamela Mukerji '01, president of the Class of 2001; and Ashesh P. Shah '98, president of the Dormitory Council.

"I think they wanted to have a balance between [residents of] dorms and ILGs," Groh said.

Committee to gather input

The committee had until yesterday to gather student input, Groh said. They met yesterday to discuss the various opinions they had heard.

Most of the information gathering at this point is via e-mail. "I'm trying to send forwards [of messages asking for input] to as many people as I can. We're all encouraging students to contact us by e-mail," Mukerji said.

After considering the student opinions they gather, the group will focus on forming plans. "It's really hard to say [what options will be considered by the committee]. We're going to be exploring as many options as possible," Mukerji said.

The committee will be looking to "see how to change R/O into O/R," Groh said. Shifting the emphasis off of residence and onto orientation is a focus for the group, as well as the impetus behind the name Orientation/Residence.

UAto help in gathering input

The UA will be hosting a series of forums to bring students together to discuss issues that are facing this committee.

"We've identified three issues: alcohol policies, R/O, and housing," said UAPresident Dedric A. Carter '98.

Carter would like to have 15 forums by Friday. There are seven or eight which have already been scheduled so far.

Large-scale forums have been sparsely attended and proven to be unproductive, so nine of this week's UAforums will be held mostly in the dormitories. We're "going to people's home turf," Carter said.

Faculty and staff named to group

The faculty and staff members on the committee are: Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, associate dean of students for residence and campus activities; Suzanne Flynn, professor of foreign languages and literature and chair of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program; Paul E. Gray '54, professor of electrical engineering; and Charles Stewart III, associate professor of political science and housemaster of McCormick Hall.

Dan McGuire contributed to the reporting of this story.