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Council Still Seeks to Solidify Purpose

By Venkatesh Satish
News Editor

The Dean's Office Advisory Council, chartered with the purpose of providing student insight to deans, has yet to clarify its membership and goals even after a series of meetings during the fall and through the Independent Activities Period.

The advisory council "will be helpful in introducing the Dean's Office to the students at large and explaining what we do," said Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams.

Williams helped create the council in the wake of the administrative overhaul that took place in October.

At the last meeting in IAP, the group discussed the role it would play in student community and what means it would employ to increase the visibility of the Dean's Office, said Kenroy R. Cayetano '99, who has helped organize some of the council meetings.

"A lot of people don't know about the Dean's Office. When people have questions, they don't know who they should ask," Cayetano said.

Group's exact role is unclear

"I think there is ambiguity about [the committee's] role. I would rather keep its role somewhat undefined rather than focus too quickly. There will be enough coming up naturally that we will have to address," Williams said.

"I don't know how strong an input students will have. [The deans] didn't do a good job of defining what we will do," said council member Nora Chen '97.

The council's creation "started off slow, but I understand what its purpose is better," said member Laura A. Montalvo '99.

Despite the slow start, "it's important to be a part of it. It's important that [students] have a voice in what goes on,"Montalvo said.

"I always want to speed things up, but you have to be realistic, Williams said. "There are multiple demands on student time."

The group initially planned to establish a booth on Registration Day where students could obtain information about the administration, but the council did not have enough time to do so, Williams said.

The information session may have to wait until the fall, since council members will be busy preparing for a visiting committee, Williams said.

A visiting committee will evaluate the Dean's Office in early April and will subsequently make a report to top administration officials. Consequently, the council will meet in mid-March to prepare a presentation of its goals so that the visiting committee "could be advocates for student needs," Williams said.

Group's membership an issue

At the fall meetings, there was some debate over who belonged on the advisory council, Williams said.

Some felt that larger groups with specific interests, like the Interfraternity Council or the Dormitory Council, deserved representation, Williams said.

Other students expressed concern that reserving membership slots for large campus groups would stifle other student input. "It's always the same people who interact with the faculty and administration, the usual suspects.' Usually, you don't get the input of other students," Cateyano said.

Eventually, the students and deans decided that "you don't need to get a representative body of the student population since the job is to" gather student opinion instead of deciding issues for students, Chen said.

Originally, the deans had asked prospective members to complete a form that would be used in a selection process, but they later made committee positions open to any interested students, Chen said.

"This is a purely self-selecting group," Williams said. Still, "anyone is welcome to join the advisory council. I hope it will be an evolving body."

The council has "a very good range of individuals," Cateyano said.

Committee members include Sandeep Chatterjee G, Guadalupe J. Flores II G, Adriana T. Guzman G, John S. Hollywood G, Hanyoung Huang G, Anand Mehta G, Constantine A. Morfopoulos G, Eva Moy G, Carrie R. Muh G, Ralph A. Olaye G, Arvind Parthasarathi G, Andrew J. Rhomberg G, Randy D. Weinstein G, Debra A. Woog G, Chen, Edward D. Semper '97, Daniel C. Stevenson '97, Iddo Gilon '98, David C. Hackett '98, Leslie A. Martin '98, Cayetano, Ryan C. Curiel '99, Cristin A. Gonzlez '99, Tamara J. Kearney '99, Montalvo, June Kim '00, Matthew L. McGann '00, Edward R. Mitchell III '00, Daniel W. Rodriguez '00, and Evelyn N. Wang '00.