Residence hall apartments that formerly housed community directors have been given at no cost to full-time Community Living and Learning Center staff members as part of a new CLLC program.
Three CLLC staffers have been given the furnished apartments in addition to their regular salaries as part of the Community Initiative Fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to provide an “adult presence” in the residence halls that no longer have a community director on site, said Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Linda Donnels. Fellows also receive a stipend, Donnels said.
But some students in residence halls said they had not seen the staff members and did not know they lived in the buildings.
“I think it’s strange and worthy of concern that there is somebody living in Crawford that nobody knows about,” said Eric Haskell, a Crawford Hall resident. “This is something that students deserve to know the truth about from the University.”
Richard Bryson, assistant to Associate Dean of Students Jan-Mitchell Sherrill, lives in a first-floor apartment in Crawford Hall as a Community Initiative Fellow. He said he is in charge of a special project – the Community Host Initiative. However, he said he could not explain the details of the project. He said further information about the project soon will be available.
Fellows also live in Riverside and Fulbright halls. The fellows receive the stipend and housing as part of their second job, Bryson said, and receive a GW salary for their full-time staff positions. The fellows also take classes at the University, he said.
Students in Crawford who attended the hall meeting at the beginning of the semester said Bryson likened his position as a fellow to the role of GW’s Community Service Aides, who provide security in residence halls by checking identification and signing in guests.
The doors of community directors and community facilitators are marked, but Bryson’s room has no sign on the door that identifies him as a staff member.
Mark Levine, assistant dean of CLLC, would not comment on the logistics of the Community Initiative Fellowship program. Neither Bryson nor Levine would comment on the process used to select the fellows or give detailed information about the fellowship program.
Bryson said his role is one step in a move to put community directors in charge of several halls instead of just one. He said he can be the “eyes and ears” of Crawford, which is not home to a community director.
“Dean (of Students Linda) Donnels can contact any of us in an emergency,” Bryson said.
But Residence Hall Association President Justin Lavella said the fellows duplicate the responsibilities of CFs.
“It doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile cause,” Lavella said. “That’s why they have CFs – to monitor the students.”
Lavella said the fellows should be more receptive to the residents if they want to serve as leaders. He said they should identify themselves as resources by putting signs on their doors and listing themselves with the CFs.
Students were introduced to Bryson at a hall meeting, but some students said they didn’t know he lived in the hall.
“I was told it was a hallway to the Marvin Center,” said freshman Jason Franklin, a Crawford resident, of the door that leads to Bryson’s apartment.
Several Crawford residents said they had never heard of Bryson and the ones who had heard of him said they were unsure of his role in the hall.
“Some students are being moved around quickly and there are administrators who are living on campus whose doors aren’t marked to be used as resources,” Lavella said.
Administrators, including Levine and Sherrill, also live in residence halls as part of the faculty-in-residence program.
Lavella said he was unaware of the role the fellows would play in the residence halls.
“I would hope they’d serve as leaders,” Lavella said. “I would hope they’d take an active role in the buildings.”
-Theresa Crapanzano and Sara E. Murphy contributed to this report.