In a rare turnaround, one of the University departments with which students often have the most complaints has articulated a policy for next year that will directly address and mitigate many students’ concerns. The Community Living and Learning Center’s restructuring of what was formerly the community facilitator program reflects an acknowledgement not only of past student concerns but also creates a system which is better equipped to meet students’ needs.
Overbearing CFs, intrusive health inspections and a poorly executed housing selection made 2005 a tough year for CLLC and the students who were on the receiving end of its services. This new policy – which eliminates the CFs in favor of residence hall mentors targeted specifically to each class – should help to mitigate the clashes between CLLC employees and students living in residence halls.
Delineating the role of house staff, the new moniker for CFs, based on the residence hall in which they work is a positive aspect of the policy. There is no reason that a senior should have a sophomore or junior CF acting as a “mentor” or “advisor” in the residence halls. The new plan places full-time graduate students in the halls to mentor juniors and seniors on graduate school and give career advice – a valuable resource. Sophomores will get extra advising in study abroad matters and internships, while freshmen will continue to receive help with roommate conflicts and generally adapting to college life.
One of the biggest concerns students have about their CFs is that they are often more focused on busting students for disciplinary issues than providing necessary resources. Specifically, the new plan calls for House Staff to take a less active role in policing the residence halls. Unlike their predecessors, the House Staff will not make nightly rounds in the residence halls, which often resulted in noise violations for residents and animosity between them and their CFs.
This focus on providing resources in the halls, rather than acting as “UPD light,” is a clear attempt on the part of CLLC to prove that student needs aren’t always lost on University administrators.