Students meet with search committee

by Brad Russo | 5/20/98 5:00am

Students voiced their thoughts on what qualities the next dean of the College should have in an open meeting of the Dean of the College Search Committee last night.

The eight students who attended were all either members of the current Student Assembly or of next year's Assembly.

The students expressed many concerns similar to those regularly aired at Assembly meetings -- the need for more social programming space, diversification of the faculty, openness of the student body and communication between students and faculty.

The students all discussed their admiration of current Dean of the College Lee Pelton and his personal characteristics, and said they want to see the new dean have the same availability to students and open mind that Pelton possessed.

"Ideally, I'd say find a copy of Lee Pelton," Matthew Benedetto '00 said.

Dave Gacioch '00 said Pelton's calm handling of the recent alcohol recommendations demonstrated his ability to effectively make decisions with student input.

Benedetto said he hopes the new dean comes from outside the College. "I think a lot of people thought the new president would be from outside ... people are looking for a person with fresh ideas."

Amanda Molk '01 said she thinks the new dean should have his own ideas, but also be responsive to the ideas and opinions which already exist at the College.

The students also expressed their thoughts on student housing, which is under the dean of the College's control.

Tom Leatherbee '01 told the search committee he feels the College needs a new dormitory.

"We need more beds, and that's something the new dean will become acutely aware of," Leatherbee said.

The students only discussed the Greek system and controversial changes to it after members of the search committee first approached the subject.

"I think no one mentioned the Greek system lest we open its Pandora's box," Benedetto said. "It's a hot issue, and it always will be."

Ezekiel Webber '00 said he thinks the new dean should be someone seeking to improve the Greek system, but not destroy it.

After the meeting, Dean of the Faculty and Chair of the Committee Ed Berger said he was disappointed no representatives from the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council or the Greek system came to the meeting.

"I would have liked more input from more students from a variety of constituencies," Berger said.

Berger said the committee has already heard most of what was said last night. "We've heard about 98 percent of students' opinions ... and in the next month we'll hear the other two percent."

Berger said the committee is on schedule and will have narrowed its search to three or four candidates by the end of the summer or beginning of fall.

The search committee will listen to students' opinions again tonight in another open meeting at 7:00 in the Collis Student Center.