A Little Teamwork

by Dave Gacioch | 4/8/99 5:00am

C'mon, I mean how often do you read a column in this publication dedicated to how well the College administration (or at least some small part thereof) has worked with students in pursuit of a student goal? In light of what has taken up most of this space in recent months (i.e. the recently-crowned "Sun King" and his cronies denying student suffrage in trustee elections and, oh yeah, that minor Greek system issue), we really do need to seek out and laud those administrative departments who are actually working with us, rather than in spite of us. Bet you can't guess where I'm going with this one ... give up? Kiewit.

That's right, the Department of Computing Services, which I had in my cross-hairs last spring regarding public printing changes, has been absolutely cleaning up with regard to student-friendly policies and projects lately. Here are some gems for which Director Larry Levine and his staff deserve kudos.

First and foremost, aren't those iMac Blitz computers in Collis, the Hop, Thayer, and elsewhere great? Remember those old Mac Classics we used to have. Yeah, the ones that hardly had enough memory to run Blitz alone, not to mention Netscape and goodness-knows what else. The iMacs are clearly a huge improvement brought to all of us by a Student Assembly-Kiewit tag team which I, for one, hope continues to flourish in the future.

Public printing, after some rather intense negotiations last spring, has also been running smoothly. Outside of the extremely rare student complaint -- which are, incidentally, going directly to Director Levine's in-box and are being dealt with at what seems like light speed compared to usual geologic progress of the administration of the College -- all indications are that student-administration teamwork seems to have had lasting positive results once again. In this case, the Kiewit folks and some concerned students hammered out a plan which has kept the printouts sorted continuously during busy times (during classes, and especially midterms and finals) and has allowed students to print multiple copies when necessary for class, both issues on which the Computing Services people could have given the student body a really hard time if they had chosen to act like some others of their administrative brethren (dare I suggest the Parking Operations folks, or our friends at Da$h). An

d, what's more, when public printing raised a big issue for the Kiewit administration -- that being veritable reams of wasted paper from students printing things which they failed to collect -- they didn't go off and announce some unilateral changes to the system (or even any principles for that matter). Instead, they did what every administrative department should do -- solar deity or otherwise -- they went to student leaders and asked for a cooperative effort to resolve the problem.

And the examples just keep on coming. When the Ivy Council, the confederation of the student governments of the Ivy League schools, needed to find a server at which to host its website which contains many services of great benefit to students across the Ivy League (including a Knowledge Exchange which allows visitors to search for school-by-school information on issues ranging from academic advising to alcohol policy), Kiewit -- and especially Brian Hughes in User Communication -- once again stepped up to bat for students. Not only has Computing Services agreed to provide the server space for the site; they are also providing extensive technical support and design help to aid in making it the most useful resource it can possibly be. Isn't it amazing what student-administration teamwork can produce?

Now, by no means do I mean to say that the folks at Kiewit are the only administrators who are willing to work with students in pursuit of student goals. It's too bad, though, that many of the recent newsmakers, including Trustee Grand Poo-bah Stephen Bosworth, his Board cronies Kate Stith-Cabranes and Bill King, and, yes, everyone's favorite Sun King (and sometime College President) James Wright, don't seem to fall into this category. Has absolute power gotten to their heads? Perhaps they could learn something from their Computing Services division if they actually took some time away from writing official decrees to learn how to work cooperatively with students. It's just a shame that not all College departments follow in the footsteps of Director Levine and his Kiewit team. After all, it seems like a number of long-lasting positive solutions have arisen out of student-administration teamwork.