A Poor Start (Vol. 2, Issue 2)
The news that the dormitory problem had finally been recognized ‘and was being dealt with, was welcome to us. Doubly so, when it became known that the reorganization was not to be from above, but that it was to be accomplished by a committee of students, who might be expected to go about the work with a full méasure of sympathy and understanding.
Realizing that the only way an equitable solution could be arrived at was by the functioning of such a committee, we eagerly looked forward to a program of constructive, progressive rehabilitation.
We know well enough that neglect and laxness had become ingrained in the dormitory.
We know well enough that reorganization would be a difficult, possibly painful, process.
And we know well enough that complaints were inevitable.
But we were convinced that reorganization must be a slow process. We were, and are, convinced that no patient is ever improved by quarts of castor oil.
How disappointing, then, and how disheartening it was to discover the attitude of the dormitory committee.
Instead of making gradual adjustments after a painstaking analysis of individual cases and their thorough discussion with the principals involved, the members of the committee set themselves up as a dictatorial body with sweeping powers and proceeded to turn the dormitory upside down.
They then went ahead, in spite of all protests, to insist on all changes being carried out within 48 hours of their publication of the list.
Naturally, a blanket upheaval of this sort served only to antagonize—and justly so—students who felt that a more sympathetic consideration of their interests was the very least to be expected from a committee composed of fellow dormitory residents.
Nor is this the only count on which criticism may be leveled at the dormitory committee. It is difficult to understand why the committee found it necessary to railroad the plan into fulfillment before proper deliberation could be made as to its advisability.
In short, we feel that if the plan has any merits, the committee should be glad to let us see it at our leisure. If the plan has faults, students are entitled to be heard, not as individuals appealing to a committee, but as the student body of the dormitory demanding of the committee and accounting, which it can justly expect.
Dormitory reorganization, as we understand it, is an evolutionary process, not something to be imposed in one crushing edict. The approach that must be made is that of a thorough study of the matter.
The appointment of a commission representing all classes of students is essential. Such a body’s function should be to study, not to legislate. That is the way we would have liked to see it done.
That the committee has spent a good deal of its time in working out the reorganization, we are aware. That its members have given unselfishly and unstintingly of their time to put the plan through, we are also aware. We duly appreciate their altruistic aims. Their sincerity we have never questioned.
But we also feel that they have been carried away by their own enthusiasm. We feel that they have become over-zealous, and have gone to extremes in their quest of a solution.
At any rate, the committee must come to a realization of the glaring fact that it is only defeating its own ends by being arbitrary and sweeping in scope, and in rushing the matter through to make dormitory revision a fait accompli, and consequently more difficult to criticize.
No committee, no matter how devoted and efficient its members may be, can be considered the final authority in a matter, which like this one, affects the welfare of the entire student body.
In addition, with regard to the handling of a good number of cases, there is a strong temptation to quote the moral of washing the soap.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?