Let’s Be Constructive (Vol. 2, Issue 13)
Much has been said during the past half year about constructive criticism. Even more has been said about cooperation between students, faculty, and administration.
None are so anxious as we to introduce a greater measure of cooperation in Yeshiva, and thus obviate the necessity for adverse criticism. And we feel that the most important step towards the introduction of such a spirit is the understanding, by all parties concerned, of the fundamental concepts of these terms.
The description of a Faculty-Student Relations Committee at Vassar College by Dr. Stephen Duggan, well-known educator and member of the board of trustees of that college, in a letter to the New York Times published last Sunday, should throw much light on-the subject.
Writes Dr. Duggan: “The joint committee of faculty and students meets to discuss any matter of interest to either body of to both bodies . . . . Through this committee, which functions regularly as part of the college administration, they come to agreement often before questions have reached a critical stage, instead of allowing themselves, either faculty or students, to be put into a situation of one body opposing opinion which has already become crystallized in the other.”
Unfortunately, it seems never to have been the intention of the administration of Yeshiva College that student opinion concerning matters of policy which affect them directly, be seriously considered. Accordingly, the most far-reaching modification yet proposed for the school was foisted without warning upon the students. Only after the policy had been irrevocably instituted, were students asked to offer suggestions.
How can the administration expect anything but antagonism when measures with which students may have reasonable disagreement are put into operation before students have a chance to hear of them? Cooperation and constructive criticism consist in the candid consideration of policies before their adoption. It does not mean acquiescence to any arbitrary measure which may be imposed.
Once for all, it must be realized that in a small institution like Yeshiva College, where relations between students, faculty and administration are so close, often almost personal, policies cannot be dictated without some understanding being reached by all those involved. Our would-be efficiency experts are on the wrong track when they wish to introduce administrative methods of the great factory-like colleges to Yeshiva.
Se long there is an alert student body and an interested faculty at Yeshiva College, there will never be a truly congenial attitude until matters of general interest to the college are candidly and sympathetically discussed by all groups involved before the adoption of any definite policy.