Not so “NEW” College – Familiar growing pains

In the Spring 2015 semester, the student body voted to change the name of the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) body known as the Council of Student Affairs (CSA) to the Council of Student Life (CSL). This council serves to represent students and their needs across various fields of student life, and it is not the first rendition of such a group to do so.

The 1980s group, the Student Life Committee (SLC), dedicated themselves to similar topics, but without student control. A mixed faculty-and-student group, old minutes from the SLC document their efforts to work with students on current issues and pressing matters. Although the time between today’s Council and the SLC is a hefty 25 years or more, the issues seem amusingly familiar.

“Smillie read a letter from Oare Dozier-Henry urging our support for the referendum issue on providing funding for the Counseling Center,” minutes from a November 1988 meeting read. It was only early this September that the Towne Meeting passed a resolution granting the Counseling and Wellness Center a $20,000 supplement from the NCSA reserve fund in order to bolster and keep intact the psychiatry program. The “peer-counseling project” mentioned in the same minutes as an assignment for Henckell (presumably Professor Henckell) sounds similar to the peer mentorship program advocated for by current third year NCSA co-President Shelby Statham and former NCSA president Carlos Santos.

Yet another set of minutes reflected another current issue. Notes from an October 1984 meeting discuss the need for more dorms and cost-effective ways to expand student accommodations, including building dorms that are “contiguous with current dorms,” because “the cost would be significantly less than to construct new buildings.” Earlier this summer, Student Affairs had to reserve rooms at the nearby Holiday Inn hotel as a safety measure for student overflow. Although they did not need to use them, dorm capacity has once again reached its peak, and the construction of new dorms for the campus is now on the table.

In the notes from the February 1984 meeting, members asked about Palm Court Party (PCP) security, suggesting student patrols as a safety measure. A November 1988 meeting discussed the athletics fee, at the time approximately 66 cents per credit hour, and a December 1988 meeting discussed raising the activities and services fee to $1 per credit hour (a fee raise which, the notes add, students opposed due to “inadequate student consultation”).

Finally, an October 1988 meeting included an agenda item regarding the Food Services on campus. “[Oare] suggested that New College Students are not aware that DAKA is paid to offer the service but does not make a profit from it … Oare’s final point was that this is a major problem.” The issue of food services being cost effective will be familiar to any students present before the 2014-2015 academic year, when former food service provider Sodexo’s contract had ended and the school had to obtain bids from new providers.

Expansion happens at New College, but we cannot seem to outgrow our growing pains.

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