Columns / Discourse / May 4, 2016

Administration invited to eat in caf

It is no secret that, unlike former President of the College, Roger Taylor, current president Teresa Amott does not dine with students in the Hard Knox Café or Oak Room on a regular basis, nor do many other members of the Knox Administration. Although administrators might have a variety of personal reasons as to not eating in the caf, eating in the caf would, in the long run, benefit not only the college, but the relationship between the general student body and the Knox College Administration.

One of the ideas that Knox College prides itself upon is our idea of One Community. Although I personally believe that One Community is a huge exaggeration at best (an issue I hope to uncover in a future op–ed piece), one of the weaker areas of One Community is the relationship between students and administrators. Apart from the Modern Language Department at language tables and Dining Services employees on breaks, non-students rarely eat in the caf. Even though very few members of the faculty, staff and administration eat in the caf, faculty and staff members generally interact with the “average” student on a much more regular basis. As the administration often does not interact with students except out of necessity, this sense of One Community is lost between the student body and the Knox Administration. Administrators dining in the Caf could increase the sense of One Community on campus, at least between the Administration and the student body.

Administrators dining in the Hard Knox Café would also make the Knox Administration appear more human. Currently, if something on campus is handled in a way that students do not agree with, the blame is almost instantly thrown at President Amott or another member of the administration, simply because they are the person (who is seen as) in charge of it all and therefore the root of all institutional problems. By dining with students, administrators would be able to mitigate and lower instances of blind judgement; by opening up themselves, they would get to know students on a less institutional and more interpersonal level. Forming interpersonal connections with students would increase perceptions of humanity on both sides. With the situation as it is currently, the administration hides behind Oz’s curtain. By meeting us, the students, at one of the most egalitarian locations on campus, the administration would be humanizing themselves. And because of that, more students would start seeing administrators as people rather than magical beings in control of every aspect of the college.

It is for these reasons and more that I cordially invite the members of the Knox College Administration, as well as our beloved faculty and staff members, to dine with the student body anytime they are eager to make a new friend or engage in an interesting conversation. Far too long has One Community been idealized but not acted upon. It is time we change that. Please join us, we welcome you.

Alex Davis

Tags:  administration Alex Davis communication dining services Knox College

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