Nov. 27, 2014

An office with no leader

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February 4, 2013

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Due to recent budget cuts and the lagging economy, the College of William and Mary places a major emphasis on improving the school’s efficiency. While we are glad the College administration is looking for new and creative ways to cut costs, we want to make sure these cuts actually benefit the school. The College’s announcement that it will reorganize the Office of Student Activities to avoid replacing former Director of Student Activities Mark Constantine is a prime example of a time when the administration needs to exercise caution while attempting to save money.

Rather than replace Constantine, the school is dividing his duties among several other school employees in an effort to save money. In order to ensure the College continues to run smoothly, however, we believe the administration should focus on transparency, open communication between offices and a clear understanding of the goals of each office when reorganizing Constantine’s duties.

The second floor of the Campus Center has long been a mystery to many students at the College. Splitting Constantine’s former duties among numerous offices potentially could create even more confusion. The College needs to be clearer about the responsibilities of each position so students are not scrambling to find the appropriate person with whom to speak. Job titles do not give students sufficient information to determine who has the power to help them with what they need.

Another complication the College administration must account for is the need for open communication between offices. The benefit of Constantine’s position was that responsibilities pertaining to many areas of campus life were consolidated into one position. Because he was involved in so many different aspects of the school, Constantine was very well connected and informed. The challenge in dividing his duties across multiple offices is that communication between different departments of the College becomes even more essential but without a liaison to mediate communication. The College needs to consider this consequence in particular when deciding how best to restructure Constantine’s position.

As the College reorganizes itself, there is a greater push for student leadership. Anne Arseneau will be taking over many of Constantine’s responsibilities under the new title of Director of Student Leadership. While we agree the College needs to cultivate student leadership, we are confused about how this new focus will be implemented at the College. Student leadership is essential, but the College needs to stress collaboration and working across different groups in order to improve itself.

The College’s decision to restructure in the name of efficiency will hopefully help reduce operating costs. The decision to reorganize the Office of Student Activities has could be very beneficial for the College. Nevertheless, this is of fundamental importance to the college. During this restructuring process, the College administration must pay very close attention to all of the benefits of Constantine’s role in order to fully account for all of the challenges the newly reorganized offices will face.

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