While Chancellor Grimson's email regarding RLADs came as a surprise, it's hard to consider it unexpected given the track record of Dean Colombo and Dean Humphreys. Since coming to MIT, these Deans have continued to make the same mistake: eliminating meaningful student involvement from decisions that affect MIT's student culture.
We saw it with the initial dining proposal, and we protested. We saw it with the proposal to shorten REX, and we protested. We saw it with Burton Conner's recent housemaster selection, and we protested. And now we're seeing it with the introduction of RLADs, and we're going to protest.
RLADs are simply the next attempt to install administrators within residential life at MIT, an effort that Dean Colombo has been making since his start. First, he tried to replace the housemasters themselves, which was made evident when he appointed himself to be housemaster of Next House. But when it came time for Senior House to select a new housemaster, this method proved futile.
Senior House made sure the entire house was involved, thus causing Colombo to make his unrest about the students' involvement painfully clear in another way. He decided to reject the house’s recommendation because the candidates were not tenured faculty. This may sound reasonable, but not when you consider that Colombo was serving as housemaster without tenure.
Now, the Division for Student Life has created RLADs to pull the administrative responsibilities away from housemasters, which has the same affect as placing administrators in the housemaster role. In doing so, the DSL has stepped way out of bounds. Not only did they create this role seemingly out of thin air, but they also waited until after students left campus to make an announcement, thus making it harder for us to protest. To top it off, that announcement was addressed to housemasters and meant to stay out of students' hands. Kudos goes to the housemaster who met their job description and advocated for their house by forwarding the letter along.
So what do we do now, as a student body, where time and time again our administrators exhibit a clear misunderstanding of our culture, and consistently make decisions that we need to protest. Do we simply protest again, or do we ask for new administrators who understand and support our culture and community?
I propose that we call on President-elect Rafael Reif for the immediate removal of Chris Colombo and Henry Humphreys from their respective positions as Dean for Student Life and Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life and Dining. Enough is enough; situations like these are a waste of time and easily avoided with the right administrators.