Beginning this term, Underclassmen and Uppers from each cluster will take turns watching a livestream of All-School Meeting (ASM) in Kemper Auditorium due to lack of space in Cochran Chapel, according Dean of Students and Residential Life Jennifer Elliott ’94. Seniors will continue to observe ASM from the Chapel pews.
“I think [space restrictions] mean we miss out on opportunities for students to engage in really rich conversations with faculty members [and] to process … what the meeting was about,” said Elliott.
“If it’s going to be an All School Meeting, we’d love there to be as many community members as possible engaging.”
Cluster Deans have routinely expressed concerns regarding students’ inattentive behavior during ASM, and although the revision has not yet been added to the Blue Book, Elliott hopes the change will encourage students to stay engaged.
“[The Cluster Deans] feel that students would have their phones away, wouldn’t be studying, wouldn’t be sleeping… if there were more faculty members,” she said. “Fundamentally, our kids are really respectful folks, so often all it takes is an adult nearby to remind them how important it is to listen respectfully in that space.”
Margot Hutchins ’20 said, “The whole point of an ASM is to bring the whole student body together. By separating clusters into [two separate rooms], the new ASM defeats the purpose.”
Hutchins proposed adding chairs in the aisles or allowing students to seat up by the organ chamber. “Seeing someone first-hand is a very different experience from viewing someone speak [through] a webcam. Even though it’s difficult [to] fit everyone in, they should keep the [current format],” she said.