The administration, faculty and staff at Andover seek to promote the comfort and safety of students on campus. The recent clarification and enforcement of dance rules are intended to ensure “self-respect and respect for the faculty members who are chaperoning,” according to Paul Murphy, Dean of Students and Residential Life.
If that is indeed the goal, then faculty members also have the responsibility of reciprocating such respect.
Teachers should take care that they do not, in enforcing these rules, unintentionally make students feel embarrassed and ashamed. Many students felt disrespected after conversations with faculty regarding outfit selection at last Saturday’s Halloween dance. In keeping with the themes of comfort and respect that these new guidelines seek to promote, it is imperative that faculty members approach students whose outfits violate the dance rules in a mature and private manner. Yes, they should talk about why the outfit does not meet the new standards, but students should not be made to feel uncomfortable and patronized by their own teachers.
House counselors often fail to maintain mutual expectations of respect when discussing room visiting. The Blue Book does not prohibit sexual activity and in fact allows students to visit rooms of the opposite gender. When students follow the rules for a room visit, house counselors should not make students feel uncomfortable about their request. Students have experienced a range of responses from house counselors, from apathy to teasing to outright disapproval. House counselors should not attempt to impose upon students their own preconceived notions about relationships.
There is a line between giving people advice and imparting judgement on them. Yes, our house counselors have valuable experience that we lack, but to judge students and make them feel uncomfortable about engaging in sexual activity is unacceptable.
As sex is a reality on campus, students need to feel comfortable asking for advice from faculty. To create such an environment, faculty need to foster mutual respect and open communication.
_ This editorial represents the views of _The Phillipian _ Editorial Board CXXXVI. _