University students have better access to their administrators than students at any other Ivy League institution, according to a recent survey conducted by a student watchdog group. The Harvard Watch 1991 Ivy League Survey ranked student access to university presidents and top decision makers based on criteria such as students' role in the selection of a president and regular contact between the president and student groups. The University was the only school in the Ivy League at which students have access to texts of research contracts between the University and the private sector. But while the presidents of Dartmouth, Princeton, Brown and Yale hold regular office hours for students, President Sheldon Hackney does not, the survey found. Assistant to the President Nicholas Constan said while he and Hackney would both like to have more contact with students, he is satisfied with the effort the president's office makes to be open. "I think we run very hard trying to be accessible," Constan said. "And I don't know how much more we can do and still do business." Student leaders said they enjoy relatively open access to senior administrators, especially in times of crisis, but they do not have regular informal contact with the administration, and administrators often fail to act according to student input. Undergraduate Assembly Vice Chairperson Ethan Youderian said although administrators are responsive to students, he thinks they should initiate more contact. "If you want to talk to an administrator, you call them," said the Wharton sophomore. "It is rare that they come to you and say, 'There's a pressing issue we want your opinion on.' " But Youderian added that Hackney called the UA and asked to speak to them about the conflict over Mayor's Scholarships, and Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson contacted the organization about proposed changes to the Judicial Inquiry Officer's charter. Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Chairperson Michael Goldstein also said University students have better access to administrators because their student organizations are well organized, and formal structures like GAPSA and the University Council promote contact. But he added that universities as a whole are not open to their students. "If this is the best, that's not a good statement about the state of affairs," said Goldstein. Harvard Watch, which prepared the survey, was founded in 1985 by consumer advocate Ralph Nader. By focusing on Harvard, which ranked lowest in the survey, the group hopes to set an example for other educational institutions. According to Harvard Watch member Jaron Bourke, the organization has used the survey to demonstrate to students the areas in which they should be able to influence their administrations. "We have used it as a tool for talking with student audiences to see what they are able to do with a few pointed questions and a real determination to make meaningful reform at their schools," Bourke said.Comments powered by Disqus
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