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Cite VPUL Morrisson's transfer as evidence of changes Student leaders said last night they are worried that Interim Provost Marvin Lazerson is contemplating a major shakeup in the Vice Provost for University Life's office. Such a realignment, they said, could eliminate or reduce many student activities and services which fall under the VPUL, such as academic advising, the Greenfield Intercultural Center and the Student Activities Council. Lazerson did not return phone calls made to his home last night. The students' concerns follow last week's reassignment of Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson to the provost's office. Associate Vice President Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum will fill her post for six months beginning January 1. Bardo Ramirez, chairperson of the Performing Arts Council and one of 22 students who authored a letter to provost and Interim President Claire Fagin addressing these concerns, said Lazerson has yet to consult "a single student" on what he said are imminent "obvious changes." "The concern is primarily that the provost is making behind-the-scenes decisions about this without talking to any of the students," Wharton senior Ramirez said. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Seth Hamalian said at last night's UA meeting that students will undertake a massive publicity campaign to "scare the administration" into including student input. One change, fears Reach A Peer Line President Mary McGuire, could be the placement of undergraduate counseling services under the jurisdiction of the Medical Center, giving students less control. One University official said the VPUL "will probably be chopped up in pieces," with now-centralized academic support services moving to the individual schools like the College of Arts and Sciences or the Wharton School. And an ongoing University initiative to cut administrative costs by 15 percent could eliminate some of VPUL's 300 jobs, further hurting student life activities. The official, who asked that her name not be used, said student services are often first to go because they are seen as "peripheral" and not "closely connected to academics." Linda Koons, executive assistant to the provost, said students are misinterpreting some of the provost office's long-range planning. "There have been conversations with the academic deans about whether to have closer [school] involvement in tutoring or counseling." Koons said, adding she would "frankly, be surprised that anyone makes any changes before the naming of a new president." She said the VPUL's office is not being singled out for financial cuts, and all areas of the University, including the offices of the president, executive vice president and provost, are looking to reduce their budgets. Koons admits most of these rumors sprouted after Morrisson's transfer. Students have wrongly taken Morrisson's "stepping down" to "mean something big," she said, calling the rumors "silly." The University official said the provost is not verbalizing any restructuring to the VPUL staff. "Our jobs may or may not be on the line, but it certainly feels as though they are," she added. But Koons said "things are going on that are just getting exaggerated."

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