February 16, 2009

Quote Of The Day

"You’re saying we’re causing your drinking!”

-Dean Roellke at a forum last night on security, drugs, and alcohol, adding, "Well, stop drinking so much." This is his response to VSA Council members telling administration that security's policies only encourage binge drinking. According to the Misc, "Roellke later apologized for his passionate response."

Update: Dean Roellke has posted a response to his quote.

"When I got a bit fired up for a small portion of the event last night, it was mostly in an effort to defend my student affairs colleagues, many of whom have even deeper experience than I in this type of work. The bulk of the evening was spent responding to seemingly unending criticisms of isolated student affairs scenarios with very little reflection on the part of students in terms of individual and collective responsibility."

Check out the comments section for this post to see Dean Roellke's full exclusive response. We apologize if it seems like we took the dean's quote out of context. We were only trying to highlight what appeared to be an important quote from the Misc article.

2 comments:

Luis Gabriel said...

I understand that Dean Roelke is new to the job, and as a former faculty member with little experience in administration of student affairs, might not be used to dealing with the "real life" issues of students. However, he needs to start taking student's input seriously and revising some of the ways he is approaching the student body and manifesting his frustrations. He also needs to understand that we are all human beings on this campus, with real problems and anxieties, and that the drinking "problem" at Vassar is not only a manifestation of this reality, but also of a much larger (national if not global) culture.
I know he has the best intentions and that he truly cares, but it sometimes doesn't come off that way. If these kinds of forums continue to be so divisive, the number of kids going to the hospital will only continue to rise...

Christopher Roellke said...

Luis,

It was brought to my attention that you had made this post. I hope you will indulge me for a moment with a rather lengthy response.

I think Mads has proven to be an excellent method for students to express their opinions.

In this particular case, the post is taken out of context and has a "sound bite" quality to it. As you were not in attendance last night (unless I missed you), I encourage you to speak with your student colleagues on the council. Though there were contentious moments, I believe the overall dialogue was a productive one--I am sorry that you were not able to observe the exchanges directly.

With all due respect, I am surprised that you assume that I have little experience in student affairs. I have thoroughly enjoyed the intensive work I have done with college-aged youth for over 20 years. Clearly, I have more to learn (one of the reasons I love working on a college campus is that learning opportunities abound) and I am eager to learn jointly with students.

When I got a bit fired up for a small portion of the event last night, it was mostly in an effort to defend my student affairs colleagues, many of whom have even deeper experience than I in this type of work. The bulk of the evening was spent responding to seemingly unending criticisms of isolated student affairs scenarios with very little reflection on the part of students in terms of individual and collective responsibility.

Eight of my colleagues enthusiastically gave up a Sunday night with their families for the event--the bulk of which was focused on perceived weaknesses in their performance. I have fabulous colleagues and felt compelled to defend the good work that they do on a day to day basis. I know they share my view that more dialogue is welcomed and encouraged.

I make every effort to "catch students being good" and I hope students also take the time to reflect on what goes "right" at Vassar. We are not an evil administration--quite to the contrary, we want to play a vital educational role at the College and honestly want nothing more than our students to have an incredible student life experience.

In the end, I believe strongly that the students and the administration are really quite close in terms of health and safety objectives. My point last night was that we need your help on this--any success we have is highly contingent upon student cooperation and mutual respect. Some good ideas were generated last night and we can certainly build on that momentum.

Again, I encourage you to speak to your colleagues that were in attendance prior to making public statements as you have here.

I look forward to working closely with you as you plan an impressive set of safe and fun activities with your senior classmates for your final semester at Vassar.



Respectfully,

Chris Roellke
Dean of the College
Professor of Education