Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Up until this semester, around 60 students generally worked two hour shifts as attendants in the Game Room. This year, however, the Dean’s Office announced that they would cut the job. After repeated attempts by student groups to bring back the position, it has been determined that it will remain defunct for at least this semester.
Associate Dean for Student Life Myrt Westphal explained the Student Life Office’s reasoning behind the initial termination of the attendant job: “The job used to be somebody who also helped out in Tarble with events, there used to be a phone to answer. Now, it’s not really a job that needs to be done.” The job was among the “easiest things to cut,” Westphal said, since it “only really affected students that had the job…most didn’t benefit [from it].” She asked, “How many students use the game room?” She was firm on the decision to cut the job, citing it as an “artifact” and “a non-job job”; she asked, “Who should be paid for this?”
Westphal acknowledged that this detracts from the pool of available student jobs, and that there would “probably be some more theft, loss or breakage” of Game Room equipment without an attendant. She said, however, that it would “still be cheaper” to replace equipment rather than pay attendants, and that students cut from the attendant job would hopefully go work in “more important jobs” such as the Party Associates, which she said there was a lack of, or the newly-created Event Associate.
After the cancellation announcement, SAC and Student Council collaborated on a proposal to reinstate the attendant position under SBC funding, mainly for the Game Room’s peak hours. SAC co-chair Rebecca Commito ‘10 said the proposal was brought mainly to “reduce problems with equipment being stolen/broken/lost and bring back some of the lost student jobs.” SBC, however, chose to reject the proposal.
The other SAC co-chair, Shumpei Tse ’10, appealed SBC’s decision to Student Council on October 3rd. Because of a technicality, the appeal did not result in an official decision, but a straw poll determined that StuCo would not challenge the SBC decision. Student Groups Advisor Ben Francis ’12 said that StuCo “wanted to give it at least the rest of the semester to see if it is even necessary to have a Game Room attendant,” and that the Dean’s office “agreed to expand the amount of money to replace broken equipment.” Tse, however, noted that “any expensive equipment damaged such as the pool table will not be replaced.”
StuCo President Rachel Bell ’10 said that “Many StuCo members, including myself, feel it’s a bad precedent to have SBC immediately foot the bill for the administration’s budget cuts,” but that the job’s fate was not permanently sealed, especially if the new situation “proves too costly” for the Dean’s Office.
Myrt Westphal had “not heard of any resulting difficulties” following the removal of the attendant position.