A final thought on the household issue
by Kathleen van Schaijik
Apropos of my concern that frequent, mandatory, one-on-one meetings between coordinators and RDs were bound to have a chilling effect on household life, a reader recently said to me, “I don’t see anything wrong with it; you’d have to show me evidence that the RDs were somehow abusing the confidentiality of the coordinators.”
Here I point out that a practice can be bad without being abusive. Every mother or father knows that to stand continually over their children’s shoulders—telling them what to do and criticizing every mistake the instant it’s made—is bad parenting. But we wouldn’t call it child abuse. Similarly, we can criticize Student Life policies without accusing Student Life officials of abusing students. In my opinion, even if no RD ever betrayed coordinator confidentiality; even if they were very careful and never asked intrusive questions about what was going on in particular households; even if they didn’t impose punishments on coordinators who didn’t show; even if coordinators said they didn’t mind the regular meetings, it would still be a bad policy—tending, however gradually, toward the destruction of the household system.