The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Program has growing pains

With resident students comes the need for an office of Residence Life.
And just as the residential village is something new to St. John’s, so
is the office of Residence Life. “Our job is to enhance the students’
educational experiences and to offer non-classroom educational
initiatives,” said Henry Humphreys, dean of Residence Life. “We are
trying to build a well-formed and established program. Last year, Fr.
John Maher laid the initial foundations of that program, and did a good
job of it,” Humphreys added.

Residence Life is in a state of development. “I hope that we continue
to expand, and that we do a better job addressing the needs of
students,” said Humphreys “We do an adequate job of this already, but
there is room for improvement. We need to do a better job at listening
to the students needs and addressing them,” said Humphreys. “We are
working on the reorganizing the department through having more
masters-level administrators, and are instituting a position
exclusively for Student Development, expanding RHA and encouraging more
collaboration with Student Government, as well as working on a
comprehensive Residence Life Handbook in order to better acquaint the
residents with Residence Life.”

Recent occurrences in the dorms have kept Residence Life busy. The
office recognizes problems in the dorms, and is attempting to fix them.
“We do not impose new policies on students mid-semester, but we are
more strictly enforcing our policies. The fire doors, for instance, now
have a guard in front of them as an attempt to step up security.”

Residence life is also “very concerned about the building thefts [over
the break], and is working with public safety on renewing the security
systems within the residence buildings,” said Humphreys. “The immediate
changes are dealing with keycard access into the buildings and the
individual rooms, as well as in changing some camera positions
throughout the dorms, and in the long term we are looking at changing
the way the rooms are checked by the RAs.”

Residence Life is also taking drug and alcohol enforcement more
seriously. Last week there was an incident involving drugs in one of
the Residence Hall suites. “We take these incidents very seriously,”
said Humphreys, “There was cocaine, marijuana and alcohol in the suite.
Residence Life has zero tolerance for these sorts of offenses.”

Resident students can expect drug and alcohol enforcement to increase as
the semester continues and into next year. Not only is Residence Life
putting more effort into enforcement, but the Rev. Donald J. Harrington,
C.M., has hired Raymond Kelly to head up a special security task force.
Kelly is a former New York City Police Commissioner and has held
several positions in government agencies, including head of United
States Customs.

Dean Humphreys is putting a lot of effort into preserving this
university’s reputation; he has a personal connection with St. John’s
University. “I grew up in the shadow of St. John’s; my father was an
alumnus. I had always wanted to go to St.John’s, but there wasn’t on
campus housing then, and so I didn’t. Living away from home during
college was important to me. I went to Green Mountain College in
Vermont, and then to graduate school at Columbia. I worked at four
schools prior to this. The challenge of creating a housing program
appealed to me; it was a great opportunity.”

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