On Dec. 21, the ResX task force submitted to Provost Persis Drell its recommendations on plans to shape Stanford’s residential living system. As the effort is part of the university’s Long-Range Planning process, no significant changes will be made to the system for 10 to 15 years.
The contents of the recommendations, according to Brubaker-Cole, will not be disclosed during its pending approval by the Provost. The final plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees by April.
The ResX task force, comprised of faculty, students, alumni and senior administrators, conducted a series of town halls, visits to other campuses and survey data. According to Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Harry Elam — theResX co-chairs — the task force met with more than 500 people consisting of students, alumni, resident assistants, resident fellows, ethnic theme associates (ETAs) and Associated Students of Stanford University members, in addition to collecting survey data from 600 members of the Stanford community.
“I think this is unusual for a process like this, but to our knowledge, we met with every single group that requested to meet with us,” Brubaker-Cole said. “It’s possible there was an email loss somewhere, but we don’t think so — we think we met with every single group.”
Included in these meetings were three with ETAs, whose demands included the expansion of ethnic theme dorms and extended increase of current ETA pay. Okada ETA Huanvy Phan ’19, however, expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the ETAs’ meetings with ResX.
“[ResX] would frequently change meeting times and locations very last-minute, give us less than 24 hours notice for meetings and would also show up late for meetings, thus cutting our time together short,” Phan said. “We would often have to move at a very fast pace through our meetings and therefore were not able to spend as much time as we wanted on certain discussion topics.”
Phan added that ETAs frequently “had to explain to [ResX] why students of color felt so disconnected from other dorm communities.”
“Our discussions with ResX showed how truly disconnected University administration is from the lived experiences of students and dorm life, especially in understanding how crucial Ethnic Theme Dorms are in building community and fostering a sense of belonging on this campus,” Phan said. “That being said, we are thankful for the opportunities we had to speak with the task force and make our demands heard.”
As noted in an update emailed to students on Nov. 29, the task force felt the best way to address its charge was to consult with students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“The task force appreciated that ETAs set aside time to participate in these discussions, and it benefited greatly from the ETAs’ perspectives,” Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs Communications Director Pat Lopes Harris wrote in an email to The Daily.
According to Brubaker-Cole and Elam, the proposal was formulated in accordance with three principles: belonging and community, student health and well-being and intellectual and personal growth.
“We wanted to define a set of principles that would guide further decisions — large-scale and micro — in the residential system,” Brubaker-Cole said.
According to Elam, ResX focused on four aspects of the residential system: housing assignment and process, “neighborhoods,” residential staffing and freshman residential configurations.
“These are things we wanted to see the principles work in relationship to,” Elam said.
The information from the meetings and surveys ultimately shaped the recommendations that are currently under review by Provost Drell, who will determine what proposals will be approved.
If the proposals are approved, the task force will list guidelines for the plan’s implementation.