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Administration to announce 'masters' title replacement


By Ivan Hurtado     3/21/17 8:43pm

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said he will announce his choice of a replacement for the “masters” title by the end of the semester.

On Feb. 7, Rice President David Leebron confirmed the title will be changed, as recommended last semester by the committee of college masters. Following the request, the Student Association Senate surveyed the student body about the potential change.

Hutchinson said he worked with Leebron and Provost Marie Lynn Miranda to reach the decision after considering the student feedback.

“President Leebron, Provost Miranda and I were all impressed with the large number of students in the survey who felt that a change in the title was important for creating an inclusive and welcoming campus,” Hutchinson said.

According to Hutchinson, the lack of any updates since Feb. 7 is reflective of the administration’s deliberations before choosing an appropriate new title for the position.

“I think the relative slowness on which we have converged on a new title is reflective of the input we got from the student body about the meaning of the title and the importance of the title and what kind of consideration should go into identifying the title,” Hutchinson said.

Baker College master Ivo Jan van der Werff said the issue of the title change does not warrant further input from the masters.

“I think the feeling is, as this has been discussed at great length, that Hutchinson will speak for us all,” van der Werff said.

McMurtry College sophomore Paul Onyali, who authored an opinion piece last semester in the Thresher criticizing what he said was the Rice community’s fixation on a trivial issue, said he felt the administration has taken appropriate steps to address concerns from the Rice community.

“Whether or not I agree with the steps that they’re taking, they’re responding to the concerns that people had rather than tabling it,” Onyali said.

Rose Kantorcyzk, a Lovett College freshman, said she wonders whether the new title for masters will be embraced, but believes the change is needed.

“[Hutchinson] should be careful about choosing a new name — I’m worried it might not catch on because ‘masters’ is so pervasive in our language on campus,” Kantorcyzk said. “It doesn’t harm anyone to change it, so if some people find it objectionable, there’s no reason not to.”

Hutchinson said the Rice community can expect the issue to be completely resolved by the end of this semester with a new title that more accurately reflects the role of college masters.

An earlier version of this article posted online misstated the author of the piece. It is Ivan Hurtado, not Cameron Wallace.

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