As one of the deans who works with Dean Susan Art on problematic student situations, I must say how appalled I was at the mean-spirited characterization of her in Friday’s editorial. With 20 years’ experience working with students, Susan Art has an unparalleled understanding of the constellation of factors that underlie student success in the College. In the 10 years since I have worked with her I have never once experienced a decision she has made to be “arbitrary.”
It is unfortunate that Junwan Kong’s friends have chosen to launch a protest against the decision not to readmit him to the College based on selective and partial e-mails. Using this partial information to form a judgment regarding the appropriateness of readmission makes as much sense as someone marching into the Admissions Office to demand to know why their best friend from high school was not admitted when they had similar grades, SATs, and activities. Sometimes there are other factors in play, and no, other students may not be privy to them.
I would hate to think that a case such as this—already identified as a rare occurrence in the leave-of-absence process—would color the reputation of Dean Art, whose history of fairness and thoughtfulness in working with students has been long and well deserved.
Associate Dean of Students