I have just received word that our beloved Mark St. John has resigned his position as Head of the Student Activities Center. I feel that his departure means a great loss for the college, particularly for the student body by whom he is so much admired. We will miss him immensely. He has always lent a helping hand, has made non-academic life here at St. Johnís an enriching experience, and has given many of us a second chance. After being denied a few jobs on campus, Mark offered me a position at the front desk. Needless to say I felt a bit at fortuneís end, and Mark was my last resource. I took the job because I needed money for food and books, and I came to enjoy the position because I loved working for Mark. He was so kind, flexible and professional. And he was, after all, a Johnnie-- funny, smart and diplomatic. He represented for me what a model graduate should be: one who does his job well, yet cares for people first and foremost.
Now that he is leaving I feel a great deal of frustration, as I have come to understand that his decision to leave was largely influenced by people working above him. While working at the gym at the beginning of the year, I became a second-hand witness to a lot of criticism Mark was receiving from the administration. I could not collect all the details of the criticism, but the general idea seemed to be that Mark was not taking enough care of the facility, that the gym was generally not well-kept and that student activities were not being organized efficiently. I remember laughing to myself over these accusations. Mark created a great environment in the gym, and the occasional disarray could only be attributed to the fact that one Buildings and Grounds employee was assigned to daily cleaning. Mark wanted to make the studentís job at the gym managerial. He wanted us to be a part of the decision-making. He was not averse to us mopping floors, but he wanted our duties to extend more into the extracurricular activities and planning.
During my brief time at the gym at the beginning of first semester, I also witnessed the hiring of the gymís new front-desk coordinator, C.J. McCune. Once she was hired, Markís duties were marginalized to include only out-door activities. In my humble opinion, Mark should have remained Head of the Student Activities Center in all its branches, and although I found C.J. to be a very motivated, organized individual, I found that she was not very tactful with the student staff. Three of us (including myself) resigned within the first few weeks of her hire. I found that she had a very good work ethic, and I saw the difference in the cleanliness of the gym, but these improvements seemed inconsequential when I considered the poor diplomacy of my new boss. I feel that C.J. is a poor replacement for one such as Mark St. John. I do not know the details of why he was forced to quit, but I feel that the administration has made a grave oversight and has not considered the voice of the student body in exerting its pressures on Mark. I regret that this letter, among the others you receive today, has arrived too late, but perhaps it will serve as a reminder that we Johnnies are affected by the decisions you make in the quiet of your offices and halls, away from the light of our input.
Daniel W. Boyer