New Man on Campus

 Ronald Carrier socializing (standing far right).  He often spent time with students  (“Administration”).

When a new president comes to town, the question is never “Will things change?” but rather, “How will it change?”

Change certainly rang true with President Ronald Carrier, and it surfaced in his incoming 1971 address to the student body. He confidently challenged students by stating:

Madison College offers you the opportunity to make your experience at Madison whatever you wish it to be, and, as a result, you will have the responsibility to define the person you want to be – the values you want to live by – the life style you want to adopt (“President Carrier,” 1).

He, again, reiterated this idea in the fall handbook:

although the college is involved in an educational partnership with you, the responsibility for what you become is yours.  Go about it with intelligence, care, creativity, and purpose (“President Ronald E. Carrier’s Message to New Students,” 2).

Dr. Carrier never questioned his desires to free Madison College from lingering in loco parentis laws as he sought to build a curriculum with activities directly meeting the interests of students.

Secondly, Dr. Carrier dissolved the barriers that often exist between administrators and their student body through accessibility.  He willingly embraced the idea of the college student as an adult.  Dr. Carrier visited “all 19 of the dormitories to get acquainted with the students” upon his arrival (Murphy).  Alumni Susanne Myers commented that Carrier often took time during the day to speak with students when he was out and about (Myers) and alumni Joe Carico recalls Carrier sitting in the dugout during baseball games (Carico).  He built an atmosphere of mutual respect.

In addition, Carrier quickly formed the College Council by 1972 that managed all the affairs of the campus (“University Council Minutes, October 19, 1972).  Thus, the hierarchy of command went directly from President Carrier to the University Council to the SGA to the student body (Student Government…1973-1974, p.36).  Representation at such a high level gave a more direct voice on behalf of the student body and they quickly took advantage of it.  Students worked in partnership with the administration to gain more liberal policies on campus, including alcohol.  Dr. Carrier maintained the philosophy  “If you are going to drink, I’d rather you drink here” (Carrier).   Thus, the changed attitudes towards students and their acknowledgement as legal adults paved the way for students to engineer their own alcohol policies.  It also permitted students to mature within the confines of the college’s backyard.

 

Images Cited:

Cover Image:  “Administration,” 1975 Bluestone, Harrisonburg, VA:  James Madison University, 1975, Accessed April 8, 2012 from http://archive.org/stream/bluestone197567jame#page/152/mode/2up. Frame created by Charity Derrow, in PowerPoint, April 9, 2012.

“Administration,” 1975 Bluestone, Harrisonburg, VA:  James Madison University, 1975, Accessed April 8, 2012 from http://archive.org/stream/bluestone197567jame#page/152/mode/2up. Frame created by Charity Derrow, in PowerPoint, April 9, 2012.

Works Cited:

Carico, Joe, “Class Lecture,” History 337 Local History Workshop, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, April 9, 2012.

Carrier, Ronald, PhD. “Class Lecture,” History 337 Local History Workshop, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, March 14, 2012.

Carrier, Ronald, PhD. “President Carrier Addresses Students,” The Breeze, September 17, 1971.

Myers, Susanne, “Class Lecture,” History 337 Local History Workshop, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, April 2, 2012.

Murphy, Pat, “Carrier Says of Madison,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, VA, December 4, 1971.

“President Ronald E. Carrier’s Message to New Students,” Student Government Association Student Handbook 1971-1972,” Harrisonburg, VA:  Madison College, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Student Government Association Student Handbook 1973-1974, Harrisonburg, VA:  Madison College, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“University Council Minutes,” Control # PR2005-1115 1972-2003 University Council Minutes, Box 1, Series 1, Folder 1, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, October 19, 1972.