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Diluting Leadership 1
jake barnwell 12 online editor volume 86
April 26, 2012

Imagine my surprise and subsequent dismay when it was announced that peer counselors would no longer be allowed to apply for proctorship at the end of junior year. Of course there had been rumors my sophomore year, but this proposed division was first officially announced last year. I was not personally affected, as I was not a peer counselor (nor did I have any intention of being a proctor), yet I was still struck by the school’s rather audacious motion to actively separate proctors and peer counselors.

That announcement seemed to catalyze what has indubitably turned out to be the administration’s attempt to diffuse the roles of leadership at Deerfield. As of now, any student potentially interested in being a proctor must actually choose among proctor, peer counselor, head peer tutor, AHC member, and DC member. As a rough estimate, these groups alone would comprise some fifty to sixty seniors, constituting around 25% of the senior class.

I doubt that I’m alone when I say that this number is ridiculous. There is no reason for the school to oblige a quarter of the senior class to hold supposed “leadership positions” after the effective buccellation of leadership privileges, wherein the school stands behind the altar, meting out leadership positions to the students, one position per student.

In all, current arguments make an appeal to time commitment and consequent scheduling conflicts. However, there is not substantial conflict to warrant enforcing the strict separation of these leadership positions. Furthermore, a student should be given the autonomy to be able to decide for himself if his selection of activities will require more time than he can spare.

If a person has the qualities to be a good leader, he shouldn’t be bound by a stringent one-per-person edict that serves to artificially inflate the number of students that “hold leadership positions” on campus. The reason that some proctors were, for example, peer counselors in the past is that they were good leaders, not because of some stroke of luck that benefited them at the expense of other seniors. It is no coincidence that, in many cases, the best proctors are peer counselors and vice versa. It is impossible to successfully dilute leadership, because leadership is not a nominal title handed down by the heavens, but instead a quality that only some people have, by no means enforceable by anyone but the people themselves.