Simmons staff turnover causes confusion and stress


Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez

Entrance to the main college building, obstructed by construction signage.

Abrielle Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Since the Simmons Voice first reported on administrators leaving the University, more staff
have called it quits in a number of departments leaving students and remaining staff stressed,
confused, and disorganized.

According to Instagram posts from @simmonsadvising, the Office of Academic Advising lost four of their original six advisors from May of 2020. They have since hired four new advisors. Simmons Advising did not respond to a request for comment. The Office of Residence Life has lost three members since the beginning of the semester, and the Office of Student Leadership and Activities (OSLA) has been disbanded and is now re-named to the Center for Leadership and Engagement (CLE).

Before the semester began, the Office of Residence Life was operating at a slightly decreased
Capacity, missing just one of three area coordinators, but now they are missing 50% of their staff and the office is lacking about 120 hours of full and part time work, said Mira Revesz, a graduate resident director in the Office of Residence Life.

Revesz said she has felt the three staff losses since the beginning of the semester and is still trying to find balance between her responsibilities as a graduate student and her job as a resident director.

“When things aren’t blowing up in my face, it’s a good gig,” Revesz joked about her job. Revesz said that the loss of staff in the office greatly affects students and especially the over 30 resident advisors.

Student affairs officer for the Student Government Association, Lauren Howard, has struggled with finding information for clubs, organizing events, and offering guidance to other students in her role. As student affairs officer, she was in charge of organizing the Connections Carnival that took place at the beginning of the semester. She said that organizing the carnival was, “brain-numbing at times because I had no clue where to get information I needed for organizing.”

Howard mentioned that the CLE does not have a point of contact on the Simmons Website and they are severely understaffed compared to the staff OSLA had. The change also came at a challenging time when students were transitioning back on campus. Howard said that the risk for mass confusion and misinformation became heightened with all of the transitions.

Despite the stress from the lack of communication Howard has been experiencing, she remains at her position in the Student Government Association. “I like having a great purpose, I like helping people,” said Howard.

Revesz said that the Office of Residence Life is currently looking to fill positions and that hopefully with more staff, both the resident advisors and students will feel more supported.

Diane Grossman, professor of philosophy and women and gender studies and director of the Honors Program, said that it is not uncommon for new leadership roles to drive resignation. She described that the transition to Simmons’ new President, Lynn Perry Wooten, who started in the summer of 2020, probably caused turnover. But, she noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had driven more people to leave than usual.

Grossman stated that the pandemic allowed many people to re-evaluate their lives and priorities. There also came natural career moves for some people that presented, “other options and other opportunities.” While she understands why people needed to leave, she also knows that the losses affect the remaining staff.

Grossman said she has taken on more since the staffing losses and is stretched very thin. In terms of support and building relationships, Grossman and Revesz share the same sentiment that the continuous turnover makes it hard to support students the way they would like to.

After losing over a year of having students on campus, Grossman said that the university is
“fiscally conservative.” Grossman said she is unsure if Simmons is planning on hiring more staff and replacing those who have left.