Scripps' Sam Haynes serves as interim director, student advocate

By Megan Peterson '15 Sam Haynes has a new plan for the big, empty wall in his office in SARLO.

After a long day meeting with parents and students regarding on-campus housing, Haynes explained, he returned to his office in DOS to find a banner covered in kind words of appreciation and gratitude on his door. “The RAs made it for me,” he said. “It brought tears to my eyes.”

Advising Scripps’ RAs is just one of Haynes’ several new responsibilities as Scripps’ interim director of residential life.

Haynes, who arrived at Scripps College in 2011 after working for several different institutions in their student affairs offices over the course of twenty years, is no stranger to a heavy workload. At Drew University in Madison, N.J., he was the assistant dean of campus life and student affairs, overseeing several student life departments. Haynes also worked at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass., for a number of years as the associate dean of students and director of student activities, the same position he has held at Scripps before serving as an interim director of res life this year.

This meant more responsibilities for Haynes. He now commutes between his office in the Student Activities and Residential Life Office (SARLO) and his office in Dean of Students (DOS). In addition to advising this publication, Scripps Associated Students (SAS), and the Scripps Store, as well as planning and supervising the New Student Program (NSP), New Student Orientation (NSO), and the Peer Mentors, Haynes now oversees the RAs and hall directors and works to make sure that all Scripps students have a place to live.

That aspect of the job—finding the housing that all Scripps students are guaranteed—has proved the most challenging. “I had to ask 12 students on the waitlist to live off campus this fall,” Haynes lamented. After placing Scripps’ largest incoming class into housing—even though 75 percent of those students are living in triples, he said—there just wasn’t enough room to give everyone on-campus housing. “I was very unhappy about that.”

Now, he said, the big challenge is finding places for everyone coming back from abroad in the spring. “None of this sounds like much fun for me,” he laughed. “But it’s all to meet people’s needs.”

That personal investment in students manifests in ways other than finding beds for people.

“Our housing process is wrought with anxiety,” he said. “We have a system that could stand to be reviewed and/or updated. I am personally investigating [other] options.”

Though he knows he is also an administrator, Haynes asserted that he is and always has been a student advocate. “We had an incredibly hot fall, and I was made very aware of students’ concerns about it,” he said. “In particular, Kimberly was an oven.”

While he acknowledges that putting air conditioning in Kimbo is neither budgeted nor prioritized right now (the Humanities renovation and a new dorm understandably take priority), he still feels the problem shouldn’t go unacknowledged. “It would be irresponsible for me not to express these concerns,” he said.

Haynes will also be participating in training to become a Title IX investigator, and his office has worked hard to better incorporate training and initiatives to help survivors of sexual assault have the resources they need on campus. “There’s been increased activity on the part of our administration to be trained and also to educate students,” he said. These changes are partly to ensure that the college adheres with new Title IX provisions, but they are also in response to student concerns with the college’s policies and practices.

All of this might sound like a lot of work to a fainter soul, but Haynes’ ever-cheerful demeanor never seems to falter. “I really love working with students, and Scripps students in particular,” he said. “Scripps students’ drive to be leaders, to make things happen for their community. They always excite and motivate me.”

The banner the RAs made to surprise him, a physical representation of that motivation, will soon be up in his office in SARLO. “Stuff like that really confirm and reaffirm my work,” he said.

Though a search for a new director will soon be underway—a process, Haynes said, which will involve lots of student input—Haynes didn’t say he felt too taxed with all of this work.

“Right now, I still love doing what I do,” he said. “I’ve done 20 years, and, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve got 20 years to go.”