by Dexter Woodlawn
Anticipation was ripe just before 6 p.m. last night as the world of college administration eagerly awaited the announcement of the consolidation vote of the two major student affairs organizations, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). The two organizations have operated independently, but with similar missions, for decades, coming together only for a traditional joint meeting every ten years.
The proposed consolidation was the most discussed piece of legislation by either organization in their respective histories, and the lively discussion leading up to the vote grew increasingly emotionally charged as the end of the process neared.
“It’s the most important decision higher education has ever faced,” said James Rankin, a counseling center employee at Mother Madre University who says he voted against the consolidation. “I can’t sleep or concentrate on anything at work because I keep thinking about the merger.”
After a month-long balloting process, the two organizations announced yesterday that the organizations would remain separate.
“I think this might be the end of universities,” said Belinda Ripple, a first-year graduate student who belongs to ACPA. “I’m studying student personnel, but now I think I might quit. I don’t know what to believe about our collective values anymore.”
“This travesty occurred because only the seasoned professionals in NASPA were allowed to vote,” said the provost from Rockerfeller State University, who lobbied hard for the merger. “Graduate students, who are just learning about the field, should have had a major voice instead of being marginalized.”
Outside of the relatively small community of student affairs professionals, the rest of higher education failed to notice.
Fiona Grace, vice president of external relations of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), commented, “Those two kids were thinking of merging? I didn’t even know they were dating.”
Similar responses came from the American Council of Education (ACE) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Most interesting was the email response from a senior member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that simply read, “Huh?”
It is anticipated that discussion will continue, and some current student affairs administrators now have to make decisions. Kevin Milligan, conduct officer at Dallas Central College tweeted, “Well that does it! Now I’m only going to be a member of one anyway!” Milligan has yet to announce his allegiance.
Others encourage administrators to move on, like Maryland State College Dean Rebecca Nance who remarked, “We still have to go back to work tomorrow.”