Administration reorganization puts heavy load on remaining staff

Due to faculty reorganization and employees retiring, two positions for administrative assistants opened in 2019. The positions were not filled by new employees. Instead, the university divided the work among current administrative assistants.

The changes affected administrative assistants within the School of Humanities, Arts and Education (SHAE) and the School of Social and Natural Sciences (SSNS).

Elaine Velozo, who oversaw languages, writing studies and professional development processes among other duties, retired along with Pat Vinacco, who oversaw various departments in SSNS.

As a result, the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences reorganized their structure and distribution of work to spread supports in all departments, meaning some employees were moved to a more “central location.”

One of the employees moved was Lori Medeiros in the Performing Arts Center, otherwise known as The Barn, next to the School of Law. Medeiros oversees the Music, Dance and Theater departments. She also oversaw Visual Arts until recently, when she was given the Education department instead. In March, Medeiros’ office was moved from the lobby of The Barn to the bottom floor of the School of Law.

Students and faculty have expressed deep concern about Medeiros’ location change.

Senior Hayley Haggerty spends a lot of time in The Barn. She met with SHAE Dean Cynthia Scheinberg, who handled a majority of this situation.

“She was very polite about it…but basically said that this is the way it is,” Haggerty said. Her biggest concern has been the “lack of communication.”

Junior Maggie Everett drafted a petition to keep Medeiros in her office in The Barn.

I started [it] because Lori is incredibly important to every single person in The Barn, staff and student alike, and her being relocated will have immediate effects on us all,” Everett said.

The petition got over 50 signatures, according to Everett. She then sent it to Scheinberg.

She basically said that what’s done is done but seems open to speak with me after she communicates with the Performing Arts staff about the change,” Everett said.

 The faculty within the Performing Arts department has voiced their thoughts as well. Some faculty said that many of Medeiros’ responsibilities require physical presence. For example, Medeiros was located in the lobby where she was able to greet prospective students and families since self-guided tours of the building are difficult as classes are constantly active.

Medeiros also supervised the Steinway grand piano in the lobby so that it does not get damaged. The piano requires maintenances and consistent hydration, which Medeiros handled.

She is responsible for managing the box office and event tasks. She works on show posters, flyers, programs, contracts, field trips, budgets, guest artist needs, reservations, event tickets, London study abroad program details and more, according to faculty members.

 “I have always had a love for the arts, so I find it rewarding to work with performing arts students and faculty and the outside community involved in the Performing Arts Center,” said Medeiros. “There is so much that goes on in The Barn on a daily basis and interpersonal relations are the focus of the Performing Arts department.”

Performing Arts faculty have expressed a significant amount of concern regarding the subject that The Barn is a hub for culture and a multifunctional facility, making them fear that losing her presence would be detrimental to the Performing Arts programs.

“She was a constant motherly presence who had the answer to every question and never hesitated to help me feel at home,” Everett said. “I communicate with her basically daily and not only is it an academic challenge but an emotional disrupt.”