Ask Charlotte Answers 11/19/07

Question: Charlotte, How come all of my professors require a slip from Perrella for an absence to account as "excused" when at the same time Perrella refuses to issue absence notices for classes? Just another example of the lack of communication within our campus.

Answer: I appealed to both Perrella Health Center and Academic Affairs for help with this. They agreed that Perrella will issue a note regarding an absence if a student has been seen at Perrella, and it's medically indicated that the student should not attend class. We all hope that this will improve communication on campus.

Question: Why do the bells go off at random times of the day? Is there something significant about the time at which they go off? I have been keeping track, and rarely do they go off on the hour, let alone at consistent times each day. While I'm sure whoever decided to start playing them had good intentions, they are really a disruption to classes and my learning. Thanks!

Answer: I discovered that there is an unwritten agreement among the churches and colleges in Oneonta to schedule their bells and carillons at different times so that they do not conflict with each other, and so that there is music throughout the day. I'm a bit embarrassed because I really should have known that-I've certainly been around long enough! But that is proof that one is never too old to learn. The reason for the timing of the bells has been more elusive. I have noticed that they seem to sound at 16 minutes after the hour (10:16, 2:16, sometimes 9:16), which I thought perhaps was a significant hour-but I have not been able to unearth any definitive answer on this subject. I'm sorry you find the bells a disruption to your classes and your learning. I, myself, barely notice them any longer-and you may find the same thing happening to you, once you become accustomed to them.

Question: Each time I go to Perrella Wellness Center I witness some nurse or other personnel violating HIPAA. What's up with that? Either it is a blatant violation (such as a nurse giving out a student's name from a list of wellness center visitors to a Campus Security Official, which I observed firsthand) to other subtle violations such as being insensitive to a student's reason for being there. For example, when a student whispers to a Perrella center staff member that they are there to see one of the counselors one would think that the personnel who is receiving that "whisper" would interpret that as a private and personal matter. Instead, I had to endure the embarrassment of having to listen to her loudly repeat "Oh, you're seeing Gary?" in front of the other students in the waiting room. What can be done about this?

Answer: I spoke to my friends at Perrella Wellness Center about this. They assured me that the only time Campus Safety is notified about a student at Perrella is when an injury occurs as a result of hazardous conditions such as a broken railing or icy steps-and only with the student's permission. A representative from Campus Safety will then come to Perrella to talk with the student and fill out an incident report. I'm sorry you felt that your privacy was not protected at Perrella. As you are no doubt aware, there are a number of counselors on staff at Perrella. In order to inform each counselor that his or her appointment has arrived, the staff needs to know with which counselor each student will be meeting. The Perrella staff uses discretion and sensitivity when directing the students to their counselors, and makes every attempt to respect the privacy of each student. You should feel free to communicate with the staff, or with the Director of the Wellness Center, Liz Morley, if you feel that this is not being done.

Question: I know that one of the tunes played by the bells on campus is "Men of Harlech," our alma mater, but what is the other song?

Answer: You are absolutely correct-the most commonly played melody is the Hartwick College alma mater. No one seems to know what the other song is…though it should soon change (perhaps to a more recognizable song) with the coming of the winter holidays.