August 20, 2005


Case of the hovering parents: Universities laying ground rules to give freshmen more independence (Sarah Schweitzer, August 20, 2005, Boston Globe)

Suzanne Alund would dearly like to follow the ground rules suggested by Northeastern University administrators at orientation for parents of incoming freshmen. The 49-year-old from Albany, N.Y., has committed them to memory: Do not call a student, let her call you; do not e-mail in lieu of calling; do not call the university president when a roommate situation flares.

But eyeing her daughter as the two sat side by side during an orientation break, Alund said her motherly instincts guide otherwise.

''How well I am going to stick to the plan, I don't know; it's a big hole in here," she said, patting her heart. ''I know I'm going to be tempted to IM her."

Parents have long suffered the pangs of separation when a child ventures out of the nest and onto a college campus. But college and university administrators say that parental overinvolvement, from overcalling a student to overcontacting administrators, has become a pressing issue. Schools have even adopted measures to keep parents from intervening unnecessarily.

We had one phone for 60 guys in our fraternity--it seldom got answered. I kind of feel progressive.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 20, 2005 11:43 AM

I'm confused. Mother Sheehan and her Hollywood friends consider 18 year olds to be children. But colleges want to give them more independence and freedom. Is that a wise thing to do with children so young?

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at August 20, 2005 7:04 PM

Yeah - out of sight, out of mind.

OTOH, if serious problems are present, such as my friend who wound up in a suite at Bryn Mawr with 2 raging militant lesbians and a mousy victim-like wraith, having her father (a top litigator in Pittsburgh) threaten to sue the University President PERSONALLY was the only answer. She was given a different room. The lesbians picketed for a bit, and then moved on to other entertainment.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 20, 2005 7:04 PM


If your family gives enough money you get a single...and admitted...

Posted by: oj at August 20, 2005 7:18 PM

Bad advice for normal-type parents.

How many college students initiate calls home sans problems ?

Sane parents should call every once in a while.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 20, 2005 7:46 PM

Sane kids should dodge the calls.

Posted by: oj at August 20, 2005 8:05 PM

"one phone for 60 guys in our fraternity--it seldom got answered."

But you had each other on Saturday night.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 20, 2005 9:26 PM

"one phone for 60 guys"

Shows how out of touch you are. These days they have cell-phones surgically implanted while they are in High School.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 20, 2005 9:33 PM

These parents are ones that were doing drugs and having sex when they were in college in the 70's.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 21, 2005 12:44 PM