Come on, OSE isn't the bad guy

The Office of Student Experience (OSE), hosted in that little yellow house at the corner of Hill and Del Mar, is comprised of:

  • residential experience,
  • student engagement and event management,
  • first-year programs,
  • finances and operations, and
  • the faculty in residence.

However, for undergrads at least, when we think of the OSE, the main topic that comes to mind is event registration. In my time as Ricketts Hovse President, I heard many complaints about this process — from their denial of rotation event proposals, to their attempt to pass off their Bechtel event as an interhouse. I AM frustrated, don’t get me wrong. I think that some of the events that were denied should be approved, and I think that some of the events that OSE has hosted have been poor in taste. However, the OSE is NOT the bad guy.

Too often, staff in the OSE office are villainized for simply doing their job. If an event is deemed unsafe, too loud, breaking a hazing policy, etc, there is often an uproar from the students. While I also dislike it when somebody tells me that I cannot do the event I had planned or I need to reconsider aspects of it (99% of cases), too often students fail to put themselves into other students’ shoes, and most times OSE has a good reason for intervention.

When you imagine a typical Caltech student, what do you picture? Maybe a student looking to squeeze one more hour in the day to finish the set due tomorrow? Too real for me. OSE is looking to care for this student — the student who just wants to go to college, have fun, and succeed academically. OSE is here as a resource and safety net for these students. When the houses propose events that are unpalatable to students who may not be as “into” house culture, often these events are asked to be reconsidered.

“OSE sucks because they won’t let us have more alcohol at our event!” — What about the students who then have to live with the smell of vomit outside their door for days on end?

“OSE is the worst because they treat us like children!” — What about the students who feel unsafe around the students who act like children?

I’m not saying OSE isn’t wrong sometimes. I disagree with them a lot, particularly regarding intervention in house culture. What I want us to consider, however, is that the decisions that the office makes are meant to make the students’ lives more eventful, equitable, and safe — even if they fall short in execution.

P.S. — Constantly shit talking OSE lowers morale more than OSE ever could.