Johanne Lyngsø Jensen, Marcus Bennett and Nanna Lassen, all students at HA Pro, were thrilled back in the autumn of 2019. As intro administrators, they had just completed a two-week intro program for 116 newly enrolled HA Pro students, and the evaluation was clear. The new students were happy with the program, and the Program Director had also praised the intro team for pulling off “one of the best intro programs yet”.
After the intro period, however, CBS sent out 53 letters of consultation to intro guides and administrators from various programs – including HA Pro – requesting explanations about various issues, including comments in the Study Start Evaluation reports and cases of drinking alcohol before 5PM.
Based on the letters of consultation, 25 students were temporarily suspended for violating CBS’ rules for ethical behavior during intro, as well as its rules and regulations on academic conduct.
No one from the HA Pro intro team was suspended, but in the wake of the suspensions, Johanne Lyngsø, Marcus Bennett and Nanna Lassen would like CBS to consider a different approach to the problems with intro in the future.
“We fully agree with and respect CBS’ rules and that CBS must clamp down on cases where these have been breached. But when that’s said, we need a much broader discussion and dialogue about intro that involves all of us if we want to resolve the problems once and for all,” says Johanne Lyngsø Jensen and continues:
“Intro is much more than the cases reported in the media and a problematic drinking culture, and we must remember and cultivate that.”
Nanna Lassen makes a parallel to Danske Bank’s case of money laundering.
“When it was revealed that Danske Bank was under investigation for money laundering, all the other banks were not tarred with the same brush. It feels as if all of intro is being frowned upon. The idea of intro is to encourage people to stay at CBS, but CBS has forgotten that mission, it seems,” she says.
The importance of intro
Marcus Bennett, Johanne Lyngsø Jensen and Nanna Lassen were hired as intro administrators in spring last year and were excited about the job, which includes hiring intro guides and making sure that the rules and regulations are obeyed.
“Intro is the most important event for making sure you get off to a good start at CBS. I met my – now – best friends during intro. I wanted to give that experience to new students as well, knowing that it would take up a lot of my time,” says Marcus Bennett.
Nanna Lassen agrees:
“The transition to studying at the university is super tough, and the only reason why you stay is because someone waits for you in the hallway and supports you the second time you failed microeconomics,” she says.
After being hired, they all attended a seminar about intro hosted by CBS. There, the intro administrators were briefed about CBS rules, and a lot of time was spent focusing on what to be careful about and the consequences of violating the rules.
“After the seminar, we had the feeling that everything could go wrong, and even minor mistakes could look suspicious. I would rather CBS had said that, of course, we had to be careful, but would also acknowledge the job as intro administrators and highlight good examples from previous intros,” says Johanne Lyngsø Jensen.
The three administrators sat down and agreed that they would do everything they could to make an intro program beyond reproach. And they did that in close collaboration with the Program Director, who approved every activity.
Still, three comments in the Study Start Evaluation Report highlighted issues concerning alcohol. One comment described that students – not the intro team – had encouraged other students to drink more, and two comments indicated that alcohol was given too much focus.
“We had 116 students during intro, and it’s tough to pick a game or activity that everyone likes. Living in an age where it’s become more okay to speak your mind, it’s obvious that we will get comments like the three pinpointed. And we will probably see more grey-area cases,” says Marcus Bennett.
Johanne Lyngsø Jensen adds:
“The comments about the consumption of alcohol in our report reflect that we are in a period of rapid change when it comes to alcohol and the drinking culture in Denmark. Some want to drink less, while others want to drink a lot, which is sure to create conflicts,” she says.
The three intro administrators argue that it would make much more sense to discuss the issues – big and small – in the open, as some of the problems originate from “old habits and traditions”.
“At the moment, the problems are being taken care of behind closed doors, instead of taking into account the viewpoints and experiences of the intro administrators and guides,” says Johanne Lyngsø Jensen.
What about intro 2020?
Everyone agrees that the recent case of the temporary suspension has rubbed off on everything to do with intro. And not in a good way. Because, although a lot of HA Pro’s new students asked the intro administrators how to sign up for the job themselves ready for next year’s uptake, Marcus Bennett thinks CBS will have a hard time finding new intro administrators and guides.
“I understand why some students would think twice about being intro guides or administrators after this. At least, I wouldn’t think it was worth it, as everything you do is subject to suspicion. Or that’s what it feels like,” says Marcus Bennett.
Intro is much more than the cases reported in the media and a problematic drinking culture, and we must remember and cultivate thatJohanne Lyngsø Jensen
Although CBS had told the intro guides and intro administrators that they can always reach out to the program directors and CBS when in doubt or in need of help, Nanna Lassen isn’t sure she would use that opportunity.
“If something unfortunate happened during intro, I don’t think I would dare to call them. Maybe I would just try to fix it myself and pray that it wouldn’t show up in the evaluations because CBS has already given us the impression that it believes we are up to no good,” she says.
At HA Pro, Marcus Bennett, Nanna Lassen and Johanne Lyngsø Jensen will pass on their titles to a new team of intro administrators and guides, but they hope CBS will consider starting up the broader dialogue about intro with the recent intro teams and the ones to be as soon as possible.
“If CBS can host a seminar where it tells us what to do, I think it would be great to have one that goes the other way after intro. So much valuable knowledge about how to hold intro is lost every year, and I think we should share both the good and the less favorable examples in order to make intro even better together,” says Johanne Lyngsø Jensen.