Nobody likes the dean of students. It’s a role that’s the root of all evil in Necessary Roughness, the source of all the buffoonery in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the butt of all the pranks in Old School, the obstacle to all the fun in Animal House.
Yet, somehow, Dean of Students Jeri Cabot has had this role for 12 years without being taken down by a fraternity brother, a car explosion or a Homecoming debacle. In fact – for the most part – students even like her.
“They used to tease me and call me Dean Wormer when I checked the fridges at the fraternity houses for alcohol. I’d tell them I would put them on double secret probation if I found anything,” laughs Cabot, who admits that there’s some truth to the movies’ caricatures of deans of students, though the part she plays is much more dynamic. “I have to both advocate for the students and hold them accountable. The bottom line is, I’m here to help them find their path
Cabot came to the College in 1989 as a visiting assistant professor of political science and continued to teach as an adjunct when she moved to the positions first of student media coordinator and then of director of student judicial affairs. She played a major role in creating the College’s Division of Student Affairs, too.
“I’ve grown up at the College,” she says. “And I want to help our students grow up here, too.”
It may not be the most popular part to play, but Cabot pulls it off with so much respect and fairness, she wholly debunks the sullied reputation of the much-maligned dean of students … at least until Hollywood comes out with the next college comedy.