Newspaper: Dickinsonian
Date: April 12,1979
Article: In crisis – doing what you do well
Author: Jeffrey W. Blinn

Playing the guitar, running, writing articles, manning the radio station, conducting anthropological studies, taking radiation readingsā€¦..

These were just some of the activities people engaged in at the College last week in a time of potential disaster. According to President Sam A. Banks, a psychologist by training, people in time of potential disaster prefer to do what they do well. Banks said this is because satisfaction needs become stronger as security, the other basic need, diminishes.

For those who remained at the College last week, relationships came to play a larger role, said Banks at the Friday, April 6, afternoon seminar. For example, faculty and administrators dined with students, something Leonard Goldberg, dean of Educational Services had been encouraging.

Goldberg articulated the general consensus if the students, faculty and administrators at the seminar, saying he sensed a “warmth between people.”

The College president noted that even those students who left the campus were going toward older relationships.

On t-shirts, those who remained on campus were silk-screening quips such as “I survived Three Mile Island.” This, said Banks, was an example of illusion of centrality which is a common occurrence during a time of crisis. For example, at Nagasaki, those people not directly under the A-Bomb still reported that they were directly under the bomb, explained Banks.

Another example of illusion of centrality was related by a student. Upon speaking to a parent, relative, or concerned friend, the people to relieve the concern would talk of the great distance of 24 miles that the College is from Three Mile Island. But, as soon as the concern was alleviated, the person would quickly retort, “But I’m only 20 miles away.”

Banks concluded that “panic doesn’t occur in disasters as much as people think; what really occurs is shock, and then euphoria when people hear that danger has passed.”

This seminar was just one of several that were held in place of cancelled classes the week of April 2.