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