Rebecca Hicks ’15- Barrett’s presence as an FYC benefits not only his hall, but all of Stewart. Though he is not my FYC, I have gone to him for advice, a chat, tea in his room, and he is always open and friendly. Having accessible, interesting, and positive people like Barrett around makes a huge difference in terms of feeling comfortable in a new environment. His presence would be greatly missed if he had to leave, by not only his hall but the entire community.
Zach Weiss ’15 (Stew 4)- I believe with the utmost certainty that Barrett is a compassionate and responsible human being who contributed to the wonderful dynamic of this hall in irreplaceable ways. For this reason, I believe his dismissal from the hall was the wrong decision, and that is why I am signing this petition. However, I also believe he must pay the consequences his clear lapse of judgment – I support the administration’s decision to release him from his employment.
Jake Wood ’15 (Stew 4)- Barrett is a great FYC . I cant imagine having such a great first semester without him. He’s made me tea when I was sick and has been really helpful for every problem we’ve had from registration to personal issues. We love Barrett.
Meredith White ’15- Barrett’s contribution to the Stewart community can be defined by intangibles that can’t be checked off in a concrete list of what makes a good FYC, but instead can be appreciated by the experience of living with him. While I realize firing Barrett is not a judge of his character, there is overwhelming good character evidence in this instance that it would be negligent not to address it. On any given night, Barrett can be found hosting an eclectic assembly of noisy freshmen, offering them tea, good music, and good stories while at the same time grading astronomy papers. His involvement never seems scripted or forced by a job description but is something that happens out of the formation of genuine relationships. Barrett has hugely impacted my transition into college, not only as an FYC but as a friend. Keeping Barrett in position sets a potentially dangerous precedent, I believe the benefits of his presence in Stewart greatly offset those dangers.
David Russell ’15 (Stew 4)- Barrett has played a tremendous part in making me feel welcome at Middlebury and on Stew 4, and I’m sure that most Stew 4 residents also feel that the tight-knit atmosphere we have is in large part due to Barrett’s efforts to cultivate it. Especially at the beginning of the semester when everyone was new to Middlebury, Barrett made sure we knew what was going on and that we could trust him. Because he was such a big presence at the beginning of the year, he is now an integral part of the Stew 4 community. His removal would leave a hurtful gap on our hall.
Jessie Ebersole 12- Although I have only ran into Barrett a few times around campus I was extremely distressed to hear of his dismissal as FYC, because of the kind of marked impression Barrett leaves on people immediately. I agree with his friend Cody when he says that most people who know Barrett would have trouble describing him as a mere acquaintance. Barrett is uniquely kind, welcoming and accepting. His friend Olivia is right that not everyone on campus can say hi to 3/4 of the people they walk by, and I think it is telling that Barrett cares enough about others that he has made the effort to reach out to so many.
I think the outpouring on this blog shows 1) the complex/diverging interpretations of the events with Luaay, 2) how valued Barrett is at Middlebury. The college at the very least acted hastily in its decision, without the insight of Stew’s residents, and should open an appeals process so their voices can be heard.
Unlike so many of the ways people mess up in college, if Barrett did make any mistake it was in trying to create too open of a community. Therefore, while the college may feel that some action needs to be taken, I do not think that his dismissal as FYC is appropriate, or constructive to the place Middlebury hopes to be.
Leah Robinson ’13- Barrett is one of the kindest, most supportive people I know at Middlebury. His judgement may have been skewed when handling whether or not to allow his guest to stay, but this can only be attributed to the fact that Barrett is accepting of everyone and always believes the best in people. While I acknowledge the incident may have caused some students to feel uncomfortable, or in some extreme cases unsafe, I know that if Barrett had been aware of the stress his freshmen felt due to Luaay’s presence, he would have taken action and asked Luaay to leave.
Rufus Raghunath ’15 (Stew 4)- When we first arrived here, Barrett told us: “This is now your family. Look after each other.” And in that spirit we have lived ever since, in no small way due to the constant efforts of Barrett to create a close-knit, trusting community. Dismissing an FYC is only reasonable if they prove themselves to be unfit for that role, but, while Barrett has certainly made some bad decisions, he has always proved himself a fantastic FYC.
Nico Kaminow ’15 (Stew 4)- Living on Stew 4, over the past few months I have gotten to know Barrett and I have so much respect for this man. I have never seen him in a bad mood despite having a fractured leg, that requires 3 months in a cast, and this whole ordeal. I have always been able to count on Barrett to be smiling when I see him in the morning, passing him on his little scooter, decorated with a bow and bell, while I’m on my way to Bi Hall. Barrett is a caring individual. He asks me about my swim meets and is genuinely interested in my response. He is welcoming and accepting; just the other night I heard some voices in his room so I went down the hall to hangout but he was with his own friends not Stew 4 guys, however, he welcomed me in and I didn’t feel as though I was intruding. Barrett is opinionated and strong willed. Although he might not be the most physically dominating figure on campus, he certainly will be seen and heard if he has something to say. Most importantly I trust him to be some one who would argue on my behalf regardless of whether or not I made a mistake. He is relaxed, always has a happy, positive aura about him and he is the perfect person to be an FYC. He has created a get atmosphere on our hall and, needless, to say my Middlebury experience so far would not have been the same without Barrett.