To Whom It May Concern,
As freshmen, our FYCs were negligent, unsupportive, absent, and even disruptive, often more so than other freshmen on the hall. Our halls had little to boast of in terms of community. However, our FYCs never technically committed any punishable offense, as Barrett did. Instead, they quietly failed to offer the support which is a central–even the central–part of their job description. As freshmen, we didn’t know how severely underperforming our FYCs were; it is only in retrospect, and in observing the environment on halls like Barrett’s, that we realized what a vast effect an invested and available FYC can make on the freshman experience. Even as upperclassmen, we are envious of the members of Stew 4, who get the privilege of living in a place with an open door and a listening ear a stone’s throw away.
It is understandable that the College would like to believe that all of its FYCs are as exceptional as Barrett, but this is simply not the case. Were that true, or if Barrett had been a lackluster FYC up to this point, then perhaps they could justify firing him based on this one-time transgression. However, there are numerous FYCs around this campus whose cumulative lapses in judgment–or, even worse, failure to make any judgments at all–are much more damaging to their freshmen than Barrett’s single offense. The message that the College is effectively sending, to both its freshmen and to current and potential members of its Res Life staff, is that it is much preferable to be quietly inactive than to take the risk of being generous, outgoing, and kind. That kind of stifling environment is not what this college is about. We were promised a place where risk-taking is encouraged and just interaction between faculty, staff and students is guaranteed. Are Res Life members expected to adhere to a stricter code of conduct than the lay-student? Of course. We feel, however, that Barrett has so exceeded that code up to this point that he is owed some benefit of the doubt in this little scandal, which has been blown wildly out of proportion. Does Barrett’s poor decision merit some disciplinary action? Yes, probably, but the crime here is simply not deserving of the time. If, instead of being fired, Barrett were put under probation, we are sure that the only result of the observation will be newfound respect for the incredible dedication and respect he has for his hall and his position as an FYC. He is one of the good ones, and they aren’t all good.
April Dodd and Amanda Reis ’13