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December 14, 2012

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Resignation: ‘Many of the RA’s feel personally insulted’ Continued from page 1

...e-mail response to the prompts. “As I’m sure you understand, college administrators cannot comment on personnel matters.” Rumors have been circulating throughout campus regarding the nature of the split, but attempts to verify their validity were all quickly squandered even from the highest levels of the administration. “I hope that you understand that the college cannot comment on personnel matters,” President Jill Tiefenthaler said. “All involved deserve this confidentiality.” One college official said that if a CC employee were to divulge information regarding the resignations they could face termination. “I will for sure miss working with all of the students that I feel like I’ve bonded with and helped out during my time here,” Fagundo said. Paul York did not respond to calls, voicemails and social media messages requesting comment. “... Many of the RA’s feel personally insulted by the significant amount of secrecy surrounding the situation,” Weibel said. “For example, Residential Life has still not officially notified the Mathias staff of Nikki’s departure from the RLC position [as of Tuesday morning]. RAs have been trying to put together pieces of the puzzle from gossip, and that is unfair to us and to Nikki, as it does not paint an accurate picture of the events.” On Tuesday evening members of the Mathias RA staff met with Sara Rotunno, Assistant Director of Residential Life, to discuss Fagundo’s departure. “This message is to let you know that the college has accepted a letter of res-

ignation from Nikki, effective today,” Rotunno said in an e-mail to Mathias staff Tuesday morning and forwarded to The Catalyst. “She will remain here in her apartment through the remainder of the semester, but will not be serving in her RLC capacity.” A reporter from The Catalyst asked to attend the meeting but was denied access. “We will not be allowing outside constituents to attend,” Rotunno said. The news of York and Fagundo’s resignation reached the campus RA community this weekend and rumors began to simultaneously circulate throughout the college after the two former employees posted messages on social media sites alluding to their departure. On Saturday, York posted on Twitter: “#stuconduct pro in #sajobsearch.” Fagundo’s Facebook status on Friday read: “My ability to roll with the punches is impressive. Know what you’re worth. It makes getting *punched* so much easier.” “The people working in Mathias aren’t sure who to report to,” sophomore Elliot Mamet, an RA in Loomis, said Monday. “I think everyone was a bit unclear because it’s a personnel matter so we don’t get too much information, but I think they have been unclear about who their supervisor has been in the interim.” But the split hasn’t affected just the RA staff. “All the RLCs and Paul are really social,” Mamet said. “They hang out and go downtown together and what not. That’s the nature of the job -- you’re all working in the dorm, you hear sex noises, you get paid [poorly] and you’re living in a small apartment.” Many other campus administrators re-

plied to Fagundo’s Facebook posts relating to her resignation. On Monday afternoon Loomis RLC Zachary Kroger sent an e-mail to Mathias residents confirming that Fagundo was “leaving.” Several individuals came forward to The Catalyst and shared what they believed to be the events that led up to York and Faguno’s resignation. Those accounts could not be published, however, as those sources would only speak “off the record” and would not accept a condition of anonymity for fear of employment impacts and administrative discipline. York worked at the college for a number of years, first serving as an RLC for Slocum Hall and the southeast part of campus housing before becoming the Student Life Specialist last year. In his latest position, York worked with students facing disciplinary sanctions, revised the student Pathfinder outlining campus policies, and helped oversee Campus Safety. The specialist also worked closely as an advisor for the student honor council. Fagundo officially began working at the college at the start of last academic year as the RLC for Mathias, serving as an intern assisting with the Mathias renovations in the years prior to that. CC has already announced plans to replace Fagundo and York in their respective positions. “As for the positions, the college plans to hire a new Student Life Specialist for conduct in the next several months,” Turnis said. “During the transition period, Associate Dean of Students Rochelle Mason will work closely with Student Support Specialist Kat Hodgson and other staff to ensure that student needs

Paul York’s empty office in Worner. Photo by Veronica Spann.

are met.” For the remainder of the semester, Lauren Mocilac, a former RLC for the Western Ridge Apartments, will take over supervision duties in Mathias. “Sara Rotunno, assistant director for residential life, and her RLC team will also provide coverage and support to the RA staff and residents of Mathias during this transition period,” Turnis said. “The search for a new RLC for Mathias will begin immediately, with the goal of having that person in place by the start of Block 5.” As of Wednesday afternoon, both York and Fagundo were still listed on the CC website as being employees of the college and as still occupying their former positions. In Worner, the shades to Paul York’s office on the second floor are pulled down and the inside appears to be empty. The plaque outside his door still bears his name, however. Members of the Mathias RA staff have changed their Facebook “cover” photos along the top of their profile to the infamous McKayla Maroney “not impressed” face from the gymnast’s Olympic run this past summer. “I think that is how all of us are feeling,” said Weibel.

CC writing, journalism pioneer Ruth Barton remembered

The late Ruth Barton who worked for 40 years as a professor in the English department. Photo courtesy of the Communications Department.

The following is an excerpt from Michael Nava’s eulogy read at Ruth Barton’s memorial service. As every grateful student knows, great teachers impart life lessons as well as academic ones. Ruth was no exception. Yes, she gave me poetry, but more than that she gave me permission to think of myself as a writer by taking seriously what I wrote and treating me as if I were already published. And then she gave me even more; she loved me. I don’t say that sentimentally. Ruth was not a sentimental person. She was

a clear-eyed, clear-headed rationalist with a frontier woman’s stoicism in the face of life’s losses: the loss of her husband, of her beloved daughter. Life, she and I agreed, was basically a struggle. Literature helps make it bearable; the great works of literary arts illuminate our suffering and console us. Another helpmate is kindness. Ruth was kind. She was kind in the ancient sense of that word which derives from the Old English word for family. Not kind in the way that means “nice” – nice is a behavior that even a sociopath can learn, but kindness is bred in the

bone. Ruth was kind in the way that means connected; kin, kindred, kinfolk. Ruth’s kindness was brisk and practical and generous. I was desperately poor when I was a student at this school and Ruth knew that. Unobtrusively, she fed me at her table, sheltered me under her roof, and hired me for odd jobs to put some money in my pocket. The door of the Barton residence on Custer Street was always open to me. I know I was not the only beneficiary of her kindness, far from it. I know that generations of students sat at her dining table and poured out their hearts to her; their fears, their hopes, their conflicts, their aspirations. Unlike other adults who were quick to offer advice or admonitions, Ruth knew when to simply listen. She listened to every waif who appeared at her doorsteps with the same kind attention, as if she had not heard these outpourings a hundred times before, as if she did not know that we were simply being young and that time and perspective would lay to rest most of our troubles. She let us purge ourselves of our anxieties and we came away grateful and relieved. In this and in so many other ways, Ruth was kindness in action; she was love in all of its practical manifestations. And that lesson – how to be a good, kind, decent, loving person – that lesson was also not lost on us; indeed it may have been the most important lesson of all that we learned from Ruth. Another lesson I learned from her was to be true to my deepest experience of

myself. When Ruth told me I could be a writer, she gave me the permission to trust myself that no one else ever had. W.H. Auden – a poet about whose virtues Ruth and I mildly disagreed – wrote a poem called “Archeology” in which he says: Our school text books lie. What they call History is nothing to vaunt of, being made, as it is, by the criminal in us: Goodness is timeless.

What he is describing in those lines is what I call the secret history of humanity; it is the history of generations of women and men, who are mostly unknown to us, who have worked quietly but tirelessly to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, console the sick and dying, advocate for the imprisoned, and, like Ruth, educate the young. Sometimes they appear at decisive moments and leave such a large footprint that we know their names. Most of the time, however, they do their work in relative obscurity but, while their names may be forgotten, their acts of lovingkindness continue to send ripples into the stream of time. Those of us who are fortunate enough to know such women and men metabolize their goodness and carry it with us for as long as we live. Ruth was a figure in this secret history. The lives she touched, she changed for better. Mine was just one of them. Thank you, Ruth.


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