by Ben Selman
I presume that I am one of the "South Hall drug protesters" who Alex Goddard feels "need[s] to wake up to [the] reality of [the] world." I feel that it is you, Mr. Goddard, who needs to wake up to reality. You claim to present the "whole truth," but nearly every assertion you make in your "essay" is erroneous.
First, I assume that your cute little "Fuck me ... " introduction is a reference to my leading the crowd at the 3/14 rally to yell "Res Life fuck off." The Review (March 15) erroneously quoted me as saying "fuck you Res Life." The distinction is minor, but I believe it is indicative of your inability to properly cite facts.
Your other errors are far more egregious. You claim the reports that Matt Holford smoked marijuana in South "were hardly unsubstantiated." The substantiation you give is that Security was called "three times in one day. [italics yours] It's on record." You obviously have never read the security reports pertaining to Holford's case, because there is no record of three calls being placed in one day. Holford's neighbor, Brad Sokal, did place three calls in one day, but only one of them went to Security; the other two were made to the police and Res Life. More importantly, the Security reports state that "no odor of marijuana" was ever found to be emanating from Holford's room. According to your logic, I could call Security and tell them you were smoking crack in your room, and this would constitute a substantiated claim that you smoked crack.
Your next ridiculous assertion is that "due process was not violated." You apparently don't understand the concept of due process; you state that Holford's being "confronted numerous times" and being "asked to stop" make for due process. "Due process" means "the process which is due," and in this case, the proper procedure would have been for Holford to be taken to Judicial Board. Instead, Mean Dean Charlene Cole-Newkirk (ab)used her power to issue emergency evictions against Holford. How Holford's alleged use of marijuana constitutes an emergency situation still escapes me.
You state that Holford "was definitely bothering those around him." Why then, did 13 out of the 14 students (not including Holford and Sokal) living on Holford's hall, plus the student living directly above Holford, sign statements stating that Holford had never bothered them with drug use, noise or any other activity? You obviously don't know a damned thing about the events you expound upon in your miserable essay.
The catalogue of errors continues. Brad DeCecco, the RC of Holford's section, didn't "ask" the Review to leave, he ordered them to leave. I know because I was present when he did this. And DeCecco "was just protecting the resident from any incriminating evidence that might leak out"? Leak out to whom? The idea of Mr. DeCecco wishing to "protect" Holford and his friends seems at odds with the fact that DeCecco lied at least once to Community Board (he claimed that a sign on Holford's door threatened "illegal," not - as it clearly stated - "legal" action) and issued statements which claimed that an e. e. cummings love poem posted on his (DeCecco's) door was a "death threat" from Holford! Your bit about Res Life trying to protect Holford's "right to privacy" is further nonsense. Dianne Ripley, RCC of East, violated J-Board confidentiality rules and Holford's privacy by telling Jessie Grant, RCC of South, about Holford's pending J-Board case dealing with events in East. This information then got leaked to DeCecco and Sokal, so Holford was branded a troublemaker before he even moved into South.
Your statement that "Oberlin College is under pressure by the U.S. government to enforce the drug policy, lest we lose federal funding for financial aid" is rubbish. It is true that Oberlin's drug policy must meet certain guidelines to receive federal aid under the 1986 Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act; the current policy fits these guidelines perfectly. The U.S. government doesn't give a rat's ass about what goes on in South Hall. RCs and other Res Life employees are under pressure from Cole-Newkirk, who - despite what she says to the contrary - is an anti-drug zealot and wishes to make harsher Oberlin's treatment of drug users, just like she did at St. Mary's (April 26 Review).
Finally, you wonder why Res Life bears the brunt of the anger from students like me. Res Life is the organization responsible for Holford's uncalled-for persecution. Seven of the eight people who testified against Holford at his Community Board hearing are Res Life employees. Res Life employees do not serve students so much as they harass, bust and bully them. If Res Life weren't staffed primarily by dipshits like yourself, 300 people wouldn't be chanting "fuck off" at you.
So welcome to the real world, Mr. Goddard. In the real world, writers (like you) who don't know what they're talking about get their essays torn to shreds by writers (like me) who do know what they're talking about. In the real world, corrupt institutions (like Res Life) sustain angry criticism from the public (as happened at the March 14 rally). And yes, in the real world, people (like Matt Holford) get screwed by authorities (like Charlene, Queen of Mean). Perhaps it is most important to realize that, in the real world, authorities (like the Mean Dean) who abuse their powers lose a great deal of respect (like Mean Queen Dean Charlene, who apparently has already done so [Review, April 26, pages 4,5,6,11,13; [March 15, page 14]); sometimes, they end up "resigning" (as A. G. Monaco did - and, if I understand correctly, as will half of Res Life's staff come next year) and nobody misses them when they are gone. Now stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. "Welcome to the Real World."
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 15; February 23, 1996
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