Last fall an RA reported to her superiors that her abuser was present on staff. After an entire semester of complaints from a multitude of staffers about this abuser, the Director of Res Life relented. But not through investigation. Instead she created a new position for the accused RA so that he could be moved without changing his financial compensation. He was granted new housing and a new job not made available to other students. His actions were never reported. Meanwhile, the non-student staff of Res Life chose to discontinue the positon of the Assistant AC in Res Life. The Assistant AC’s role is administrative, but is also critical as the head RA (the RA for RAs). This role advocates for RAs’ needs and serves as formal support. This year Res Life made clear to us that they will protect those accused of abuse, while doing nothing to validate or support the survivor, let alone investigate the claims. Also, through their removal of the RAs’ only advocate, they showed us that we RAs are not deserving of support or voice at this school.
Hampshire College Resident Life consistently gaslighted me as a survivor of sexual assault, invalidated my concerns, and ignored ample complaints from multiple RAs of sexual harassment occurring on staff. This caused me to quit my job as an RA due to feeling unsafe and disrespected by the Director of Res Life, my Area Coordinator (AC), and another AC’s silence. Time and again they did not listen to or prioritize the needs of survivors of sexual violence and are yet to be held accountable for this.
In the fall of 2015, multiple Hampshire RAs came forward to make complaints about a staff member sexually harassing others on staff. We made the Director of Res Life aware of all of our concerns. She met with the accused student, and proceeded to ignore the situation until the RAs signed a formal letter of complaint and placed it on the president and the Dean’s desks. When an RA asked the director, “How can you allow someone who has been accused of conduct violations so many times be an RA?” she responded, “When did [he] ever violate conduct?” verifying she never believed our complaints. Res Life is unsafe for survivors. Res Life silences survivors.