Letter to the editor: Frustration toward administrative decision

On Thursday, August 26, the first day of class this fall semester, Daria “Dotty” Slick was put on administrative leave to her shock and that of all the students she worked with as the Director of Intercultural Affairs for the past few years. This baffling decision immediately stirred response from all the student groups under the Multicultural Leadership Council whose plan of action against the unsettling news was to compile a document of testimonials from individual students, faculty and staff asserting the importance of Dotty’s position at Grinnell College. On Thursday, September 9, this document was delivered to President Raynard Kington, Vice President of Diversity and Achievement Elena Bernal, Dean of Religious Life Deanna Shorb, Director of Human Resources Kristin Lovig and the editors of The Scarlet and Black. Since then, the administration has responded briefly, to protect Dotty’s privacy, as a matter of policy. She is currently appealing her case.

Having worked with Dotty Slick on behalf of the Student Organization of Latinos and Latinas, the Stonewall Resource Center, the Multicultural Orientation Program, and the Peer Connections Program, I am one of the many students directly affected by this vague decision. Ever since I came to Grinnell, I have always been able to rely and depend on Dotty Slick.  When I first arrived to this college from Los Angeles as a Posse Scholar, apprehensive about whether I would be able to adapt to and survive this place, I was wholeheartedly welcomed by Dotty, who had volunteered to serve as my Posse Mentor. All of my Posse, in fact, became more than comfortable with her. We certainly soon considered Dotty more than a mere mentor—she was someone we knew, and would be at our side, all the way until graduation.  

Now finally a senior, I cannot help but find myself confused, frustrated, angry, but more than anything, confused.  How can someone so valuable to my college experience—to whom I haven’t been grateful enough for all her time—someone I have always thought as indispensable to this campus, be suddenly dismissed, so abruptly and without lucid reasoning, and of course, dismissed only to my—and I’d swear to many other students’—detriment? 

Because it seems unclear who I should go to for answers, who I should direct my frustration to, and who will continue guiding me in what will be most decisive year at Grinnell, I find myself vulnerable, to be honest, and I hate to say it, but now even suspicious, for Dotty was the only administrator on this college that I could genuinely open up to.  
I feel the gap of communication between the administration and the significant number of students affected by Dotty’s leave has only been stretched further. For what is the commitment to diversity and achievement, I ask you now, when the one person who has consistently devoted herself to all the underrepresented students on campus has suddenly been displaced, leaving us here misguided and hopeless?