Trustees respond to student protests

To the Student Organizing Team of the Vassar Student/Labor Dialogue,
We would like to thank you for your respectful and passionate expressions of concern to members of the Board of Trustees regarding the recent
termination of employment of a member of the campus Safety and Security Department following his probationary period, and for your deep concern for how individual members of Vassar’s staff are treated.
We most certainly agree that every member of the Vassar community should be treated respectfully and fairly by the administration as well as by every other member of the community, unaffected by any bias based on race, religion, gender, national origin, or physical disability, among other things.
The Board of Trustees does not usually address personnel or other management issues, as ours is a policy and oversight role rather than one of day-to-day management. Moreover, all employees of the college are legally entitled to privacy, and we are therefore unable to share the details of this particular individual’s employment record.
However, in this particular case, in order to assure ourselves and our community that respect, fairness, and justice were all part of this personnel decision, we have looked into the decision and discussed it with members of the senior administration of the college, including the Director of the college’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
Based on our inquiries and review of the individual’s 90-day probationary period, we confirm that this termination was based on performance issues only, was not retaliatory in nature, and that the administration acted with respect, fairness, judiciousness, and without bias of any kind. We do note that this individual has options to pursue if he believes he was treated improperly, including through the grievance processes specified by the college and in his union contract.
It is our sincere hope that all of us–the Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and students–heed to the same high standards of fairness, respect, and accuracy of information in dealing with one another, even when dealing with highly charged situations. Anonymous, ad hominem attacks, like that on the acting Director of the Safety and Security Department, have no place on this campus.
It is the Board’s strong desire for Vassar that we become a positive model for how to deal with serious differences of opinion: one where our differences help improve the campus experience for every community member, where people can see into the lives of others, learn about different points of view, and come to understand them. We urge each member of our community to consider how they can contribute to this effort.

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