Open Letter to Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Ross
Dear Dr. Ross;
Last year, on June 29th, 2012, students were summarily locked out of their club, the WZRD radio station by actions taken by then-Director of Student Affairs Sharron Evans, and Media Advisor Tasha Neumeister. The reasons given for this extreme action were laid out in a Memo issued by Ms. Evans, which claimed a number of serious allegations against the members and practices of the WZRD Student Organization. The allegations stated that there were “misuse of funds”, bias and discrimination, and theft. Although Ms. Evans referenced the Code of Conduct, and used the word “complaint” numerous times in her Memo announcing her decision to bar the students from the station, no official charges were ever brought against any members of WZRD in any office on the campus of NEIU, nor any official hearings held to determine their validity. In point of fact, to this date, none of these allegations were ever found to have any basis in fact.
The immediate sanctions carried out by staff under your Vice President of Student Affairs office caused great harm to a significant number of students on the campus of NEIU. Despite claims by Ms. Neumeister and Ms. Evans that they had documents, evidence and witnesses, no proof has ever been provided to the student organization to back up their statements, no due process was granted, the students were punished before any investigations were made, and no findings or resolutions have ever been announced to either the students harmed, or to the student body and University community. I believe we all deserve an explanation, and a clearing of our names and reputations, and a welcome back into the University community in good standing. After six months of pursuing justice for our student organization, the students were allowed back in to the WZRD radio station facilities to resume the duties of running the radio station. We have been patiently waiting ever since January for an official announcement from your office about your decisions concerning our status, and the findings of the committees tasked with investigating the allegations.
Dr. Ross, it is a serious concern of mine that the persons responsible for causing these harms to students seemingly did so in retaliation for previous resistance to their attempts to take over management of the radio station, and that they have also seemingly been generously rewarded by promotions and salary increases subsequent to the actions taken.
Another issue of serious concern for me is the fact that Ms. Evans was promoted to her current position as Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities on July 1st, the day after shutting down the WZRD Student Organization “indefinitely”. ‘After having misused the Student Code of Conduct during her tenure as Director of Student Activities, by either deliberately not bringing official charges against students when complaints were made, or intimidating students with the threat of bringing charges based on the Student Code of Conduct, she has now created a Committee to Review and Revise the Student Code of Conduct. As a student on this campus, I shudder at the prospect that Ms. Evans is in charge of any office with authority over the rights of students.
In your introduction to the NEIU community in these pages two years ago, you stated you would be “available for students whenever…needed” and that you would “actively work to enhance the quality of student life”, Carpe Diem.
Peter Ali Enger, Alumnus and Student, NEIU