This happened a long time ago but it stings to think about it. It’s why Facebook friends weren’t really friends. It’s what it means to be socially othered. It’s when you get the message that no one gives a shit about you.
When I was desperate for housing, way back when, I saw a few of my other college buddies also looking for places. They asked on Facebook. Voila, instantly, another person from my college offered them a room or part of their home. Now these were people that knew me and knew that I, too, was looking. I was not offered a place nor offered anything. I also noticed my friends from college weren’t speaking to me anymore. I was so turned off I wanted to cry. And yes, envious a little bit, too. Why others seemed to have it so much easier and I got discrimination and loathing. After that happened multiple times I really wanted to get away from everyone. I knew something very bad had happened, behind my back, something I hadn’t even started. They were talking, and whatever they were saying, whoever started it sure did not do me any favors. The blocking, denying, not talking to me anymore, unanswered emails, unfriending, bullying, and nasty comments were just too much.
I guess maybe six weeks ago I spoke to the college dean. This was after a nasty argument I had with someone at the college that I had known well. I was shocked over the whole thing and realized that this was discrimination, plain and simple. I went to the college Handbook and checked their policies. Sure enough, whatever policies were in place had sure not been followed.
So I pointed this out to the dean.
- As an alum, I am still a member of the Goddard community, as per the Handbook.
- If my behavior post-Goddard was objectionable to anyone, the policy states that I should have been notified of that specific behavior that someone or the group found objectionable. It seems that they were vague and couldn’t pinpoint a behavior at all. Instead, rather nonspecific terms were used to describe my character, such as “negative” and other words that are basically meaningless terms. They didn’t find any specific objectionable behavior. Sounds to me like someone did a psychic reading on me and decided they didn’t like what the 8-Ball said. Impressive, eh?
- I was not ever notified. Instead, there was an obvious group motion to cease communication with me. I pointed out to the Dean that the Silent Treatment is an immature and ineffective way to communicate one’s needs and requests. if the group did not like my behavior, the Silent Treatment did not effectively state that to me.
- The Handbook states that following notification, there should be arbitration or some kind of bargaining so that some agreement can be reached. Clearly, this was never done. Instead, there was no communication. I was cut off from the college community because one or two influential and people in high authority decided for their own personal reasons that they felt threatened by me. This was discriminatory.
- The eventual effect on me was not good. I cannot hold Goddard responsible for that effect, however, doing the Silent Treatment to a person is extremely unkind. What resulted was that I felt devastated that my beloved friends had stopped communicating with me. I didn’t know why. I had no understanding of the situation. Across the board, I had lost so much, including my church, including my own family, including my therapist and the doctors I had trusted for years, that I starved myself very badly, my weight dropped extemely low, and in August 2013 I nearly died. And even after that, the message was clear: no one cared.
- I told the Dean that since my friends had shown gross disrespect toward me I wanted to make it clear that I do not care for this behavior nor feel very good about it, and I don’t particularly want them back. I only want them to know that they should have acted more responsibly. The policies are there for a reason. Don’t give a person the Silent Treatment like that. It’s not nice.
- There are a couple of people who still communicate with me. God bless you for not being influenced by the hatred going around. It was so, so un-Goddard. Everything that happened was just plain wrong.
My conversation with the Dean lasted over an hour. I am hoping some action will be taken. No one should have to go through what I went through, but as I told her, I have new friends now. I got out of Goddard a great education and that is a good thing. I have moved on.
She said she would take action. I’m still waiting to hear back. I’m not sure I will.