Letter to the editor from Dylan Manderlink

by Beacon Staff • October 17, 2013

Dear Editor,
 
I wanted to take the time to address the Emerson community in light of the response to the federal complaint against the College, specifically the article which details my resignation as a Resident Assistant. In the original article, "RA Said She Was Forced to Resign After Defending Resident" the headline was worded in a way that could easily be misinterpreted. To the credit of the Beacon staff, they were very cooperative when I pointed out the ambiguity in the wording of the title and were quick to update the headline online and make a correction to a factual error in the actual piece. 
 
I just wanted to write this letter to clarify to the community that I am sharing some of the circumstances and challenges I faced as an RA that ultimately lead to my resignation because I wanted to make sure all RAs and students who find themselves as the main support system for a sexual assault survivor in the future avoid the obstacles I faced and can adequately help a survivor. Although there were other factors that played into my change in employment, while working with Sarah, I felt incredibly unsupported and mistreated as an employee. After working on this incident, I felt a moral obligation to help survivors like Sarah ensure that they were granted justice and advocate for RAs to be more equipped, prepared, and emotionally supported to help their residents and themselves. I am glad there have been major improvements in RA and OL training this year and I am thankful that Emerson is moving in this more proactive direction.
 
As a senior, I want to make sure that I leave the college knowing that I tried my best to make positive and necessary changes in our community. I want to thank those members of the Emerson community who have been encouraging and vocal in the movement to make sure that sexual assault cases are handled legally and morally. For those in this community who wish to judge or resist the movement that is taking place, I only ask that you educate yourselves enough to know the hardships that come with being a survivor of sexual assault or a first responder and the cultural and institutional barriers that prevent justice in rape cases. This call to action in our community does not come from a place of hostility or as a retaliatory act because I lost my job, but rather, it comes from my profound love for this college and the students and alumni which call Emerson their alma mater. I want to make sure that no future students go through what I went through and make the mistakes I made and that future Emersonians can feel safe and proud to be a member of this community. I want to ensure that the change in my RA status did not and does not define me as a student at Emerson, but it can play a part in paving the trajectory for a more healthful, understanding, and emotionally supportive environment for future supporters of sexual assault survivors and survivors themselves.
 
Love in Emerson Pride,
 
Dylan Manderlink