This morning a former CIT student bullied by staff at CIT challenged me and put me completely on the back foot. The student said something like; “If the staff members you mentioned know I was bullied by X where in the hell were they when this was going on”? Then the student said words along the line of, “You staff at CIT have shown no concern for your students, who would trust being ‘protected’ by you”?
She then went on to challenge me for the role I played/am playing. I was not around during her time but she is absolutely right – where were we? Where were you? I am not at all negating that you may have tried, that there were/are people with special skills at CIT who apply them daily to assist students. But I need to make this statement below.
I don’t even know your name. You were not a student of mine but you were a student in the department I worked in. I witnessed you being bullied and harassed by a staff member who had decided to fail you.
Another staff member and I heard the whole thing. We hovered outside the open office door in a complete quandary about what to do. Each of us walked past the open door to get a look at the both of you and what was happening. We were distressed by your distress and by the ugly body language of X who we both felt were enjoying themselves at your expense.
We discussed whether we should intervene.
We knew by what was discussed and by your completely logical arguments that you put to X over and over that you did not deserve to fail. We witnessed your distress. We witnessed you pleading and finally crying. We saw you walk away and were relieved … too late to act.
In the end we did nothing. I am so so sorry.
I was a coward.
I apologize unreservedly to you and any other student hurt at CIT by my inaction.
Sincerely and truthfully