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I have a fundie-at-workplace story


dawbs

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I've put together some of what happened rather piecemeal, but this was a 'perfect storm' of misunderstanding, language barriers, and fundie-dom--it was interesting..

I work at a community college in a very economically depressed, very racially diverse, very crime riddled city.

Last week, there was a student 'discuss issues you're having w/ the president and administration' meeting. (I didn't go but boss did and told me most of the info I"m relating here). It was very 'town hall'-students get up, ask questions/raise concerns and the muckity-muckys who work in that specific area addressed/answered.

So student who appears to be fundie (when I saw her later that day, she was wearing a pass that identified her as an early childhood ed. student, an ankle length black skirt and a 'teacher sweater'--like THIS ONE but w/ pumpkins and apples and 'fall' stuff on it. Boss identified her as Amish but boss isn't fundie-knowledgeable)) and who is hearing impaired (she has the distinctive speech patterns and said she communicates better in sign) had a concern.

Student says that when she was entering a building recently, one of our neighborhood homeless people (we quite a few possibly people on campus--we also have quite a few students who are homeless/look homeless/etc.), who she described as a black man collecting bottles 'stared' at her and partially blocked her entrance to a building and she felt uncomfortable because (here I quote as I was told it), she didn't "know how to handle aggressive behavior by those people."

That particular choice of phrasing went over VERY poorly, understandably. The person who addressed her concern said that "those people" are part of our community, part of our student body, etc. Student was not happy w/ the anger she was getting and didn't seem to 'get' why that may have been inflammatory.

When the meeting was over, Boss, being someone who knows more about education w/ disabilities than a lot of people, caught the student and tried to explain that there's a degree of precision in language that she may have missed--and explained what was perceived. Boss set up for student and muckity-muck who was irritated to 'meet' and student to apologize for the misunderstanding' and to get a better answer.

But while waiting for the meeting, Student explained that she is having problems adjusting (there was a lot of arrogance in her attitude when I talked to her--but there may also be some communication issues that make it harder to know) to being at college--she quit wearing her head-covering because she was getting attitude and comments from other students and thought it was appalling that other girls wear their head-coverings (specifically referring to Muslim students) without getting flack, because "after all, it's not like *I* blew up the world trade center"

At that point, Boss redirected the conversation and I am guessing there might not be as much 'misunderstanding' in the original issue as there is real xenophobia.

Haven't seen the student since though--I'm guessing she doesn't spend a lot of time in the Science and Math area where I work :whistle:

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Hearing impairment complicates things in the best of circumstances. I'd behoping that thisgal would bring at least her headcovering problem to the attention of whatever college office addresses discrimination and prejudicial behavior & see what happens then.

Please keep us updated as (if) things develop w/this gal. It really is an interesting situation!

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I find it more outrageous that she is a paying student at the college who is stating a legitimate complaint that someone who is a non-student made her feel unsafe on campus and an overly sensitive college official was more concerned over her word choice. And, yes, it is a legitimate complaint. The homeless man was loitering on campus, and it is probably illegal. I wonder how her complaint would have been received if she was an atheist who was complaining about an overly zealous Christian distributing Bible tracts on campus.

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SouthCarolinaGirl79, I am at a state university whose mandate includes the general population. Individual members of the public, including the homeless, have free access to campus buses, libraries, vendors located on campus, and all other public spaces. This is not unusual for state-funded institutions.

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WTF, SouthCarolinaGirl? She went out of her way to describe his race and condition of poverty, and used the phrase "those people", instead of focusing on the behavior she found threatening. You don't see that as problematic? And you see nothing wrong with the WTC comment? RE- headcovering - you think Muslim students don't get harassed?

Kudos to the administrator for trying to resolve the issue.

Edited to correct missing word

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I find it more outrageous that she is a paying student at the college who is stating a legitimate complaint that someone who is a non-student made her feel unsafe on campus and an overly sensitive college official was more concerned over her word choice. And, yes, it is a legitimate complaint. The homeless man was loitering on campus, and it is probably illegal. I wonder how her complaint would have been received if she was an atheist who was complaining about an overly zealous Christian distributing Bible tracts on campus.

First, universities are public property.

Second, the college official was merely making her aware that her word choice was poor and bound to create a negative response.

Third, I have to deal with over-zealous Christians on campus all the time. I could complain, but they have a right to be there.

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SouthCarolinaGirl79, I am at a state university whose mandate includes the general population. Individual members of the public, including the homeless, have free access to campus buses, libraries, vendors located on campus, and all other public spaces. This is not unusual for state-funded institutions.

Yes, the general population has free access to a public campus. The student making the complaint, however, took issue with someone who in her opinion blocked the door in her path and made her feel unsafe. I just find it ironic that the college official was more concerned with how she was expressing her complaint over the complaint itself. The poster also noted that the student has a hearing problem which makes expressing herself difficult.

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I find it more outrageous that she is a paying student at the college who is stating a legitimate complaint that someone who is a non-student made her feel unsafe on campus and an overly sensitive college official was more concerned over her word choice. And, yes, it is a legitimate complaint. The homeless man was loitering on campus, and it is probably illegal. I wonder how her complaint would have been received if she was an atheist who was complaining about an overly zealous Christian distributing Bible tracts on campus.

He is NOT necessarily a non-student.

We have students who look homeless and collect cans for income. (we also have students who look homeless who collect them for the environmental clubs ;) ). We have students who *are* homeless--one of the hardest working developmental math students I had in the last few years was homeless.

And our campus, like most publicly funded campuses, are open to the public (as, IMO, they should be)-- he wasn't illegally loitering--the time period of this complaint, we had a large event w/ some amazing speakers that was open to the community--we had 100's of non students on campus that week.

I doubt highly (since she wasn't wearing a headcovering, etc) that her religious affiliation had much to do with what they took umbrage with--her race combined with her word choice (in a racially tense town), may have.

Her complaint won't be ignored--my employer walks a tricky line (very WELL, IMO) with engaging the community and being open to non-traditional (including homeless) students and protecting our students--considering that we're a small island smack in the middle of one of the most violent cities in the US, we have astoundingly low crime numbers--most 'good' schools in 'good' areas of my state, public and private, actually have far far worse numbers.

Our public safety people will take her concerns seriously--and for part 2 of that, this student also got a (very tactful) discussion from my boss about what to do in that situation (location of emergency phones, reminder that we have 24-7 escort services from public safety, a discussion on self protection, a link to our crime prevention program that she was (somehow--no idea how, it's incredibly well advertised) unaware of.

I know that Boss also put her in touch w/ the person who would deal w/ 'harassment' about the head-covering.

Although if she goes in and makes a WTC comment like she did, I can't promise it will end well.

I don't know if I'll hear anything more--some students I get amazing follow-ups on, others come in, I have some contact with them/help them and *poof* I never see them again--this strikes me as more likely to be the latter-I was involved because I'm a 'non threatening' staff person who was available for Boss to snag. But I'll be watching for info, the campus isn't that big ;) .

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SCG79, did you read the OP?

That particular choice of phrasing went over VERY poorly, understandably. The person who addressed her concern said that "those people" are part of our community, part of our student body, etc. Student was not happy w/ the anger she was getting and didn't seem to 'get' why that may have been inflammatory.

When the meeting was over, Boss, being someone who knows more about education w/ disabilities than a lot of people, caught the student and tried to explain that there's a degree of precision in language that she may have missed--and explained what was perceived. Boss set up for student and muckity-muck who was irritated to 'meet' and student to apologize for the misunderstanding' and to get a better answer.

It is not some over-sensitive administrator picking on a student. It is an administrator trying to help a student communicate better. Sure he could have just let her leave the meeting feeling bad that people were mad at her. He tried to help.

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Yes, the general population has free access to a public campus. The student making the complaint, however, took issue with someone who in her opinion blocked the door in her path and made her feel unsafe. I just find it ironic that the college official was more concerned with how she was expressing her complaint over the complaint itself. The poster also noted that the student has a hearing problem which makes expressing herself difficult.

Yes, he looked at her and she had to walk around him. Poor dear. Like I never have to do that with proselytizers. :roll:

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I think the "those people" comment, if viewed charitably, could have been viewed as a misunderstanding/communication barrier.

However, I'm with the OP that by the time she got around to to Muslim women and the World Trade Center, it's clear that she has a bigotry problem.

Did she say how she knew the man was homeless? I just ask because a lot of people collect bottles and cans, particularly in a rough economy. I watched a news story about how a couple sent their four children through college completely by collecting cans and bottles, and this was something they did after their day jobs.

We always put our recycling out early and put all the bottles in one bin and all the cans in another just to make it easier to collect, as they're always gone by the next morning. Well, the cans always are, at least.

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First, universities are public property.

Second, the college official was merely making her aware that her word choice was poor and bound to create a negative response.

Third, I have to deal with over-zealous Christians on campus all the time. I could complain, but they have a right to be there.

I don't disagree that her word choice may have been poor as the poster made it clear that she has a hearing problem that limits her ability to express herself. I just find it absurd that the official was more concerned over her word choice than the fact that she felt unsafe.

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I don't disagree that her word choice may have been poor as the poster made it clear that she has a hearing problem that limits her ability to express herself. I just find it absurd that the official was more concerned over her word choice than the fact that she felt unsafe.

Well it is pretty absurd considering that is something you made up entirely in your own head.

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I just find it absurd that the official was more concerned over her word choice than the fact that she felt unsafe.

You did not read obviously. The other people at the meeting were uncomfortable. The public official was explaining afterward why the girl received that reaction. It sounds like he took her complaints seriously and was being very compassionate.

You obviously are here to pick a fight, which is fine. Please, do not state your opinions over and over after they have been proven false. If you can reach into your brain and find another way that this poor little fundie bigot was a victim, feel free to share.

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WTF, SouthCarolinaGirl? She went out of her way to describe his race and condition of poverty, and used the phrase "those people", instead of focusing on the behavior she found threatening. You don't see that as problematic? And you see nothing wrong with the WTC comment? RE- headcovering - you think Muslim students don't get harassed?

Kudos to the administrator for trying to resolve the issue.

Edited to correct missing word

I really don't think she went out of her way "to describe his race and condition of poverty." If I was a young college student and I was made to feel unsafe because someone was blocking a door and I was describing the situation, I would have probably said the person in question was a homeless, black man. If I was at a party and a rich, white woman pissed me off, I would describe that too. The blowing up the trade center comment is another matter, but the girl said that later after the meeting. I'm not saying the girl doesn't have problems expressing herself, but she does have a hearing problem.

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SCG79, did you read the OP?

It is not some over-sensitive administrator picking on a student. It is an administrator trying to help a student communicate better. Sure he could have just let her leave the meeting feeling bad that people were mad at her. He tried to help.

I completely agree that the poster's boss did the right thing. I was referring to the "muckity-muck" who was irritated in the first place.

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You did not read obviously. The other people at the meeting were uncomfortable. The public official was explaining afterward why the girl received that reaction. It sounds like he took her complaints seriously and was being very compassionate.

You obviously are here to pick a fight, which is fine. Please, do not state your opinions over and over after they have been proven false. If you can reach into your brain and find another way that this poor little fundie bigot was a victim, feel free to share.

Emmie, I think I :romance-heart: you. The complaining student lost any of my sympathy after the WTC comment. And now I know my fellow students probably think I'm homeless since I always cart home my cans and bottles for recycling.

SouthCarolinaGirl79, I'm calling bull on the description bit. I've worked with the uber wealthy, and the only way their race comes up in description if if they aren't white.

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You did not read obviously. The other people at the meeting were uncomfortable. The public official was explaining afterward why the girl received that reaction. It sounds like he took her complaints seriously and was being very compassionate.

You obviously are here to pick a fight, which is fine. Please, do not state your opinions over and over after they have been proven false. If you can reach into your brain and find another way that this poor little fundie bigot was a victim, feel free to share.

I agree that the poster's boss who talked to the girl after the meeting was being compassionate. I was referring to the other college official who was taken aback by the girl's complaint. I'm not here to pick a fight; I was simply expressing another point-of-view. My opinions are just that and as such cannot be proven false.

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I completely agree that the poster's boss did the right thing. I was referring to the "muckity-muck" who was irritated in the first place.

Go back and read the OP and maybe you will understand why the administrator got involved.

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OK, here's a clue: the student made those remarks at a public, town hall type meeting, in front of fellow students who are black, may be homeless, and forced to scrounge cans for income. It didn't go over well. Fundie-student seemed upset. Administrator tried to resolve issue. Get it?

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It sounds like your boss gave that girl a chance to (a)improve her communication skills (b)learn something and she rejected the opportunity to grow. Sad, but far too common.

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