Drug-centered event prompts Slav staff turnover

SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily

SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily

A Slavianskii Dom staff member was fired and the house’s resident assistant (RA) driven to resignation last week, following fallout from a drug-centered event held at the house.

According to house residents, the Feb. 22 event—which was hosted privately by the house’s community manager—featured a large amount of pot in various edible forms. In an open email to the house mailing list, the RA argued that the lack of warning given and the risk of inadvertent or excessive consumption by residents obliged her to consult the Row’s residence dean (RD), who subsequently instructed her to shut the event down.

“I called the RD because it was my job, and also because I wanted to do right by you, and because I was worried for your safety,” she wrote in the email.

Following meetings between University administrators and house staff, the community manager was fired last week and barred from returning to the house.

The decision to report the event and implicate a fellow staff member to the residence dean received extensive criticism from Slav residents. House members argued that the community manager should not have been reported by a fellow staff member without prior warning or consultation among the staff, and more than 30 residents authored character references for the community manager prior to his dismissal.

In her email to the house, the resident assistant framed the hostile reception to her decision as making her continued role in the house untenable. She resigned Tuesday evening.

“I stand by my decision 100% to pick up the phone and ask the RD for help on Saturday,” she wrote. “I have not been able to sleep for days because this has been unbelievably stressful, but in a few weeks, I know that I will rest easy knowing that I did the right thing by all of you.”

“I assure you that your efforts to make me feel unwelcome in a community I have put so much effort, care, and love into were the absolute LAST things I needed yesterday,” she added, addressing residents who had expressed criticism. “You have made this a toxic environment for me and are the reason I am choosing to leave it.”

Slav residents portrayed the incident as reflective of longstanding issues with this year’s staff, in terms of both intra-staff communication and engagement with residents. Residents also critiqued an alleged lack of engagement by University administrators, noting that they had received no official communications until Tuesday.

Residential Education Associate Dean Nate Boswell ’99 M.A. ’09 emphasized the challenges of replacing two staff members from the same house at the same time.

“The removal of a staff member for any reason generally reveals a whole bunch of other things that might have been going on within the community,” Boswell said. “Those houses are often a very intimate community for people so any transition can be pretty disruptive.”

‘“Most of the time, generally speaking, these situations are complicated,” he added. “Those choices can impact the health of the house…so especially when there’s an incident or a set of concerns that trigger an action like this, subsequently there are a lot of conversations to have…to figure out the best course of action.”

According to Boswell, Slav staff members and staff from other Row houses collaborated to compensate for the two lost staff members over the past week. Slav’s resident computer consultant has since been named as the dorm’s new resident assistant, while the search for another community manager and resident computer consultant continues. Boswell said that replacement staff would likely be drawn from current residents.

“Because the house, by this time of the year, tends to be quite close…it’s least disruptive to solicit existing staff members or existing residents,” he explained. “That said, it’s not unheard of to solicit students from outside the house and depending on the circumstances that’s sometimes actually to the benefit.”

Contact Marshall Watkins at mtwatkins ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu

About Marshall Watkins

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.
  • Seriously?

    Congratulations! You have drawn attention to your article by unnecessarily disturbing the residents’ and staff members’ privacy and by crossing ethical limits when quoting the RA’s e-mail to the house. You are now a coveted journalist! This is basically a gossip article.

  • Concerned

    I do think it’s fair game to let the Stanford community know what’s going on one of its residences, but it is also unfair for the Daily to approach this issue armed with just a single person’s email obtained through back channels, without consulting Slav residents about what happened and what they think. That kind of reporting is the epitome of poorly researched story writing. Next time, this author should consider having some pause, and collecting relevant facts and voices before articulating a complex insider issue to the public. Doing your due diligence includes more than simply piecing together the aftermath of an event and making it seem like cause and effect.

    There is more to this story – ask the RD, ask the CM, ask residents, ask Res Ed. In fact, ask more questions – Was the event an official Slav-sanctioned one? Why did the RA feel the CM broke “the rules?” In what way were other staff members involved? Were there members of the community that agreed with the RA’s decision? Was there more going on to prompt this story before the event in question? Do housing and Res Ed appropriately respond to complaints and punish staff members? Speaking as someone close to the situation and key players, this article has a bunch of gaps to fill before people can take it as something truly informative about the current goings-on in Slav.

  • lol

    Heaven forbid some kids decide on their own accord they want to get high off of edibles. This RA seems to be portraying herself as a martyr.

  • lol

    >You have drawn attention to your article by unnecessarily disturbing the residents’ and staff members’ privacy and by crossing (my) ethical limits when quoting the RA’s e-mail to the house.

    Let my correct that for you

  • lol

    I’ll correct myself

    me*

  • baycommuter

    Good reporting, Daily. Don’t let the people who ran off the RA for doing the right thing get away with it, even though now they’re trying to intimidate you too.

  • Anon

    Since when did the Daily become a gossip rag? Also, you may be attempting preserve staff members’ privacy by not attaching their names to this article, but you include so many identifying details that you have breached their privacy. Come on now.

  • Stanford ’12

    Narc

  • Guest

    And here we have The World Wide Weasel Network, everybody.

  • The truth is…

    The Slav staff and residents were instructed not to talk to the Daily. This was pretty much all this reporter could have gleamed from the situation. Call it bad reporting all you want, but the author did all he could to expose the truth about what happened.

  • Get real.

    I’ll bet the RA had no problems with earlier alcohol-centric events, yet there is a much higher risk associated with over consumption of alcohol (How many pot related transports did we have last year again?). Does it really seem like she was trying to do the right thing for residents’ health or just get rid of a staff member she had already had disagreements with? Whining about the “toxic environment” created *by her own actions* just makes her sense of entitlement clearer. Get off your high horse; nobody likes a narc.

  • Anon

    You don’t know squat about the previous staff dynamic, if the RA had previously confronted the CM, etc. Neither do I, since this article doesn’t report any of the backstory. So quite frankly, neither of us have the right to judge the RA for her actions. So shut up already.

  • afk998

    no one was stopped from talking to the Daily, but that doesn’t change the fact that no one wanted to talk to the Daily because it is a stressful recent house issue and bringing our issues out for gossip can only further harm what is already a pretty shaken up community

  • alum

    The CM screwed up by sending a public email about an illegal activity. Especially if there’d been lots of disagreements and problems among the dorm staff before this. If you want to host a drug-themed party, you need to exercise a little discretion.

    I know it’s not the same thing, but I was a residential counselor at EPGY one summer, and the recurring theme, throughout all of our training, was to cover your own ass. I’d imagine that if it somehow got out that the RAs knowingly permitted a drug party in the house, the RA would be in trouble. When I was young, I was all, f*ck the man! But now that I’m a little older, and have seen more people get in trouble and suffer for it, I’m starting to understand the cover your own ass camp a little better.

  • other

    do your research better next time or don’t write it at all. It is unfair to everyone involved to mislead others who know nothing about the situation.

  • Wow.

    Just wow. It requires more than one identified source to write an article. An email to a house list is not the same as conducting an interview. None of the involved parties would vouch for the accuracy of this article. Most high school papers would reject an article with lines like, “House members argued … ” An anonymous generalization does not equate a reliable source. It should be embarrassing to the entire university that a Stanford publication’s editor in chief could write such a biased, poorly researched, and badly written article. Kudos to Marshall and I hope this shows article shows up when applying to future jobs.

  • Right on the money

    I do because I was involved and Get Real was right on the money. CM had no idea this was coming (I believe the article even said that much). No secret around the house that the RA wanted to get rid of the CM because he was popular in the house and she was not

  • Get off your high horse

    Shut up, you’re wrong. And 5 bucks says you’re a woman too.

  • bahahaha

    lol why would the RA would get the CM fired because he was more popular than she was, and then… resign? think it through.

  • Poor judgment call, editor

    I second afk998. The residents were actually explicitly told that we allowed to decide for ourselves whether or not to talk to the Daily. Most chose not to because we were ready to move on as a community, rather than to have our own issues exposed to the rest of campus needlessly. But we can thank our lovely executive editor Marshall for writing the article anyway.

  • Anon

    If you read the entire email (posted above,) you’ll see that the RA actually made the CM send out an email informing the entire house when she discovered what was going on in the kitchen.

  • Class of 2009

    I feel that her concerns were valid.

  • homie95

    well someone within your “community” chose to leak the email. maybe it was one of the people directly involved, maybe it wasn’t but someone within Slav wanted this exposed.

  • Get real.

    She resigned because of backlash from the house. I doubt that there was friction due to some popularity contest, but clearly they disagreed about how the house should be run, and this was an easy way for her to get him out of the picture. Either way, it’s absurd that people are defending her for running to the RD over the CM’s private event. He made edibles for his friends, not as an all house activity. How would you feel if you smoked out a few friends and your RA reported you to the school? The double absurdity is that she tried to justify it through worries over residents’ health yet had no problems with earlier alcohol-centric events. We all know which is more dangerous.

  • wow

    if you read the email she wrote above, you will see that he used public space and didn’t make it clear the food had marijuana in it. alcohol is more dangerous, but i bet drinks at the alcohol centric events were advertised as having alcohol in them. people knew what they were getting into and could make rational decisions about how much to drink. people need to know what they’re consuming. they could have allergies to weed. also seems like she hasn’t policed marijuana use before, so it’s not like you say where “you smoke out a few friends and your RA reported you to the school.” i think the RA had very valid concerns and im not sure why you tenaciously hate her. seems like you you have a personal vendetta against her.

  • alumn

    i support this girl