Letters to the Editor: November 6, 2012
Unacceptable behavior at MacLean potluck
This weekend I was unfortunate enough to be around an upsetting event in the common area of a dormitory here at the UAF campus. At this month’s potluck in the MacLean House Commons, some of the guests were down-right disrespectful to the people hosting the event, mainly the Resident Assistants (RA) of the dormitory and the Assistant Resident Director (ARD) of the dormitory.
When reading about MacLean House on the website of the Arctic Education Foundation, which is part of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), it would seem that the purpose of the building is to help students with the transition into the college environment of UAF. It even states on the page about how one of the dormitory’s programs, events put on for students of the dormitory by Resident Assistants, includes a monthly potluck with Native foods. The phrase “safe, inviting and supportive group home environment,” featured on the page about MacLean House, should reflect in the manner of its guests, and many at the potluck even claimed to be members of the ASRC.
It was shocking to me, another guest at this event, that members of the same corporation who want to offer this “safe, inviting and supportive group home environment” were treating people in such a rude and disrespectful manner. To be invited into someone’s living area and then to treat them as if they were servants is simply unacceptable, regardless of who or where you are. I saw guests demanding that an RA find them things which the dormitory is not supposed to be supplying, that an RA should go knock on the doors of other residents to bother them for cooking supplies, and having an RA move pans of food to the tables like some kind of waiter.
After 3+ hours of this, longer than the potluck was supposed to run, the Assistant Resident Director of MacLean House came home. At this point, some of the guest’s behavior towards her became embarrassing for me to witness. The ARD was turned into a target for what I could only call a mob mentality. The ARD was simply trying to explain the policies of the dormitory to the guests, but this was met with open hostility. I thought she was acting politely, but they said things to her that I don’t feel comfortable putting into this letter, and frankly they treated her like dirt. At one point, a parent of a MacLean House resident was yelling into the crowd what the poor woman was saying, taking every word out of context and inciting negativity.
Is this how we should show our “safe, inviting and supportive group” to the very people that host an event for us? Is this how we want to introduce our culture to people who may have never experienced it before? By making them do our manual labor and complaining about them?
I hope not.
Unfortunately I saw all this. Even more unfortunately, I did not say something at the time. And to be honest, that makes me feel the worst. I truly hope that with this letter, along with my personal apologies, I will make some of the staff of MacLean feel more appreciated. I know I appreciated the event and it was very disappointing for me to see people act this way.
It’s not normal Sun Star policy to run anonymous letters to the editor, however the editing staff feels that this letter deserves some attention. We were approached by the author’s friend on Sunday afternoon who explained the situation to us. We then followed up with the staff of MacLean, who neither confirmed nor denied the statements made in the letter. The Sun Star will be following up on this issue, so if you have any information please contact us at 474-5078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.