Barnard CARES Responder Resigns Over College’s “Shameful” Eviction Policy

The responder, who remains anonymous, cites concerns about the arrest, suspension, and eviction of Barnard students.

On April 20th, a Barnard CARES (Community Accountability, Response, and Emergency Services) Responder resigned due to the College’s eviction policy for suspended students who participated in the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

“It is absolutely shameful that this school refuses to learn from its own history and decides to treat its most vulnerable students in such a blatantly risky and discriminatory manner,” said the responder, who remains anonymous, in an email posted on Instagram. 

The email came from the responder while on shift in the CARES Response Team Office, as they were requested to provide notification when suspended students have been escorted to their dorms to retrieve their belongings. The email was sent to senior members of the Barnard administration, including Kelli Murray, Executive Vice President for Strategy and Chief Administrative Officer, and Leslie Grinage, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Experience and Dean of the College. 

This is the first time a staff member at Barnard has publicly resigned due to the College’s suspension and eviction policy.

In the lengthy statement, the responder resigned from their position effective end-of-day and critiqued the College’s policy of allowing evicted students only 15 minutes to “gather their essential belongings.”

The responder expressed their confusion and shock by asking, “Is our team seriously being asked to enforce this administration’s decision to strip students of their residential access as part of punishment for involvement in a student protest? And giving them all of 15 minutes to gather their essential belongings???” 

Finding the policy “ridiculous and rude,” the responder said that “any student I personally escort will be given time to gather their things.”

In their reasons for resignation, the responder cites the administration’s actions of “stripping students of housing, punitively cracking down on student protesters via conduct offices/sanctions, intentionally enabling the NYPD to put their hands on student protesters, many of whom are students of color, Muslim, or Palestinian students protesting an ongoing genocide.”

“It is difficult to overstate how racist the optics of CU/Barnard administrators’ decisions in the past 24 hours have been,” says the responder. “Does it really need to be spelled out that intentionally setting up students of color up to be arrested by the police is insanely radically violent[?]”

The CARES worker says that the NYPD arrests of students protestors at Columbia University put their “psychosocial” and “physical health” and risk, and that the administration’s treatment of suspended and evicted students poses additional threat to those “who require specialized accommodations for disabilities.”

The responder asks for further information to be provided regarding “what support will be offered to these students” and what CARES workers can expect so that they can “better assist and inform those coming into our office to be escorted.”

In the email, the CARES worker encourages senior members of the Barnard administration to revisit and amend the eviction policy “to offer students a more reasonable span of time.”

The College has not yet responded in immediate request for comment.

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