Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Horror Story

A story submitted by an anonymous student. So much for counting on the support of student affairs...

I've had a couple personal experiences with the NU bureaucratic regime. One of my best friends suffered for over a year at the hands of Mary Desler - after a single drunken arrest incident he was suspended from school for the winter and spring quarters, during which he was forced to work a bullshit job instead of continuing his studies and being allowed to graduate on time. The following summer his punishment continued, he was mandated to an outpatient drug rehab program; the others inthe program were not NU students, rather, hardcore alcoholics and drug abusers. Following his completion of this six week program, his registration was *still not* cleared until the winter quarter - after which he had to bust his ass taking four difficult courses per quarter in order to graduate. Thankfully, he's doing well, but does not have particularly kind feelings for NU student affairs.

My own experience takes a different line - I was diagnosed with clinical depression in the winter of last year and I had to leave school. To get a tuition refund for my winter quarter enrollment, I took a medical leave through CAPS. However, while I was going through the worst of times, CAPS did little to help me beside recommending that I leave school. This was precisely the thing I was trying to avoid! Thank whatever gods for my family and friends - CAPS is a far way, in my opinion, from actually helping students in real crises. When I returned to Evanston in the summer, healed, and feeling good - I discovered that I would not be allowed to reapply for student status until two weeks before fall quarter - mind you, I was *not* previously informed of this; I had expected to be able to take summer courses, or at least have a valid WildCard.

At the end of summer I sent an e-mail to Mary Desler - she told me that tho' I might think I am ready to return, it was 'highly unlikely' that they would let me back in; apparently I had not followed all of their recommendations. (If you break your leg and after a long process it is fully healed, do the doctors reprimand you for not following every piece of their advice? No. They are happy that you are better.) Not so in this case, they were peeved...but it all depended on an evaluation meeting with a CAPS doctor whom I had never met and knew anything of my case. 'Highly Unlikely' : How is that for support? It crushed my optimism. I needed to get back in to school to graduate. After this meeting, in which I felt certainly interrogated, I was left in the dark for another week, unsure if I they would let me back in - Tho' I was sure that if they didn't I would feel that all the personal steps I had taken and barriers overcome had been for nothing. After a week of waiting I took the initiative and walked-into Desler's office; she said that she had just gotten the notice from CAPS and the ball was in now her court.

She sat me down and said that I had problems...real problems with drugs and alcohol!...she did not speak of my depression (which is why I voluntarily left in the first place) had come to light through the correspondence of several doctors that I may be a marijuana user. She said she would lift the hold on my registration but, in doing so, was going to place me under a Disciplinary Probation - if I violate NU drug/alcohol policies I am to be placed under indefinite suspension. Mind you, I've never had an official violation, I have a clean record, so this is not the normal procedure. Yet I was forced to accept this bullshit, and even thank her for it! My joy at being "let back in school" outweighed my dismay so I took it in stride - but I don't believe its right. It is essentially a suspension of habeas corpus - underhanded and unofficial - but I must accept it because Mary Desler has the power to kick me out of school. It must be noted that others besides partying frats are victims.