SH residents discuss concerns about admins’ review process
Residents had no personal record of their rights, barred from having lawyers present
Senior House residents were informed April 20 of an impending “review process” which included voluntary interviews to investigate what the chancellor called “dangerous behavior.”
Senior House residents could only view their rights for the review process interview by going to their associate head of house’s office to view a hard copy. Residents were explicitly barred from having a lawyer present during the voluntary interviews.
The Tech obtained an email sent to residents by the associate head of Senior House, Kristen Covino, who said she “was able to negotiate a hard copy” of “Students’ Rights” during the interviews. Residents, Covino wrote, could stop by her office to read them. According to Senior House residents, this was the only written documentation of the rights; no email containing this information was ever sent.
Senior House residents were sent an email April 20 around 8 p.m. that there would be a “mandatory” house meeting later that evening, Abraham Quintero ’17, a Senior House resident at the time, told The Tech.
During this meeting, residents were told that MIT had been informed by police that “they had evidence of a pattern of drug procurement and distribution,” said Eric Ponce ’17, another former Senior House resident.
During the meeting, residents were informed that interviews had been scheduled for each of them. One Senior House resident was scheduled to meet with the interviewers less than four hours after the email informing them of the time was sent.
Quintero showed The Tech an April 21 email he received from Judy Robinson, senior associate dean for student outreach & support, and Matt Keegan, a Title IX investigator, informing him that an interview with Keegan had been scheduled for him on April 23.
A student member of the Senior House turnaround team told The Tech that the Title IX office was involved because it has experience with interviewing students, not because there were Title IX issues being investigated.
The email specified that the interview was voluntary and that participants could leave at any time and decline to answer any questions. But according to Quintero, residents were told that it would reflect badly on the dorm if they did not participate.
“You may bring with you to your meeting an advisor who is not an attorney or a current Senior House resident. Your advisor will be there to provide you with personal support but will not be able to actively participate in the interview,” the email said.
Ponce and Megan Levin ’18, told The Tech that during the April 20 meeting, students raised concerns that they didn’t know what questions they would be asked during the interviews and wanted to know what their rights were with respect to the process. The email clarified that the interviewers would not ask students about their “individual use.” The email did not specify what the “use” referred to but residents confirmed for The Tech that the questions were about drug use.