As an Opinions writer, I often get approached by many people kind enough to offer me a vast variety of ideas and topics to write about for my next new column. For example, “Hey Matt, you should really write about how terrible Rebecca Black’s song ‘Friday’ is” or “Talk about how much MyKSC blows because the college wants to ensure every student has to visit their website first before they’re able to check their email.” Well, there you go, I took your suggestions and wrote about it. Don’t ever let it be said Matt Miracle doesn’t listen to his fans. Moving on to a completely unrelated note, I’m feeling rather brave and nostalgic this week so I thought I’d use this column to talk a bit about the Keene State Inquisition, more popularly known as Residential Life.
How does Residential Life fill me with the feeling of nostalgia and what led me to coin a rather negative nickname for the campus organization, you ask? No, it’s not because they don’t allow RAs to talk to the Equinox. They’re all nice people for the most part. I have several friends who are Resident Assistants, I even applied to be one, and hell, I’ve served on Hall Council for my Residence Hall once — it was pretty fun until they decided to turn into a government body. No, my distaste for the group doesn’t stem from the people within it, but rather their methods and process when it comes to taking disciplinary action.
This all stems back to something that happened to me within my first few weeks of college freshman year. Now I know exactly what you’re thinking if you’re a regular reader of this column. “Matt’s holding a grudge for something he got punished for four years ago.” Well, yeah, but let me try to justify myself. Long story short, me and my roommate were accused of playing loud music by our RA. However, this was an impossibility; there was no stereo in our room and both our computers had no speakers. Though we tried to explain this to the RA and tell him he was in the wrong, he was tired, grumpy, and told us to check our emails and expect to have a hearing with the Resident Director. Sure, we were annoyed, but we figured there was no possible way the charges would stick at the hearing, right? Wrong. Though we both thought the hearing went smoothly, we received an email a couple of hours later informing us that we were found guilty.
Well, my roommate at the time just accepted this and decided to move on, but I saw there was an appeal process and thought I’d try my luck. So I did all the right things; I gathered witnesses to testify on my behalf that there was no noise coming from our room, I picked apart the inconsistencies in my RA’s report and even found a conflicting report he made that very night that suggested where the actual noise may have been coming from. Three weeks later I finally got a reply back from the guy who handled appeals. He informed me that I was simply “trying to make my RA look bad” and that the decision would stand. “Wait, what?” I thought to myself, “Isn’t that the point of an appeals process?” I mean if I wrote an essay about how my RA did an excellent job, that wouldn’t make for a very strong case on my end, would it? Why even have an appeals process if students are simply going to be criticized for taking advantage of it. From my point of view, I did everything right; I collected evidence, testimony, and pointed out contradictions and all I got in return after three weeks of waiting was “Don’t be mean to your RA, asshole.”
Anyway, I let it go after that. The guy left his number and if it had happened today, I probably would have called and fought it some more, but back then I wasn’t nearly as confrontational as I am now, believe it or not. Now I know this might seem like a random topic to rant about and you’re probably wondering why I decided to write about this now, as opposed to Rebecca Black’s new YouTube sensation. In all honesty, until about a week ago, I thought the Keene State Inquisition was no more. However, I recently received an email that proved me dead wrong.
Imagine my surprise when I read that my suite had been reportedly making a lot of noise and needed to learn to behave like respectful adults unless we wanted to be documented. After discussing this with my roommates, we all found this very odd; there’s only four people in our suite. In the time the noise was being made, I was out of state, and two others were desk attending. It made no sense, unless number four was having a huge one-girl party and decided not to tell anyone, which wasn’t the case. So I did the natural thing, sent an email back and politely claimed that the information provided was incorrect or that possibly the date was wrong. While waiting for a reply my suite did some further investigation. We found that a couple suites around us had received that exact same email. Weird, huh?
A couple of hours passed and I received a reply back, insisting that although I may not have been involved personally, the noise was most definitely coming from my suite, this was just a warning, and I am accountable for who enters and exits. I asked for evidence of this so that I could handle it properly without just randomly pointing fingers at people. It’s been a week and I still haven’t received a reply. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was all a large witch-hunt with no evidence or even the slightest clue that pointed to where the noise was coming from. I can’t even begin to venture a guess as to why that wasn’t mentioned in the email. Actually, I can, but I wouldn’t want to make anybody look bad and ruin my chances to appeal in case I get called to a hearing. I will anyway though. It was clever, but here’s the thing that gets to me. Any normal person would’ve just sent a mass email to the building politely asking everyone to keep the noise down if they had no idea where it was coming from. Why go through all the trouble to develop this clever ruse and try to smoke out the guilty party by accusing everyone in a certain vicinity of being guilty? It’s just disrespectful.
I really hope this gets a public response, but it probably won’t. If it does, it’ll likely just be along the lines of, “Anyone in authority can send you an email accusing you of whatever they want as long as it has the lines ‘may have been involved’ to cover their ass since they had nothing to begin with.” In that regard, the Keene State Inquisition “may have been involved” in the torture of small, defenseless animals as well. Pray for their souls, my fellow students.
Matt Miracle can be contacted at