Lists in GW Prompt Class Meeting with Juniors

One or more unknown students posted several lists targeting members of the Class of 2015 in George Washington Hall over the course of the last two weeks.

The first list boys and girls whose names seemed to appear because of attractiveness. The second named and ranked couples within the Junior class. The final list, entitled “Gay People,” listed the names of 14 students in the Class of 2015, according to an e-mail to parents on Tuesday from Paul Murphy, Dean of Students.

The identities of those responsible for the lists remain undiscovered.

The first list was posted April 13, the second on April 17 and the third on April 20. The posting of the third list last Friday coincided with the Gay Straight Alliance’s “Day of Silence,” which protested the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

After the posting of the third list, a Junior brought the lists to the attention of the administration.

The deans contacted parents of students whose names were on the lists to inform them of the incident. In addition, cluster deans and house counselors spoke with affected students to offer support.

Head of School Barbara Chase, Becky Sykes, Associate Head of School, Murphy, the cluster deans and members of the Community Conduct Council (CCC) held a meeting with the entire Junior class on Monday.

Murphy emphasized in the meeting that the school does not tolerate this type of behavior, that those responsible were expected to step forward and that the actions of few Juniors would not define the Class of 2015. He also said that there is support available for any students who need it.

Murphy said, “We tried to make [the meeting] as simple as possible. We were not interested in scolding the whole class, [as] this is not an all-class thing. In fact, there were probably more people in the room who were negatively affected by [the lists] than were responsible for it.”

At the meeting, the CCC discussed and explained potential disciplinary consequences of the actions. The council, which consists of the staff at the Graham House Counseling Center, Clyfe Beckwith, Instructor in Physics, and Kathleen Pryde, Instructor in Physics. The council addresses any incident of harassment, hazing or bullying and assess whether to deal with the matter themselves or to forward the issue back to a cluster dean for standard Discipline Committee (DC) proceedings.

Prior to the meeting with the students, the deans discussed the incident at their weekly faculty meeting on April 20. They met a second time that evening, after deciding to hold a Junior class meeting, and they sent an e-mail to the entire faculty to inform them of the situation.

Murphy sent an e-mail to all parents on Tuesday evening with the details of the incident and the Junior class meeting.

“[The Class of 2015] has been a great class, so this is a moment that we wanted to make sure didn’t get away from us as a school community [by] having anyone thinking that the adults didn’t do anything. We wanted to do something even though we may not be able to find out exactly who did it,” said Murphy.

Kinsey Yost ’15 said, “I think that the school is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing as a school, but I think that [the lists] could be less of a big deal. I understand why it has to be a big deal, and why these lists are unacceptable, but I think the only thing to do now is let it blow over.”

Jair Kornegay ’15 said, “The lists had some sensitive topics about sexuality and relationships. There’s not much [the administration] can do. I think the class meeting reinforced the seriousness of the situation… I believe that the school acted appropriately.”

Lila Dolan ’15 said, “I felt the lists were particularly offensive. [The lists] invaded [the named students’] personal lives and crossed a lot of boundaries.”

Rani Iyer contributed reporting.