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Simon's Rock professor resigns over handling of student assault investigation

Oct 09, 2019 1:30 pm
Heather Bellow is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle an adjunct professor employed by Bard College at Simon's Rock resigned October 8, citing the mishandling of a reported attack on a student of color last month as her reason. Julia Kirst, who taught in the language department, said administrators have failed to confront racism on the Great Barrington campus, and she said there is a dismissive attitude in general toward the student's report of being knocked unconscious and dragged into the woods on campus. Parents of some students have called the assault a hoax, Kirst said. The 18-year-old woman reported the assault to campus security just after 2 p.m. on September 27. The incident followed reports of the N-word scrawled on a chalkboard and a swastika was found etched into a bathroom stall. Local and state police, as well as the Berkshire District Attorney's Office are investigating the attack and whether it was a hate crime. The U.S. Attorney's Office also has been notified. The school administration this week announced its plans to hire an independent investigator to review the matter, but Vice Provost Susan Lyon said she could not speak to specifics "out of respect for the survivor and the open investigations." The school is currently on a scheduled fall semester break. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.