UAF sends five Residence Life employees on paid leave

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Several employees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Residence Life Department have been placed on administrative leave after the launch of an investigation based on a variety of complaints that were filed against the office.
According to UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes, five employees are on paid leave.
A few of these employees include Dean of Students Laura McCollough, Director of Residence Life Jamie Abreu and John Napolski, area coordinator for Cutler Apartments and Employee and Family Housing.
The investigation is being outsourced through a law firm called Perkins Coie. The firm will be looking into complaints filed as far back as 2014.
Grimes explained that the complaints varied from departmental issues to interactions between students and staff. She did not further describe what kinds of complaints have been filed.
She said the university is prepared to provide the outside firm what they need to complete its investigation.
“The Department of Residence Life and the University are ready to work with the outside investigators to help them complete their investigation and then once we have the information they provide us we can decide what, if any action needs to be taken," she said.
There are some students who have been waiting for an investigation like this since 2007.
Former student and Residence Assistant, Naomi Hagelund has had issues with Res Life in the past.
She said her ex-boyfriend, who was also an RA at the time, stalked her, threatened her and even attempted to blackmail her after their break up.
She added that a residence life staff member let the boyfriend into her room, where he went through most of her belongings. Residence Life also asked her not to come back the following year after the incident.
Hagelund said her ex was eventually fired from Res Life, but not based on any of the interactions they had.
"I'll be honest whenever I talk to anybody about going to college in Alaska, especially UAF I discourage them from going to UAF because I know that it's not a safe place,” she said.
When asked about the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and its letter to the UA system on Title IX and sexual harassments, Grimes claimed that this investigation has no part of the OCR review and the resulting Voluntary Resolution Agreement.
One of our sources requested to stay anonymous, but said after seeing her friend Jessie Wattum - who was allegedly raped at the Bartlett Hall dormitory in the fall of 2016 – go through such a traumatic experience, said it’s about time something was done.
She adds, it’s the students who have to carry this burden because staff are not doing their jobs, “We don’t have good accountability, there are no consequences for this office of neglect. It’s the students who have to pay for it.”
Buzz has risen on social media about this issue, with many stating similar opinions on the issue. The five Residence Life employees will remain on leave with pay as the academic year begins on August 27.
***The investigation is ongoing and we will have more as this case develops.