To:       From:       CC:    

Ashley  Simons-­‐Rudolph,  Women’s  Center  Director   Juliette  Grimmett,  Women’s  Center  Assistant  Director   Chancellor  Randy  Woodson   Provost  Warwick  Arden   Joanne  Woodard,  Vice  Provost     Dan  O’Brien,  Human  Resources  Employee  Relations     Tuesday,  May  29,  2012  

    Date:       Subject:   Letter  of  Resignation       I  resign  from  my  position  as  Assistant  Director  of  the  North  Carolina  State   University  Women’s  Center,  effective  3:30pm,  Tuesday  May  29,  2012.     I  have  loved  my  job  as  Assistant  Director  of  the  Women’s  Center  overseeing   Interpersonal  Violence  Services  (IPV,  which  includes  sexual  and  relationship  violence   and  stalking).    In  many  ways  it  has  been  my  dream  job.    My  accomplishments  at  NC   State  University  reflect  my  love  and  commitment  to  the  work  here.    In  my  5  years,   with  the  support  of  students,  colleagues,  and  community  members,  I  have  created  a   nationally  recognized  Interpersonal  Violence  Prevention  Education,  Advocacy,  and   Training  program  and  was  awarded  close  to  $315,000  in  Department  of  Justice   federal  grants  for  IPV  support  and  prevention.     I  have  received  several  awards  that  have  recognized  my  work  here  at  NC  State  and   my  contribution  to  the  field  that  include:  the  Student  Affairs  Outstanding   Contribution  to  the  Profession  Award  (2008);  the  Student  Affairs  Student’s  First   Award  (2009);  the  Anne  Fishburne  Award  (2009)  from  the  North  Carolina  Coalition   Against  Sexual  Assault  (NCCASA)  to  honor  my  “invaluable  assistance  to  support   sexual  assault  services  in  North  Carolina  through  the  legislative  process.”    As  the   chair  of  the  legislative  committee  of  NCCASA,  I  directed  the  legislative  advocacy  and   wrote  an  editorial  for  the  News  and  Observer  that  aided  in  North  Carolina  no  longer   charging  survivors  for  their  sexual  assault  forensic  evidence  collection  exam  (i.e.,   rape  kit);  and  the  First  Year  Student  Advocate  Award  from  First  Year  College   (2010).    In  addition,  I  created  The  Movement,  a  student  organization  that  requires  a   3-­‐credit  course  for  membership,  to  provide  IPV  prevention  workshops  on  campus   and  in  the  community.           Furthermore,  the  most  significant  source  of  validation  for  my  work  here  has  come   from  students.    On  at  least  a  monthly  basis,  I  have  received  cards,  emails,  or  small   gifts  from  students,  usually  survivors  with  whom  I  have  worked,  thanking  me  for   how  I  have  helped  them.    Several  months  ago,  a  student  brought  me  flowers,  a  card,   and  a  donation  receipt  to  InterAct,  a  sexual  assault  and  domestic  violence  crisis  

center  in  Raleigh.    The  parents  had  made  a  donation  to  them  in  my  name  because  of   the  support  I  provided.     To  advocate  for  justice  and  peace  and  to  work  to  end  the  mistreatment  and  abuse  of   others  has  been  a  central  part  of  my  life’s  work  for  over  16  years.  My  last  9  months,   however,  have  been  spent  advocating  for  my  co-­‐workers  and  myself  against  the   mistreatment  and  bullying  we  have  experienced  by  Women’s  Center  Director,   Ashley  Simons-­‐Rudolph.    Under  Ashley’s  leadership,  every  day  is  unpredictable.    Her   behavior  towards  some  of  us  has  been  disrespectful,  manipulative,  dishonest,  and   unprofessional.         In  November  2011,  after  unsuccessfully  and  consistently  trying  to  address  issues   with  Ashley  related  to  the  mistreatment,  I  began  to  share  my  concerns  with  Human   Resources  with  the  hopes  of  finding  a  resolution.    As  a  result  of  my  meetings  with   HR  and  those  of  other  Women’s  Center  staff,  HR  notified  Ashley’s  supervisor  Joanne   Woodard.    Joanne  agreed  to  meet  with  Women’s  Center  staff  that  were  willing  to   speak  with  her.    Four  of  us  scheduled  separate  individual  meetings  with  Joanne  and   felt  hopeful  that  she  would  support  us  and  take  steps  to  end  the  bullying   environment  in  the  Women’s  Center.    Just  the  opposite  occurred,  unfortunately,   when  in  retaliation,  Ashley  immediately  fired  Caitlin  Post,  the  Survivor  Advocate   and  recent  NC  State  University  graduate  and  former  President  of  The  Movement.   Ashley  also  notified  Abigail  Conley,  Graduate  Assistant  for  Interpersonal  Violence   Services  and  Counselor  Education  doctoral  candidate,  that  it  was  time  for  her  to   transition  out  when  she  would  not  agree  to  “move  on”  (i.e.,  accept  Ashley’s   leadership  style  and  end  all  complaints).    Abigail  left  the  following  week.    We  were   shocked  that  the  Vice  Provost  for  Institutional  Equity  &  Diversity  not  only  approved   these  terminations,  but  also  apparently  did  not  believe  or  support  us.    The  four  of  us   worked  in  the  Women’s  Center  a  combined  11  years  with  only  positive  feedback   from  supervisors  about  IPV  services,  including  Ashley  (director  for  9  months),  who   initially  acknowledged  the  excellent  quality  of  interpersonal  violence  services   provided  by  the  Women’s  Center  at  NC  State.    Ashley’s  support  of  IPV  Services,   however,  diminished  when  I  advocated  for  another  Women’s  Center  staff  member   that  was  being  treated  unfairly,  and  also  when  I  started  to  set  personal  and   professional  boundaries  with  her  (e.g.,  not  calling  me  with  non-­‐emergencies  after   work  hours  or  on  my  day  off,  .80  FTE).       While  advocating  for  myself  and  other  staff,  I  have  also  been  advocating  for   interpersonal  violence  services,  as  Ashley  regularly  threatens  changes  to  programs   that  are  not  in  the  best  interests  of  our  students.  The  most  noteworthy  example  of   undermining  and  destabilizing  these  services  occurred  at  the  beginning  of  April,   when  Ashley  and  Joanne  notified  me  through  email  (while  I  was  on  maternity  leave   and  without  any  explanation,  although  I  requested  one)  that  I  was  no  longer  allowed   to  reapply  for  the  Department  of  Justice  (DOJ)  Office  on  Violence  Against  Women   (OVW)  Grants  to  Reduce  Sexual  Assault,  Domestic  Violence,  Dating  Violence  and   Stalking  on  Campus  Program  that  was  due  on  the  last  week  of  May.    Over  half  of  the   grant  had  already  been  written  when  I  was  notified,  as  it  is  a  multistep,  long-­‐term     2  

process  that  requires  collaborative  partnerships.    Because  the  currently  funded   position  through  this  grant  was  absorbed  through  student  fees,  this  $300,00  grant   would  have  given  our  campus  a  new  staff  member,  as  well  as  resources  and  training.   It  would  have  also  financially  supported  community  partners  such  as  Interact’s   Solace  Center  –  Wake  County’s  clinic  that  provides  forensic  rape  examinations  to   collect  evidence  used  to  prosecute  sex  offenders.  The  DOJ-­‐OVW  grant  is  the  most   competitive  and  prestigious  grant  of  its  kind.  It  provides  access  to  best  practices  and   to  the  expert  trainers  in  the  country.  Currently,  North  Carolina  Central  University   (NCCU),  Elizabeth  City  and  NC  State  University  are  the  only  grantees  in  the  state.  We   are  in  excellent  standing  with  this  grant,  and  were  very  likely  to  be  refunded  for  the   next  three  years.    NCCU,  Duke,  and  UNC-­‐CH  all  submitted  their  proposals  for  the   next  funding  cycle  that  begins  on  October  1,  2012.    The  funding  for  NC  State   University  ends  on  September  30,  2012.      We  were  the  only  large  campus  in  the   triangle  not  to  reapply  or  apply  for  this  funding.    I  was  completely  shocked  to  not  be   allowed  to  reapply  for  this  grant,  when  it  has  supported  innovative  and  effective   initiatives,  programs,  services  for  survivors,  and  collaborative  partnerships  that   provides  unique  and  needed  services  to  the  NC  State  campus  community.         Again,  I  have  loved  my  job.  After  9  months  of  following  all  logical  steps  expected  of  a   professional  seeking  to  resolve  issues  in  the  workplace,  it  is  upsetting  and  unsettling   for  me  to  leave  my  position  knowing  what  it  means  for  the  outstanding  program  we   have  created  and  for  the  survivors  and  larger  NC  State  University  community  it   serves.    At  the  same  time,  with  great  personal  cost  to  my  family,  and  myself  we  have   made  the  decision  not  to  be  bullied,  treated  with  disrespect,  or  devalued  by  NC  State   University  leaders  who  are  not  held  accountable.    My  partner,  an  associate  professor   with  8  years  at  NC  State,  is  equally  dismayed  and  troubled  by  what  I  (we)  have   experienced  with  this  ordeal.    While  we  once  believed  that  NC  State  would  be  our   professional  home  for  some  time,  recent  events  at  the  Women’s  Center  and  the   paltry  response  of  NC  State  University  leadership  has  changed  everything.       The  Movement  peers,  survivors,  supportive  co-­‐workers,  and  amazing  student   volunteers  have  been  the  only  reason  I  have  stayed  this  long.  I  honor  my  time  with   the  many  amazing  campus  partners  who  have  taught  me  so  much  and  have  made   our  campus  a  better  place  for  survivors  of  sexual  and  relationship  violence.    Our   students  are  fortunate  to  have  them.      

 

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