By: Melissa Boyd & Lamesha Green (Whetstone Writing Staff )
After a weekend at Camp Saginaw where freshmen and student leaders formed close relationships with Director of Student Activities Sarah Smith and Dean of Students Mary Alice Ozechoski, both Wesley employees officially resigned.
Students who went on that leadership retreat said they felt especially confused and upset.
“Personally, I found it almost insulting because we weren’t given a reason,” said sophomore Jessica DeChamplain. “We were just sent out an email and, seeing that the offices were being cleaned out the next day, still nobody had given out any explanations. It was hard and just insulting.”
DeChamplain said she was at Camp Saginaw and felt especially close to Ozechoski.
“Mary Alice had just told us her story about how she became dean of students at Wesley during the Camp Saginaw Leadership Retreat,” she said. “We all felt connected to her Saturday and then on Monday, she’s leaving campus.”
Other students at the leadership retreat felt the same way about Ozechoski.
“I was really disappointed because it was right after camp, and after spending that Saturday with her [Mary Alice],” sophomore Laura Vargas said. “I felt like I could have more of a connection and I was just sent an email without an explanation.”
Both students posted Facebook statuses that regarded their feelings about the employees resigning, but Vargas’ status received feedback.
Vargas’ Facebook status read, “Seriously, though, Wesley? Like you’re gonna take away two of the people that make Wesley worth staying for the reason why Wesley is home. The reason half the students are even at Wesley because of them. The one person I looked up to the most outta all of them here is Mary Alice and I’ve worked with Sarah and they are really amazing people I don’t care what’s going on. I want them here at Wesley.”
Five people liked it and there were eight comments, asking if Vargas knew why the faculty left and were disappointed to see them resign.
However, not all Wesley students were disappointed in their resignations.
Junior Derek Mulholland made a post via Twitter on Sept. 11, stating, “The dean of students quit today. Turn up Wesley!”
He said he sent the tweet because, prior to coming to Wesley, he had heard from other Wesley student that there were more activities on and off campus.
“The Dean made the rules so much stricter and everyone was afraid to do anything,” he said. “I’m optimistic that more activities on or off campus might happen because she’s gone.”
Mulholland received three retweets (those who shared his post) and one favorited it (showing the student’s agreement). He also received one negative comment from a current student.
The negative response stated, “Who else had done stuff like that, for real, half the kids that are here wouldn’t be here without her [Ozechoski].”
That student, with the Twitter namelisted as Nani Mari, also tweeted a general statement, saying, “F___ the people who don’t know her story. You guys don’t know how much she’s done for me or for us as students.”
The other students on Twitter who responded to Mulholland’s tweet all expressed agreement.
Students say they just want the record to be set straight regarding the rumors for their resignations.
“I feel as though Wesley faculty did not tell its students enough about what really happened,” said sophomore Chantz Mckeller. “As for the rumor about Mary-Alice being fired due to claims about racism, that’s false because I personally don’t fall victim to it here at Wesley College. I am not happy they resigned or got terminated because it hasn’t been made aware to students what really happened.”
Senior Jamie Stokes feels Smith and Ozechoski’s departure shouldn’t have any effect on students.
“I honestly don’t care anymore at this point,” she said. “If Sarah and Mary-Alice spent money we pay in our student activity fee that’s included in our tuition, it’s not like students will get it back.”
Sophomore Cory Brown works in the office of student life with both Smith and Ozechoski and did not see this coming.
“I was shocked about the whole situation,” he said. “I was an orientation leader over the summer so I began to know them both personally and professionally.”