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Last night, my girlfriend and I got into her car, which was parked outside of McCullough, after studying in Crossroads. We noticed that there was another car parked just across the road, outside of Axinn, with its lights on, but we didn’t think much of it. We backed out of the spot and drove up College Street, parking in one of the faculty lots behind Proctor. (My girlfriend, a recent Middlebury grad, is employed by the College and has made sure to check with Pub Safe multiple times to make sure that she can park in these lots at night/overnight.) We got out of the car just as a Public Safety vehicle, the same one that was waiting for us outside McCullough, parked a few spots away from us. We whispered to ourselves that something seemed up as we walked into the on-campus house I live in, but the officer didn’t say anything so we pretty much forgot about it when we got inside.
A few minutes later, my girlfriend left the house to go grab something from her car. She came back about a half an hour later with a story: When she left the house, the Pub Safe officer was standing a few yards away from the building. He was staring at my girlfriend and when she didn’t say anything, he walked up to her and said, “Is that your car?” motioning at her car across the street. She said yes and told him she was a staff member, but he insisted that she could not park there and asked to take her name and ID down. He then said something along the lines of, “Your car is parked here every night.” My girlfriend answered, “Yeah, I drive my girlfriend back because she lives in the house and I live down the hill.”
“But you don’t live here, right?”
“No, I maybe stay here like once a week because my girlfriend lives here.”
“No, you’re not allowed to stay here any night.”
At this point my girlfriend was not in the mood to argue, so even though she knew she was allowed to park her car in this faculty lot (according to MULTIPLE phone calls she’s made to Pub Safe in the past) she got in the car and parked it somewhere else, then walked herself back to my house. When she came in, she told me she had never felt scared as a gay person on this campus until now. We pulled down all our shades and checked periodically to make sure there wasn’t another officer waiting outside the door to ask more invasive questions.
There are many problems with this situation that I don’t even really know where to begin. Pub Safe HAD to have been watching my girlfriend for an extended period of time in order to know that her car had been parked in that faculty lot “every night.” Also, it’s wrong for them to assume that since her car is parked there, that she must be breaking some rule by doing so or living somewhere because of it (pretty much everything in Middlebury is walking distance away, but there are only so many parking spots). AND even if Public Safety is concerned about someone violating the guest rule, my girlfriend is not the one they should be questioning. It’s ME. I’m the Middlebury student. I’m the one that lives in that house. I’m the one they should be talking to. For the sake of hopefully keeping our identities private, I won’t reveal names or any incriminating details, but suffice it to say that I am a white, gender conforming female and my girlfriend is not white and not gender conforming. I’m willing to bet that has something to do with why they’ve been following her in the first place, and why they insist on questioning her instead of me.
Something is seriously fucked up when my girlfriend’s face is all over Middlebury’s webpage and Facebook groups for “diversity” purposes (even AFTER she’s graduated), yet it’s okay for her to be followed and questioned when she has done nothing wrong.
I could name plenty of students who violate the guest rule ALL THE TIME, either by hosting graduates, friends, family, townies, etc. or whatever, but do I see Pub Safe watching them get into their cars, or taking their names and ID numbers down? No. Because according to them, if you don’t look like you have something to hide, you probably don’t. But if you’re a person of color, queer, gender non-conforming, *enter minority status here*, then apparently, you do.