This is the story of a student, Jim G, who once had good grades and all of a sudden suffered a bad semester at AUC (American University of the Caribbean).   Jim was dismissed by AUC, told conflicting reasons why and then mistreated by his landlord.  This is the story of a good student who deserved a second chance at AUC but was cheated instead:

Jim was the kind of guy that everyone knew.  Every where Jim went, he left an indelible impression of focus and hard work.  He went to all his teacher’s office hours and was in study hall after class till late at night.  If you described Jim to other students, they would know him as the, “one guy who works his butt off.”

What is more important is that Jim’s grades showed how good a student he was leading up to his third semester.  Jim was scared of the challenges he had to face in the third semester but was fairly stoic about his upcoming challenges.  Unfortunately, over the course of the semester he knew that he was in trouble.  He asked friends and teachers for any tips they could give him.  His grades were slipping for some reason.  He had apartment problems; nothing seemed to work out for him.

If you had seen Jim’s apartment, you would wonder how any decent landlord could rent the place out.  From practically the beginning, the pipes were clogged and most of the equipment in the apartment was faulty.  Jim however did not ask his landlord for help and did not keep good records of all the damages his apartment had.  For some reason he waited it out until his lease was practically up and his neighbors and friends demanded that he report the problems to his landlord.

A few months pass after all this and the end of the semester arrives.  Jim is feeling good to have 3rd semester behind him and happy to be moving into another apartment that was cheaper and nicer.  Other students tell him that at his new complex he will be treated better and that he shouldn’t have any problems with clogged pipes.  Then the news hits him; almost the worst news a student can get.  He failed all three courses that 3rd semester.

Jim was devastated.  He knew he was in trouble, but he never suspected that much!  He soon received a letter telling him that he is up for dismissal from the school.  He’s frantic because he had already given his security deposit to his new landlord and his old landlord hadn’t made any correspondence with him.  He is running low on money and everything seems to be falling apart.

The only hope for Jim is the chance appeal the school has provided Jim and all other students dismissed.  The appeal form reads that he is not able to contact any faculty members on the committee and that he must prepare a statement for the committee to read beforehand.  Jim abides by these rules and does not contact members of his appeal committee.  He solicits advice from students and teachers in order to provide a strong defense.  Unfortunately, he does not win the appeal and he wonders if it is because his less than perfect English.  What he is told, however, completely confounds him.

“Why didn’t you knock on my door before now?”, asks doctor Nwosu who was on his appeal committee and who Jim thought was a great teacher.  Dr. Nwosu seemed angry at Jim for not speaking to him before hand about his appeal, even though Jim’s instructions were specifically not to make contact with someone like Dr. Nwosu.  Dr. Nwosu goes on to tell Jim that he, “did not show humility” in his appeal.  He tells Jim that he should have apologized to the school and should have said, “I feel sorry for what happened.  Now I need your help.”  Jim was told that there were students who did far worse academically them him but were allowed to stay because they showed “remorse”.

After losing his appeal Jim started looking to transfer to another school but was having money issues and was only waiting on his old landlord to return his security deposit.  He receives an email from his old landlord telling him that he is only going to receive half his security deposit (which means Jim lost over a thousand dollars) because the cleaning crew had to use “acid” on the floor of the apartment and the apartment was “filthy”.  Jim felt he was being treated unfairly and went to the Housing Department.  They tell him that he can make a complaint with the Dean of Student Affairs and that Housing department may take the landlord of the list.  Furthermore, Housing tells Jim that they will contact his old landlord and ask for the other half of the rent back.  After being told this Jim proceeded to file a complaint against his landlord with the Dean of Student affairs, Dr. Stroschein.  She tells Jim that she will need more than just his complaint to investigate and that Jim must find other students who share his complaint(s).  Ironically, Jim is able to do so but Dr. Stroischen nonetheless  tells those students that she needs ‘more’ complaints and that AUC is not responsible for the quality of landlords on the ‘AUC off campus housing list’ provided by the AUC Housing Department.  In the meantime, Jim receives an email from his landlord threatening him with, “action from my lawyers”, and telling him the school was going to do nothing for Jim.

In the end, Jim left the Island with only half of the security deposit from his old apartment complex, Regency Park, and a debt greater than 100 grand.   There was no investigation into the apartment complex.  There was only, as Jim put it, the lesson he learned and the hefty price he paid for it.

Do you think Jim was treated fairly?


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