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Clarification: Youth Conference

I'm going to try and give a general overview of everything I've dealt with in regard to Taylor. Some, especially those on the outside are having difficulty following all the sordid details. So, here are some significant events about Youth Conference (remeber, this is a bare bones account, more info here):

  • Fall 1999, I start as a freshmen at Taylor.
  • Spring 2001, I'm chosen as one of two student co-directors for Youth Conference. I'll work directly under Caryn Grimstead (conference co-director, Gerig Hall Director) with another student. We all report on some level to Mary Rayburn (Director of TWO).
  • Spring 2001, I made two visits to the counseling center, to talk about personal issues (that I have not and won't disclose) completely unrelated to Taylor.
  • Fall of 2001, we begin to plan for Youth Conference. An area of trouble is an informational borchure for the campus.
  • September 2001, I return to the counseling center, again, for reasons unrelated to Taylor. The counseling center has a brand new director, Bob Neideck. I begin talking with him on a weekly basis.
  • Thanksgiving 2001, the goal to have the YC brochure completed and mailed. It doesn't happen, but neither my co-director nor I are directly responsible for seeing that it should've. The responsibility fail to other students, who were having difficulty getting it completed. At any rate, the "deadline" (though it was never actually set), passed without a word from Mary Rayburn or Caryn Grimstead.
  • Finals Week, December 2001, I finally see a computer draft of the brochure design (after asking for several weeks). It's not ready, and still being students -- we decide we'd sacrifice quality if we try to push it. We agree that will hit it hard immediately after Christmas break.
  • Fall 2001, I'm approached by at least one friend on campus who said that Caryn had been pressuring her into talking about details in my personal life. Bob Neideck would tell me several times that Caryn would ask about me. Now, I was battling depression, and it was becoming harder to mask -- I don't deny that. But I created very clear boundaries in regard to my personal life that I didn't want Caryn to cross -- she ignored them.
  • Thursday of finals week, December 2001, after the faculty Christmas banquet. I come back to my room to find multiple answering machine messages from Caryn Grimstead about the brochure. She would later accuse me of not answering my phone and hiding from her in my room. In short, they're not happy that the brochure was not completed at Thanksgiving (though they knew for several weeks that it wasn't). My co-director said she was told by Caryn that it was all our fault, and the conference was now doomed because of this brochure. They waited until the absolute last minute to say anything -- too late for anything to be done.
  • The same night, I received bad news about a friend. Dealing with YC was the last thing on my mind (especially since nothing could be done by then). Caryn Grimstead, somewhere close to 11 p.m., midnight, shows up at my door completely unannounced -- on an all guy floor. I tell her it's not a good time to talk, try to shut the door, but she blocks it. She says, without asking, "You need to talk to Bob" and leaves to call him. A while later, Bob Neideck shows up at my door and we talk through some things. He tries to do damage control re: the brochure to little avail.
  • Christmas break, 2001, my co-director and I recieve numerous e-mails. The general jist of them, almost all from Caryn Grimstead, is that we had failed the conference, Caryn would lose her job as conference Director because of our mistakes, etc. Eventually, we bothed stopped reading the e-mails. They were emotionally and spiritually manipulative. My general response to Caryn was that she had three weeks to tell us there was a problem, and didn't. My guess was that Mary Rayburn came down on her at the Christmas banquet -- so she in turn came down on us. I wasn't willing to accept total blame and Caryn didn't like being challenged.
  • January 2002, I return to campus early and make arrangements to stay with a friend in Indianapolis to see that the brochure is completed as soon as possible. My co-director stayed behind most of Christmas break to do the same.
  • Sometime in January, my co-director and I are called to seperate meetings with Caryn, in her office. In my meeting, I was presented with nearly a two-page list of everything I had done wrong during the past semester in regard to YC. I walked out of that meeting feeling as if I weren't worth the ground I was walking on. My co-director had a similar meeting. We were told we hadn't been doing our jobs, and Caryn questioned whether we really could or even wanted to.
  • Later in January, we are called to a meeting with Caryn and Mary Rayburn. My co-director and I requested Mary's help to resolve everything. It didn't work. I confronted Caryn about digging into my personal life (something she'd been doing for a while, I gathered). She reacted poorly to it. I told her it was a violation. She wouldn't accept that. After several minutes of me telling her she needed to back-off, she aquiesced, and apologized for making me feel that way.
  • The spring of 2002, multiple incidents occur. Too many to detail here, but I will in seperate posts later. Needless to say, my relationship with Caryn was tenuous, and I believe my co-director's was as well. Multiple times people on campus would come to me, and tell me that things that she said about me. I was constantly challenged and chided for everything I did do and everything I didn't do for the conference. At one point, I was disciplined for opening the conference mail, mail addressed to me. Though they never told me what I "did wrong" -- I had to find out from my assistant. I was just yelled at for some anonymous offense that they wouldn't explain to me. Things like that happened over and over and over and over and over again, for several months.
  • Sometime in February / March 2002, I ask one of Caryn's former PA's what she thought of working with Caryn. A very bubbly person, she became uncharicteristically quiet and said, "I hated her and I hated Taylor because of her." She explained to me that Caryn at one point presented her with a list of all the things she'd been doing wrong as a PA -- and then questioned whether she could do her job and if she even still wanted to. Sound familiar?
  • April 2002, not long before the conference, I wrote a letter to Wynn Lembright and Walt Campbell telling them about my experiences over the last couple of months. I assured them the conference would be okay, but asked them to intervene as soon as possible. They assured me they'd fully look into the matter.
  • A few days later, Mary Rayburn schedules a meeting with me. In that meeting she tells me she was given the letter (I'd find out later that it was given to her by my student co-director). She told Caryn, and together they met with the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Campus Ministries and other sordid higher-ups. I wasn't invited. In that meeting, they pronounced judgement on me. Mary told me I was "to be careful" -- I was admonished for going over her head. For an hour and a half, she told me how disrespectful and insubordinate I was. She told me how I destroyed the conference. I left that meeting and cried for most of the night.
  • The next week, I agree that immediately after the conference is over, I would be done with it, Caryn and Mary Rayburn. I never stepped foot back inside TWO. I didn't go to the induction for the new co-directors and when I received a small Bible as my gift from TWO -- with a hand-written note on the inside that said, "Thanks for all your hard work with Youth Conference," -- I gave it away to someone I met on the street in Muncie.
The next step in my Taylor saga was this post. It's pretty clear, so I'll move on to the next issue in my next post.