RLC Rachel Meseke to leave Grinnell

Clangrala RLC Rachel Meseke - Paul Kramer

Clangrala RLC Rachel Meseke - Paul Kramer

On Feb 20, Residence Life will lose its second RLC this year when Rachel Meseke leaves her position to work at another college. Meseke has served as the RLC for Clangrala all year, and has worked as the Smounker RLC this semester after former RLC Jim McCarthy resigned over winter break.

“I feel bad up and leaving in the middle of the semester but this is a great job, so I don’t want to chance that,” Meseke said. Her new job will be an administrative position dealing with housing at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

After Meseke informed Student Affairs of her intention to leave during the middle of last week, the office acted quickly to fill the open position. Marcia Purdy, who served as interim director of Intercultural Affairs during the fall semester, will step in as the RLC for Smounker and Clangrala for the remainder of the year. Purdy was unable to be reached for comment before the S&B went to print.

“She loves working with college students, and really has a commitment to Grinnell,” said Dean of Students Travis Greene. “She’s a non-traditional person in that she’s had some really good life experience and probably older than a traditional RLC, but really does a nice job of building relationships with students.”

Students who worked with Purdy during the fall said that she was a good fit for the College. “Her nickname is Ma, and she’s very motherly, and she’s a lot of fun,” said Leah Krandel ’09. “I think she’s a really great ally, and cares a lot about students.”

While most were positive about the choice of Purdy to fill the newly open slot, there is disappointment that another change to RLCs is occurring midyear. “I’m really upset because I had been talking to [Rachel] about the possibility of staying next year, because she was a really strong RLC, and with new RLC’s leaving she’d help out with that turnover,” said Kathleen Murphy-Geiss ’11, a Student Advisor in Gates. “[But] as much as it sucks for our staff, it’s really good for her, so I’m happy for her.”

Greene noted that RLCs leaving during the middle of the year poses a serious problem for Student Affairs. “I worry most about the Smounker staff. They’ve gone through this twice now,” Greene said. “That’s unacceptable in my mind. It’s unacceptable that people leave mid-semester, but I understand the reality behind it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.”

Greene said that Student Affairs may consider implementing changes to next year’s RLC program to encourage staff members to remain for the full year. “I’m not opposed to looking at ways for them to sign some agreement that says, ‘I pledge, or indicate, that I’ll be here for the remainder of at least a year,’” he said.

—additional reporting by J. Francis Buse and David Logan