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Nicholas Dike, Keegan Rayford, Keithan Rayford – NYRA-Xavier University
At Xavier University of Louisiana, three sophomore students: Nicholas Dozie Dike as well as Keegan and Keithan Rayford were denied the right to be in the regular sophomore dormitory with their fellow peers due to their age. All three students are seventeen years old and are three of the youngest individuals to ever attend the university. The Xavier University Student Handbook states that there are two male dormitories serving the University’s residential population. St. Michaels Hall is the freshman dorm and St. Martin Deporres Hall is the dorm for upperclassmen. Placements in these two dorms are strictly determined on the basis of classification. All three students have met all the university requirements to be considered sophomores. As these three students were about to finish their freshman year at the institution, they all paid their housing deposit and applied for housing before the deadline to reserve rooms at St. Martin Deporres for their Fall 2011 semester.
Recently, as they were about to begin their sophomore year. they were told by university authorities that due to liabilities they would be unable to reside at St. Martin Deporres. Despite being sophomores, they were placed in the freshman dormitory, St. Michaels, yet again. Although, the student handbook states:
“The university shall assume no responsibility, and the student or other party to the housing agreement shall indemnify and hold harmless Xavier University and its agents and employees, for any and all claims arising from personal injury or for the loss, damage or theft of personal property belonging to or in the custody of the student(s) for any cause whatsoever, whether such losses occur in student rooms, public areas or elsewhere in or around the residence halls. The student is encouraged to carry insurance for protection against such losses”(p. 20).
According to the text, because Xavier University holds no liability towards students for claims that arise from personal injury, loss, damage, or theft of personal property, Xavier University should not prohibit any student from residing in any dorm that they are eligible to reside in for the reason of liability. The statement specifies students, and does not include any special exceptions due to age. Although, Judy E. Bracy, Director of Housing and Residence Life, stated that she denied ever having a liability discussion with any of the three individuals. Furthermore, all three students were first told by the Judy Bracy that they were deprived of access to the sophomore dorms because of their age. However, when speaking to Joseph Byrd, Vice President of Student Services, they were told they were put into the freshman dormitory because the sophomore dormitory was full. What Mr. Bryd said could not have been the truth because Keegan and Keithan Rayford were told that the dormitory was full on August 9th, however there were multiple students who arrived at Xavier University after this date who were allowed to move into St. Martin Deporres, although they had not paid their housing deposit in advance. Since these students are qualified sophomores, and also completed their housing application before the deadline and have consented to Xavier University’s rule of liability in their student handbook there is no logical reason to place them in the freshmen dormitory. Yet, still they are denied housing at St. Martin Deporres. Xavier University is discriminating against these students because of their age.
Both Keegan Rayford spoke with Judy Bracy on August 22nd. When Keegan asked Judy Bracy if there was anything that he could do about his housing situation she shouted in an impolite manner, “Didn’t I talk to yo mama last week? I told her I’m not putting y’all in Deporres and that’s final.” When he asked why he was being put into the freshman dormitory she then told him that he was being put there specifically because of his age, not because he wasn’t considered a sophomore. Nicholas also spoke with Judy Bracy on the same day. He asked why he was placed in St. Michaels yet again and she said, “Strictly because of your age. There is no other underlining reason.” To this date, the Xavier University Director of Housing, Judy Bracy, refuses to give a reason as to why age is a factor in placing these three students in St. Martin Deporres. All these three sophomores want is equal treatment, is that too much to ask for?
At my school, we have very harsh rules regarding identification cards. We are told to wear them constantly, because drug dealers were at our school one day dealing drugs to students. Essentially, they were telling us that these IDs keep drugs out of our school, and lower the rate of rules broken at our school. It is mildly upsetting to see certain students filling up the detention room because they forget their ID card, rather than other students who got into trouble for more serious infractions. It has only created more problems for the school.
What has happened since then is increased penalties on students who forget their IDs. When it was first enacted in 2004 at my school, we’d get a detention if we forgot our ID multiple times. Now, if we forget it more than 4 times per semester, we face suspension or expulsion…simply because we are either forgetful or wish not to wear a degrading lanyard and badge, which makes us feel like cattle. I, myself, found a way to beat the system and put a picture of my school ID on a t-shirt. It is the only way I know how to beat the system.
When I was 12, I went to the library, where someone was holding a discussion for one of my favorite books (and inspiration for the novel I’m writing right now), Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I was pretty much the only teen there. The others? Senior citizens. And instead of discrimination, people were impressed by my input and me. I forgot what we discussed – something about how modern society represents the society in the book. But yes, I impressed and even made friends with the leader of the discussion. My mom was even getting comments like, “Your daughter will go far in life.” And I believe I will.
For my brother’s 21st birthday I traveled to upstate NY to his college. It was obvious we were going to be drinking; he waited 21 years to drink legally. We started off with beer and a dinner of shrimp and steak that his frat brother cooked for us. After the dinner we played video games and smoked some weed. I was 17 and had seen my share of parties before but wasn’t quite ready for the college night life. We went to a house party and played beer pong. I relaxed and had a great time. My cousin was with us and the night couldn’t be any more perfect. However, when we went back to my brother’s dorm room I began vomiting.
It was around 3am by this time and my brother, being a very sensitive person, began to panic. He thought I was vomiting too much and thought something was seriously wrong, despite how much my cousin tried to comfort him. He called my parents, and my parents, they told him to call 911. The police and ambulance came and “ran a line” on me, which meant they replenished my fluids and made me feel like a new person that was pretty much sober. However I was under 18, and by law I had to go to the hospital. Once in the hospital the pushy nurses quickly striped me and hooked IVs in me, despite no longer being drunk or vomiting. They hardly spoke to me or really asked me anything.
The doctor came in and she looked like a mix between a witch and a librarian. She barked at me when she spoke, and she seemed irritable and angry. Now looking back on it I think she wanted to teach me a lesson not to drink, but if it wasn’t for the underage laws I wouldn’t have been there in the first place. I complied with her every demand and I asked if I could leave because I felt fine and she sharply said no. She told me that because I was underage I had to stay. I felt bad for my brother who sat beside me the entire time.
When she reentered the room she had a bizarre water-bottle-looking type container. She told me that she was required to do a drug test and to urinate in it. Her words were sharp and she was nearly screeching at me. However I couldn’t urinate, no matter how hard I tried. Maybe it was because I was nervous or that I simply urinated too much before I went to the hospital but no matter what I did I couldn’t go. Less than 10 minutes passed and she took my brother outside, and when he came back in he told me that if I didn’t urinate they were going to catheterize me. He tried to explain it to me but neither of us really knew what a catheter was and I told him that, that was ridiculous and I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t go.
I then pretended to fall asleep, hoping that they would see that I was asleep and would leave me alone. My brother sat down in the chair beside my bed. About 20 minutes passed and I heard the nurses enter, they told my brother to leave. I was so still I barely made a move; it must have been obvious I was faking sleeping. I felt cool air hit my body when the nurse lifted my gown, it felt as if she was molesting me or something because I felt her pulling on my penis and for a second it felt a little good. I still feel like something is wrong with me for it feeling good. She pulled on my penis till it was erect and I heard her make a joke about it to the other nurse. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. I sat up and asked her what she was doing. She told me to relax and to take a deep breath, I said no, and the other nurse put her hand on my chest and told me to take a deep breath. Before I could push her hand off my chest the other nurse shoved the catheter tube in my penis. I have felt pain before but I have never felt pain close to this in my life. I gave a high-pitched yelping sound that my brother later told me he heard from outside the room.
Nobody warned me what they were doing besides my brother and the amount of pain to expect. I told them, TAKE IT OUT TAKE IT OUT, however, she pushed it all the way in. The other nurse held me down although I wasn’t fighting back very hard because every time I moved it hurt more. I was embarrassed, humiliated, afraid and in more pain than I have ever felt in my life. Then I felt this strange expanding feeling in my lower stomach and the nurse told me to not to pull the catheter out because there was a balloon expanded in my bladder that will tear me if I yanked on it. They stayed in the room for a short while after it was inserted and then left. Either the doctor was incompetent or sadistic, but she left the catheter in for four agonizingly long hours. The catheter burned while it was inside of me. After the four agonizing hours a male nurse came in and said, “Are you okay bud.” I never forgot the look on his face. He said, “I’m going to take this out of you now.” The pain was almost as bad as it was coming in. When the drug test came back all they found was the weed and alcohol. Later the next day, the nurse gave me my clothes back and sent me on my way. My penis burned for the following three days.
For the years that followed I had random memories of the event playing out in my head. I was so humiliated by them that I didn’t tell anyone I knew. Five years passed and I buried everything inside of me as much as I could. I fought with my parents and moved out at 20. Now I’m 22, and fortunately I found psychology, and they, for the most part, got me back on track in a lot of ways. The truth is that one incident isn’t the sole reason why my life spiraled downward they way it did. However, it was one of the reasons and, none the less was sadistic, cruel and very wrong.
For those of you who believe that the doctor was trying to save my life, “adult” patients are allowed to have a DNR, which means do not resuscitate – allow death to occur naturally. Maybe it’s just me but I think that if a 40 year old is allowed to die, then a 17 should be allowed to refuse a tube being forced up their genitals for a simple drug test. Or at the very least, given a choice to the drug test. I wasn’t even asked for consent to the catheter. It turns out there are cases where this has happened before to adults and they have sued the hospital. I urge you to take a look, at one case, where a prisoner was forcibly catheterized for medical purposes and even then, the hospital was required to receive consent before the procedure was performed. What kind of place do we live in where a prisoner is allowed to consent, but a 17 year old isn’t? This is the website for the case.
The prisoner won in this case. Five long years of hell passed after the incident, realizing that I was at the very least, “poorly treated”, by the doctor I tried to sue or pursue some sort of justice for myself. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for malpractice is 3 years and there were no lawyers willing to take the case under those circumstances. Youth oppression is sadistic. The thing that really bothers me the most is that my story might be a scenario for some other teenager, or unspeakably a child, out there who is just trying to fall in love and have fun.