BROOKS LOBBY—Barnard students are protesting against their college’s sign-out policy, citing a recent incident in the Brooks lobby. Xiao Fei, SEAS ’18, was visiting her friend, an unnamed sophomore resident of Hewitt Hall, when she began to feel unsettled in her lower abdomen. After her Barnard friend had to leave for a meeting, Fei was left in the Hewitt 4th floor bathroom to fend for herself. Shortly thereafter her water broke, and she, with the assistance of RA Erica Jonas, BC ’17, called CUEMS to bring her to St. Luke’s in order to deliver her child.
When CUEMS arrived, Fei realized that she would have to be signed out of Barnard. The college’s sign-out policy requires that the student who signs a guest in also sign the guest out. Unable to reach her friend, Fei was trapped. The Public Safety employee at the entrance of Brooks reportedly stated, “Ma’am, we have a strict policy. If I go around making exceptions for rogue guests, it entirely defeats the purpose of security. This policy is made specifically to prevent the murders and rapes that would otherwise occur in this building.” Despite the pleading of Fei and CUEMS, Barnard Public Safety refused to allow Fei to exit the building without being signed out.
As a result, CUEMS paramedics, untrained in the field of childbirthing, had to deliver the baby on the floor by the entrance of Brooks. Fortunately, the delivery went smoothly and Ms. Fei gave birth to a healthy baby boy. “At least it will make for a solid application essay,” Fei remarked. The security guard, who will remain anonymous for the sake of his personal safety, stated, “We have a policy. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. This girl was attempting to break regulations, and we can’t have that. In protest, she left a bloody mess of placenta, umbilical cord, and who knows what else on the floor. Talk about a lack of respect for our hardworking facilities workers at Barnard. Plus, I had to sit and deal with that sight and scent for the last hour and a half of my shift. No respect.”
Ms. Fei has reported that she is seeing Columbia Psychological Services, which has been very helpful in her emotional recovery. Her baby is in good health, and happily enjoying the attention and occasional Alexi vodka shot he gets in her EC suite. She has said that she appreciates the support she has received from Barnard students, and hopes to devote extensive time to the movement to change the policy once her baby is old enough to go to daycare.