Statement from TJC President Mike Metke:
A report was recently aired on one of the local channels in which a former Apache Belle alleged that she had been bullied by other Belles. The College had already been investigating this matter but student privacy requirements had not allowed us to counter the claims that were made. The unsubstantiated allegations that were aired were hurtful to many of our current and former Belles. Please know that I am very proud of our Belles, the wonderful history of the program and the renaissance that the Belles are currently having under Jasilyn Schaefer’s leadership. Below is the statement that was released yesterday:
“In the wake of news reports of a former Apache Belle’s claims that she was bullied by other students, Tyler Junior College issues the following statement:
For over 65 years, the TJC Apache Belles have a proud history of preparing young women for leadership and success beyond college and TJC will make sure the proud traditions of the Belles and other student organizations continue to benefit future students.
While civility and safety issues are of the highest priority at TJC and any bullying is absolutely prohibited, it is always critical to conduct a thorough investigation before concluding that one person’s account is factual and tells the entire story.
College officials have been investigating this matter for over a week and expect to conclude their investigation sometime next week. There are conflicting accounts from multiple witnesses that do not support the accounts of the persons that reached out to the local media, but student privacy regulations and the need to complete a thorough investigation prevent the College from providing more details.
No evidence of bullying has been found to corroborate the reported allegations thus far.
The former Apache Belle, Jessica Williams, was removed from the Apache Belles on November 6 after another student alleged that Ms. Williams made threats against her. Ms. Williams was moved to another residence hall building pending completion of the Student Code of Conduct investigation, which continues. On November 13, Ms. Williams withdrew from classes at TJC and vacated her residence hall.
The College has also appointed a task force to review and update guidelines for all student groups to ensure they reflect current expectations for student behavior.”
MyTJCNews is investigating allegations of bullying within Apache Belles.
Statement from TJC about alleged bullying:
“Tyler Junior College is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment in which to live and learn. We take this situation very seriously and have launched a thorough study into the matter surrounding the student’s claims. The inquiry will involve multiple interviews with students, faculty, staff and administrators. We take these allegations very seriously and will pursue the appropriate course of action.”
Statement about wording in Apache Belle Handbook:
“The Apache Belles have a proud history of performance and service to others. For 66 years, Belles have gained leadership skills and tools for success that have served them throughout their professional lives. However, historical documents created to reflect organizational expectations during the Belles’ early years have not been subject to recent review, and may not accurately reflect current culture. As a result, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Juan Mejia – who joined TJC in October – has been appointed to chair a student review committee that will examine the documents and practices of all student groups and organizations. Necessary revisions to documents will be implemented post-haste.”
We will have more information as it becomes available.