At student meeting, Interim Acting Principal Jahoda refuses Classic questions

HTML tutorial

For all recent articles reporting on the ongoing controversy surrounding IA Principal Rosemarie Jahoda, The Classic has sought comment from the interim principal. Since December 13, every time a Classic reporter has sought comment from Ms. Jahoda, she has described herself as “unavailable.” To address this, The Classic was recently invited to a Consultative Council meeting by Student Union President Alex Chen, which provided reporters Sumaita Hasan and Mehrose Ahmad time to ask questions. Before the students asked questions, however, Ms. Jahoda told those present that she “will not respond to Classic questions.”

At the meeting, which took place on January 19 during sixth band, Alex said that several students in the school were concerned that Ms. Jahoda was not responding to The Classic. When Alex raised the issue, Ms. Jahoda told those in attendance: “Well first, let me be very clear. I do not give consent to be recorded and I will not respond to Classic questions.”

Editor-in-Chief Sumaita Hasan and Managing Editor Mehrose Ahmad from The Classic planned to ask Ms. Jahoda questions regarding the resuming of the c30 process and the allegations made by Anna Schumann and Eva Hangartner, which were recently  covered in The New York Post.

When Senior Class President Marina Aweeda interjected to ask why Ms. Jahoda would not take questions from The Classic, Ms. Jahoda replied, “That’s my prerogative. You cannot force a person to be interviewed. If you have concerns, you’re free to ask me about it. That’s why I’m here.”

Afterwards, Sumaita addressed the principal. In the midst of Sumaita saying, “Thank you for your time,” Ms. Jahoda interrupted her and said: “I am not responding to The Classic. This is the Student Union council.”

There were many reactions to this encounter. Club Liaison Carmela Lopez said that she felt “surprised and confused.” She also remarked that “the way she [Ms. Jahoda] spoke also just felt rude, especially since it [the request for a comment] was brought up in a respectful way.”

Alex said, “I think IAP Jahoda failed to understand the concern students have to holistically understand the issues that The Classic brings up by denying to comment. However, I’m glad we have finally seen some semblance of interaction between IAP Jahoda and The Classic.” He also felt that it was “imperative that a strong link remains between such a publication, which seeks to uncover the truth.”

Dean Robin Figelman, who was present at the meeting, said, “I thought that Ms. Jahoda was very dismissive of The Classic members that were there to ask questions. I was disappointed that our principal did not want to clarify things with our school newspaper. I don’t think that any other [former] principals would have been as dismissive to a newspaper that was near and dear to the heart of Townsend Harris.”

Junior Class President Kathy Ling observed that the situation “spoke volumes about the relationship between her [Ms. Jahoda] and the rest of the school; if the principal refuses to talk to the student newspaper of her own school, it is clear that she knows there is a problem, but is, dare I say, afraid to address it. She is making no effort to empathize with the student body and has an incredibly short sighted view of the issues at hand.”

However Kathy “can’t say [she] was surprised.” She said that the IA Principal used a “very abrupt tone and even talked over the Editor-in-Chief.’” Kathy questioned that “If the Consultative Council, the monthly meeting that brings together the SU board and administration, is not the place to address this issue, then where is?”

Marina agreed, emphasizing, “It [was] unreasonable of her not to take questions because we opened the floor for student concerns and one of the main student concerns is that she dodges The Classic” and that IA Principal Jahoda “was not very polite about it either.”

Conversely, Vice President senior Katerina Jou thought that “ [Ms. Jahoda had] a right to decline to comment.” However, she still felt that saying “it’s ‘her prerogative’ [didn’t] really provide too much defense for her refusal.”

Mehrose said, “Our job as reporters is to try to get comments from everyone referenced in our articles. We will continue to seek comment from Ms. Jahoda because we believe it is fair to her to do so.”