What Would You Do?
Trill or Not Trill?

When you work in Student Affairs, there will always be stories for days. In fact, stories for decades. We reached out to a few of our colleagues in the field and asked them to share some of their harrowing tales. Today, we have a male who works within a TRIO office at a 4 year public school.

I’ve been waiting for working as an assistant director of a TRIO program at a 4 year public institution for five years now. I absolutely love my students and the staff is incredible as well. Every year we have a tradition where for the the director’s and my birthday we have a what we call the “unreal birthday celebration.” The entire staff and students come together in our common area and give prank gifts. For example my boss is a diehard Cowboys fan and someone got him an Eagles t shirt. Another year someone gave me a Taylor Swift concert poster. It’s all in fun and never gets out of hand.

This year my birthday came around and we got together for another unreal
Now, let me say this, I am an openly gay man and it has never been an issue. I’ve never felt uncomfortable and even in jest people haven’t been remotely offensive. I only even bring this up because of a gift I received. My boss hands me a wrapped up cylinder object. I rip off the paper and it’s a porcelain cucumber. He heartily laughs don’t have too much after hours with that one. This all happens in front of our staff, graduate assistants and even a couple of summer student workers were there. Some people join him in laughter, others are nervously chuckling. I’m standing there in a bit of shock. Before I could gather an appropriate reaction someone hands me a copy of Mr Popper’s Penguins on DVD. We then enjoy lunch, cut cake and sing happy birthday.
Now maybe I’m looking too much into this, but something doesn’t feel right. How do I approach my boss? Should I tell them how inappropriate his gift and comment werenand move on? Is this an HR discussion?


What Would You Do?