SJB Finds Need-Blind Protestors Responsible
The Student Judicial Board (SJB) officially ruled on the case of the nine students involved in the Sept. 23 need-blind admissions protest at the Board of Trustees meeting. All nine students were found in violation of Section II Regulation 14 of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct (CNAC), Failure to Comply, but were not found in violation of Regulation 15, Disruption. All nine students were issued disciplinary warnings, which are the least severe sanctions that can be given to students.
“I was disappointed that we were found responsible, but I think the SJB sent a strong message in giving us the lowest possible sanction,” said Ben Doernberg ’13, who was one of the students that received a sanction. “I think it’s also very significant that they said that what we did was not a violation of the school’s policy on disruption. I think it’s very important that [going against] the administration is not something that should get students in judicial trouble.”
Evan Bieder ’15, who also received a sanction, found the implications of the final ruling in this case to be troubling.
“I think it doesn’t actually make sense to find us innocent of 15 but guilty of 14 because that basically says that our protest was allowed but we should have listened to PSafe,” Bieder said. “Which basically means that no matter what PSafe says you have to listen to them even if you’re in the rules, which doesn’t make sense to me.”
Two of the students confirmed that they received emails from Dean of Students Richard Culliton beginning on Friday and continuing over the weekend.
“The sanction for you is a disciplinary warning,” read the email from Culliton. “You will receive a formal decision letter on Monday...I should mention that interrupting an executive session of a board meeting could be considered a violation of the disruptions policy even if Public Safety officers were not there to warn you not to enter, but the board was sympathetic to you and the others because they believed that much of the interaction with the trustees was civil and as a result they were hesitant to appear overly punitive in their findings and sanction.”
So far, none of the students involved in the case have expressed any intention to appeal the SJB’s decision. A few students mentioned that they were focused on continuing to work in support of need-blind admissions.
“I haven’t talked with anybody else about it, [but] my personal feeling at this point is that I think there’s a lot of things going on right now that I’d prefer to focus on [rather] than appealing [the SJB decision],” said Aron Chilewich ’14. “If everybody appealed it together then I might, but if not I’ll take this and move on to the next step.”
Doernberg echoed this sentiment.
“I think the action at the football game and the banner drop and all the other activities this weekend show that people were not scared away by the unjust judicial charges,” Doernberg said.