Seven undergraduates were put on a month's probation for "flagrant violation of University and Cambridge parking regulations," Dean Delmar Leighton revealed yesterday. The seven, who are juniors and seniors in good academic standing, had received at least eight and in some cases 12 tickets apiece for illegal parking during the past academic year.
This marks the first time the University has made public such a disciplinary move. It is clearly intended as a warning to future violators.
Since the punishment takes effect immediately, it prevents several of the offenders from participating in athletic contests with Yale this weekend.
Leighton called the "flagrancy of their violations rather than the violation itself" the main reason for his action. "This isn't just an arbitrary example," he said.
"We're doing this so that the community will feel the University is acting with some perception of the parking problem, for it's general."
Although University regulations contain no specific reference to disciplinary action for parking violations, the Dean cited a sentence under "Discipline" in the booklet "Regulations for Students in Harvard College" as the general grounds for his action.
He referred to the clause "offense against law and order or failure to behave with the maturity and responsibility expected of a Harvard student."
When contacted last night several of the violators strongly protested against this ruling as "too general." "The Administration ought to have spelled out where we were going wrong," one student complained.
Normally, the owners of illegally parked cars are fined up to $5 for repeated violations. According to the practice which is generally observed, any student with over five parking tickets is referred to a dean by University police.
This is not the first time the University has formally disciplined students for parking misdemeanors.