Law Students Admonished for PSLM Sit-In

The Administrative Board of Harvard Law School officially reprimanded four students Friday involved in the occupation of Massachusetts Hall, declining to impose the less-severe punishment of a warning, which has been the standard punishment for sit-ins in recent memory.

The reprimands will be placed on the students’ transcripts and can be reported to state Board of Bar Examiners, which could have a negative impact on the professional careers of the so-called “Law School four.”

First-year law student Faisal I. Chaudhry, second-year Ashwini Sukthankar, second-year Fatma E. Marouf and third-year Aaron D. Bartley were present at the six-and-a-half hour long public hearing deciding their disciplinary fate. More than 50 people attended, including faculty members, alumni, dining hall workers and a representative from the United Ministry.

“I’m disappointed and surprised,” said attorney John D. Fitzpatrick of the harsher-than-expected punishment. Fitzpatrick and Law School professor Lani Guinier represented the four students.

Fitzpatrick declined to critique the decision until the Administrative Board issues its written opinion later this month.

On May 15, the College students involved in the sit-in received three weeks of disciplinary probation from the College Administrative Board, and the two Kennedy School of Government students involved received no disciplinary action.

But the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) was less hesitant to criticize the board, calling its reprimands “politically motivated” and “petty.”

“The ad board should be ashamed to punish these students,” PSLM member Amy C. Offner ’01 wrote in an e-mail to Chair of the Ad Board Richard D. Parker, a professor of criminal justice.