The Harvard Law School Administrative Board (Ad Board) dropped charges this week against 14 students who had been implicated for violating Law School alcohol policy.
The students—who helped run an international party in February that attracted more than 400 guests—contended that they were unaware that the alcohol policy, which prevents serving hard liquor on campus, applied to them, since the same international party had served hard alcohol in years past.
The party—which was held in Pound Hall—featured tables representing different countries. Some of the tables served samples of hard alcohol.
“Today, we know that there is no exemption,” said Antonio E.L. Amaro, one of the students who said he was charged. “The charges were dropped against all of the fourteen students, but with the recognition that there are no exceptions to the alcohol policy.”
But some of the students who were charged questioned the investigatory process behind the Ad Board review.
While students said there were 35 tables at the international party, only 14 individuals were charged, and the students said they were unsure how the administration decided whom to punish.
On Monday, the implicated students, who referred to themselves as the “Harvard 14,” held a meeting in a classroom at Pound Hall to rally support from their peers and express their dissatisfaction with the procedural stage of the review. Approximately 20 students packed into the small classroom, and those who had been charged distributed “statements of support.”
“I consider it unfair that seven country tables...have been singled out for disciplinary action given that so many members of the LL.M. and JD communities were involved in this event,” the letter said, referring to the two different Law School programs. “Our intent was simply to honor an LL.M. tradition and to enhance a feeling of good fellowship amongst LL.M.s and JDs by sharing our local cultures with the Law School community.”
While most of the students had not been formally charged until the last two weeks, they said they had received word of possible disciplinary action from Ellen M. Cosgrove, the Law School dean of students, only two days after the party took place.
In an e-mailed statement, Cosgrove declined to comment on the situation because she did not want to discuss Ad Board matters. However, she indicated that the “Law School does have a policy...and makes it clear that violations of the policy can subject students to an Ad Board disciplinary proceeding.”
—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at email@example.com.