The Path to Public Service at SEAS


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Harvard is so surprised at the leniency of Bennett Ryan's sentence because it really isn't a sentence at all. No one can think that a $100 fine inflicts any hardships on the guilty person; no one can think a six months' suspended sentence is actually punishment. The only inconvenience that Ryan will suffer is responsibility to a New York probationary officer to whom he has to report every six months.

He must have experienced humiliation, of course. But if this were to teach him satisfactorily, it is reasonable to believe that he might have learned his lesson when he was suspended from College for assaulting a couple on Mount Auburn Street under the influence of liquor. But perhaps the Dunster Assault has attracted so much more notoriety that the humiliation will be more effective.

People often claim that Harvard prestige and wealth make for special privilege. It can be pointed out that Harvard has utilized no influence in this trial whatsoever; she did not even educate the Judge. Consequently, the responsibility for the sentence, which must seem like a joke to the public and a triumph to vested interests, rests solely with Judge Green, not with the College.

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