IN ITS DISCUSSION of punishment for the Paine Hall demonstrators, the Administrative Board has been giving serious consideration to the possibility of punishing those involved in last year's Dow demonstration more severely than those who were not. We have argued before that the Paine Hall demonstration does not warrant any substantial punishment; but if the Administrative Board is determined to punish the students involved, it should not try to single out the Dow demonstrators for especially harsh treatment.
No one really knows who the Dow demonstrators were. The students who were punished last Fall were little more than a random sampling of the 300 people who were present at the demonstration. Identification of students was haphazard, and evidence was handled quite differently from one House to the next--with the result that one House accounted for more than half of the students punished. To suspend students now on the basis of these chaotic proceedings would be grossly unfair.
But even if the Dow demonstrators had been carefully and fairly identified, special punishment for them now still would be unjustified. The theory apparently is that students with the University equivalent of a criminal record should be punished more harshly. But there is a gulf in severity between probation and suspension: one restricts a student's activities for a term, the other excludes him from the community and subjects him to the draft--hardly an analogy to giving a bank robber who is a second offender an extra year or two in jail. Probation amounts to a warning that if a student commits the same kind of offence during the next term he will be suspended. Unless that sanction ends when the probation period ends, the punishment means nothing. The Dow demonstrators have been off probation since June, everyone at Paine Hall did the same thing, and no one should be singled out for special punishment.
Whatever they are, the Ad Board's recommendations will be presented to the Faculty today. There will be no opportunity for Faculty members to discuss these recommendations before today's meeting, and consequently there is little chance that the Faculty will alter them. Since the Ad Board has not announced its recommendations on punishment soon enough so that students and Faculty could discuss them, a solution that juggles the existing disciplinary rules would be particularly odious.