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Rights Committee to Hear Charges Against Students Participating in Obstruction


The University will take the first steps to discipline the students who obstructed Dean May during the sit-in at University Hall Wednesday.

At a press conference yesterday May said he will file charges today with the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities against students who "denied him liberty of movement or took part in the obstructive demonstration."

The committee-established in September to handle student discipline during University crises-will decide Monday when to begin hearing complaints against individual students, James Q. Wilson, professor of Government and chairman of the committee, said yesterday.

He said the nine-member committee has already been divided into three hearing panels, each composed of one student and two Faculty members. These panels will consider testimony by witnesses and statements and evidence from both complainants and accused students. After the hearings, Wilson said, the panels will submit a report on each case to full committee, which will decide the punishments.

Committee's Authority

Wilson said that the committee has authority to require a student to withdraw, to separate a student, or to issue him a warning-all without the possibility of an appeal. Punishments of expulsion or dismissal requires a two-thirds vote of the Faculty.

May said that demonstrators who prevented him from leaving his office violated the Faculty Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities, which condemns as "unacceptable" any forcible interference with freedom of movement of any members or guest of the University."

May declined to reveal how many students he would bring charges against. He said he would prefer to let the committee decide what policy it will follow on releasing information.

Closed Hearings

The hearings will be closed to the public, Wilson said. He added that under no circumstances would the committee reveal the names of students charged. Wilson and May declined to explain how the University would identify demonstrators.

Wilson said that the panels will hear the University's complaint against a student even if he refuses to attend his hearing.

May read two statements Wednesday telling the demonstrators that they were violating the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities, and warring them that if they continued to block his exit, they would face disciplinary action.

"I was prepared to warn the students there that they were in danger of temporary suspension," May said. He added, "I was prepared if necessary to invoke temporary suspension."

Temporary Suspension

Under the temporary suspension policy formulated by the "Subcommittee of Six" -composed of three students and three Faculty members from the Committee of Fifteen-the Dean of the Faculty can temporarily suspend students without the subcommittee's approval. He can take this action when he concludes that temporary suspension would prevent an imminent "unacceptable activity" as defined by the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities.

The committee will discipline only Harvard students. Wilson said that if the University wishes to prosecute non-students it must file charges with the Cambridge Police. A spokesman for the Cambridge Police said no complaints had been tiled as yet.

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