Former Defense Department General Counsel Appointed Harvard’s Top Lawyer


Democracy Center Protesters Stage ‘Emergency Rally’ with Pro-Palestine Activists Amid Occupation


Harvard Violated Contract With HGSU in Excluding Some Grad Students, Arbitrator Rules


House Committee on China to Probe Harvard’s Handling of Anti-CCP Protest at HKS


Harvard Republican Club Endorses Donald Trump in 2024 Presidential Election

Rights Committee Fires Sixteen For Role in November 19 Sit-in

By Mitchell S. Fishman

Harvard has ordered 16 students to leave the University because of their participation in the sit-in Dean May's office November 19.

The Interim Committee on Rights and Responsibilities announced its decision yesterday, but did not reveal any of the students' names. It labeled the demonstration "an unambiguous 'obstruction' in the most serious sense of the word."

Two students have been "separated" -one until January 1972 and the other until February 1971. Separated students can return to the University only on a majority vote of the Faculty.

Fourteen others have been "required to withdraw" for periods ranging from six months to a year-and-a-half. They may return to Harvard at the end of their period of discipline with the approval of the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.

The action by the nine-member committee-which has exercised disciplinary powers for the Faculty since September 30-was the first punishment of students for participation in a Harvard demonstration since the Committee of Fifteen acted against 135 students after last April's occupation of University Hall.

Effective Immediately

James Q. Wilson, professor of Government and chairman of the Rights committee, said yesterday that the panel's decisions are effective immediately, and that the 16 students would not be permitted to take their final examinations in January.

In addition, Wilson said, the 16 will be forbidden "to be present in the Harvard University community, without specific authorization, until and unless" they are re-admitted to the University, and they will be warned that "failure to observe this requirement will jeopardize [their] chances for readmission, and may have legal consequences."

Legal Action

Wilson said the Rights committee might ask police to make arrests for trespassing, or might seek an injunction from the civil courts, if it found that students were "repeatedly and significantly" violating the terms of their exclusion from the University.

SDS co-chairman Cheyney C. Ryan '69-4 and SDS-member Judy Kauffman' 70 issued a statement on the committee's decisions last night. Their statement is reprinted at the end of this story. SDS will hold a meeting at 7:30 tonight in Lowell Lecture Hall to consider the punishments.

The Demonstration

Dean May charged 25 students with violating various provisions of the Faculty's Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities after more than 100 members of SDS and other students sat-in at his office November 19 and a group of them prevented him from leaving by linking their arms and surrounding his desk.

The demonstrators were demanding that Harvard promote workers now classified as "painters' helpers" to "painters," and that 20 per cent of the labor force on University construction sites be "blacks or third-world" workers.

The committee allowed seven of the students May charged to remain at the University, but placed them "under warning" or gave them "suspended suspensions."

The committee also "admonished" one student-a penalty which Wilson said

"carries no sanction" -and acquitted another.


Each of the 25 students whom May charged will receive a letter from the Rights committee today informing him of the outcome of his case. Each student has three days to ask for a reconsideration of the committee's decision. The committee will re-open a case if it feels a student has evidence contradicting its first findings, Wilson said.

In every case, Wilson said, students disciplined were identified by May or by Archie C, Epps, assistant dean of the College, and by "photographic evidence submitted by May." The committee gave all students charged an opportunity to confront May at hearings, and "a minority," Wilson said, did so.

In meting out discipline, the committee drew "a distinction in degree" between those "most actively participating in the forcible confinement of Dean May, and those who participated with their immediate presence and support." It also considered any prior disciplinary record.

Specific Findings

The 16 required to leave the University fall into six categories. The committee found that:

One student not only "participated in the obstructive demonstration," but also "incited others forcibly to interfere with the freedom of movement of the Dean." This student had previously been "severed" from the University, although that severance had been suspended. He has been separated until "no earlier than January 1. 1972."

One student "participated" and "on another occasion that same day threatened to eject forcibly from University Hall two officers of the University." This student has been suspended "for a period ending no earlier than February 1. 1971."

Three students "not only participated . . . but . . . forcibly interfered with the movement of the Dean." None of the three had previously been disciplined. They are required to withdraw until "no earlier than June 30, 1971." However, the committee has suspended these "suspensions" for the period following September 1, 1970. and says that the students my petition to return to the University next Fall.

Four students "participated," but only "actively contributed to efforts that interfered forcibly" with May's freedom of movement. Two had no disciplinary records, and the requirement that they with draw from the University has been suspended; two with disciplinary records have been required to withdraw "for varying periods of time up to February 1, 1971, depending on the gravity of their prior offense."

Nine students-who received warnings after the occupation of University Hall last April-"participated" in the demonstration, but did not obstruct May or incite other students to do so. The committee decided to require those students to withdraw until June 30, 1970.

Five students with no disciplinary records were merely present at the demonstration. These students have been warned that disciplinary action against them for any future misconduct will be "all the more grave" because of their actions on November 19.

The committee did not indicate the University affiliation of the students it disciplined. Fifteen of those charged by Dean May are students in Harvard College, six are Radcliffe students, and four are GSAS.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.