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Paine Probations


IN THE WAKE of the mass probations handed out after last December's anti-ROTC sit-in, the College and the Faculty are finding themselves confronted by a tangle of administrative problems. The most serious concerns scholarships: when a scholarship recipient is placed on probation he can lose up to $500 in stipend from the University. The SFAC now has asked the Faculty to exempt from this rule 13 scholarship students involved in the Paine Hall sit-in.

The Faculty will probably be asked to make another exception to the rules: to allow a Paine Hall demonstrator to take his seat on the SFAC. As the term progresses, requests for further exceptions will almost inevitably be made, as students on probation for Paine Hall commit minor infractions of University regulations which theoretically allow their being required to withdraw.

We have, of course, gone through all this before. After the demonstration against the Dow Chemical Company in October, 1967, the Faculty intervened to protect scholarship recipients and seated a demonstrator who had been elected to the SFAC. It is likely that the Faculty will make the same decisions again.

But that such decisions should have to be made at all underscores the irrationality of the Administration's disciplinary approach to political demonstrations. Sitting in against Dow or ROTC has far different import than cheating on exams or stealing from the Coop. It is not helpful or even possible to treat political demonstrators in the same way as cheaters or shoplifters. Dean Peterson argued at last Tuesday's Faculty meeting that to exempt the Paine Hall demonstrators from scholarship reduction would create an unfair distinction between political and non-political probations.

But even leaving aside the question of whether any punishment should be designed to fall hardest on the neediest students, it seems clear enough that there are real distinctions to be made between such utterly different types of action as cheating and sitting-in. The Faculty has felt it necessary to consider so many "special" problems in the aftermath of the Dow and Paine Hall punishments simply because these punishments are inappropriate responses to the political activities they seek to deter.

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