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The delay in decision by the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (CRR) in the Blustein-Garfinkel case is only the last outrage in an episode that has been marked by injustice.
Held in the guarded Holyoke tower, last Friday's CRR hearing for Bonnie Blustein '72 and Alan J. Garfinkel, a fourth-year graduate student, began inauspiciously. While plaintiff Richard J. Herrnstein's witnesses sat in the comfortable waiting room outside the tenth-floor hearing, the defense witnesses stood for hours beside the ground-floor elevators.
Aside from such provocative discourtesy, the ten-hour hearing demonstrated the CRR's basic inability to deal with the issues. Guided by a Resolution that forbids "intense personal harassment," the Committee has virtually no guidelines in determining what is an offense. The historical widening of punishable offenses falling under the jurisdiction of a Faculty disciplinary committee-from occupying buildings to setting up obstructive picket lines to following a professor to ask questions--proves the danger of vague categories of offenses.
Just as the CRR has no adequate guidelines on the nature of "intense personal harassment," it cannot properly define what is a violation of "academic freedom" or "freedom of movement." The testimony at Friday's hearing was so vague and contradictory that nothing but Blustein's and Garfinkel's participation in the group of people that followed Herrnstein was established. Neither Blustein nor Garfinkel denied participating.
Clearly Blustein and Garfinkel were members of the group, and just as clearly they were singled out by Herrnstein because of their records of radical activity. (Blustein is a member of SDS and the Progressive Labor Party, and Garfinkel is a member of the University Action Group.) Now they have been subjected to ten hours of CRR scrutiny. They must wait still longer until they hear a verdict.
The CRR has already discredited itself among students: it has operated for a year now without any student representatives, simply because no House has been willing to send one. When will the Faculty realize that a student disciplinary body must have a legitimate base of authority? Until such a body is established, members of the University community concerned with justice must protest the legalistic inequities perpetuated by the CRR.
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