PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Brown University Council of Student Affairs (UCSA) last month suspended for the rest of the academic year three students charged with spray painting anti-rape graffiti on university property. However, the board voted to allow the students to remain at Brown, but left permanent record of the disciplinary action on their transcripts, according to UCSA chairman and music professor William Ermey.
Council members waived forcing the students to leave because they "feel that the full force of suspension is not warranted" in this case, the disciplinary board's letter to the women stated.
The three female students were caught by Brown Police and security guards October 26, after spray painting "1/3 Women are Raped. Fight Back" on the steps of the Rockefeller Library.
Police have reported 38 such slogans painted on buildings, sidewalks and stairs around campus, but the three have claimed responsibility only for the graffiti at the library.
Wendy Becker '83, Susan Mills '84 and a graduate student, whose name has not been released, will have to do 30 hours of work for the university and pay the full cost for cleaning all the graffiti found on university property, the UCSA said.
"The council does not condone, even for the best of motives, such widespread defacement of property" the letter to the women stated." Now that you have achieved the attention you wished, we hope you will turn to less dramatic, but in the long run more essential efforts."
The disciplinary board, which includes students, faculty, and administrators, made its decision at a more than two-hour meeting, following a lengthy public hearing the night before that attracted about 200 onlookers, mostly supporters of the women.
Becker and Mills are angry and upset about the decision, which Mills called "ridiculous."
"We weren't asking them to say graffiti is all right," Mills said, adding. "But we wanted them to recognize the value of our actions, and that there were mitigating circumstances."
Becker and Mills, with the aid of seven witnesses, presented at a hearing motives behind their actions: frustration with the "silencing" of rape and what they see as the university's inadequate means of dealing with sexual assault.
The women and many of their supporters were angered at the actions of the board at the hearing, the Brown Daily Herald reported. They said the UCSA chairman repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to silence defense witnesses, who spoke about rape and the way the university handles sexual assault, instead of speaking about the destruction of property, which is the charge against the students.