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Students Meet With Ad Board

CLUH Members Discuss Role of Appeal Process

By Seamus C. Gallagher

In the first of a series of planned meetings, two members of the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard (CLUH) had breakfast with an Administrative Board sub-commitee yesterday morning to discuss the practices of the disciplinary board.

The 90-minute breakfast meeting at the Faculty Club was intended mainly to "air gripes," not to reach solutions, said James F. Ryan '91, director of CLUH. The student group is currently conducting an informal investigation of the Ad Board.

"Mostly we gave our opinions and they gave theirs," said CLUH member Joshua E. Burstein '93. "And theirs were usually in some conflict with ours."

Members of the Ad Board could not be reached for comment last night.

The two students met with Dean of First Year Students Henry C. Moses, Assistant Dean of Harvard College John R. Marquand and others.

Ryan and Burstein said they focused on three areas during the talk--the lack of a process of appeal, the dual role of the senior tutor, and "the intimidation factor."

Currently students disciplined by the Ad Board can only appeal upon introduction of new evidence, and, even then, the appeal is heard by the same board which ruled against them in the first place.

"To say that that is an appeal is twisting the definition of the word," Ryan said. He said that unless appeals are heard by different administrative bodies, the human nature of board members might prejudice their decisions, and violate due process.

According to Ryan and Burstein, administrators told them that the rehearing of cases amounts to a "defacto appeal," despite the lack of a real "appeals process."

"They were kind of hesitant to have a new body above them that the student can appeal to," said Burstein.

The students also expressed concern over the dual role of the Senior Tutor, who acts both as the student's advocate and a voting member of the Ad Board.

If a student does not get along with the senior tutor, the CLUH members said, there is nothing that the student can do to have someone else counsel them.

Ryan said he suggested that the board allow students to chose any member of the University to represent them.

Administrators said they prefer Senior Tutors as advocates because of their familiarity with the system and their working relationships with board members, Ryan said. The administration also claimed that senior tutors fight for the students "in every case."

CLUH members also charged that the Ad Board process intimidates students. Students depend on Senior Tutors to write recommendations for fellowships, scholarships, and graduate school. If a student is dissatisfied with the tutor's handling of a case, he or she may be unwilling to protest, for fear of upsetting the tutor.

According to Burstein, administrators could emphathize with students on this position. "They understood where we were coming from, they seemed almost in a struggle" to find a way to avoid this type of situation, he said.

Ryan said he had mixed views on the meeting. "I was hopeful in that they appeared genuinely interested in what we had to say. I was also... discouraged that they seemed to have this ideal view of how well the Ad Board functions that they didn't see any changes necessary," he said.

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