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Crimson Executives Censure President

By Rajath Shourie

After a summer of intense debate, The Crimson's executive board voted Sunday to censure Crimson President Ira E. Stoll '94 for "his words and actions" on the morning of Commencement this past June.

The nearly unanimous vote was the board's response to events which rocked The Crimson on June 10, 1993. That morning, Stoll was involved in a fracas with several first-year female editors. During the scuffle, Stoll enraged other editors by using obscenities which he and other members of the staff have since called hurtful and degrading to women.

"I realize that I made a very bad mistake," Stoll said. "I am very sorry for what I did, and have apologized—repeatedly and publicly. There is no excuse for it."

The executive board's vote of censure was passed with a statement which reads, "Stoll's words were reprehensible and inconsistent with this institution's standards and principles; his actions were inappropriate and unacceptable."

The statement goes on to say that the board has adopted a version of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidelines on sexual harassment, and is formulating official policies to deal with future complaints of this nature.

But one news executive, Associate Managing Editor D. Richard de Silva '94, saying that the apology and the executive board's vote were not sufficient action, has announced to the news board his intentions to soon resign.

De Silva had written in an open letter to The Crimson's staff the afternoon of the original incident that he would relinquish his position if Stoll were to continue as president.

"As much as I love The Crimson, I could not be on the same executive board as Stoll after he attacked those reporters," de Silva said yesterday. "He's compromised our ideals as an institution, and our credibility as a news organization."

Since the incident, a petition expressing a lack of confidence in Stoll has been signed bymore than a dozen editors, including senior news and business executives. But Stoll has said on more than one occasion that he has no plans to resign.

In the early hours of June 10, several Crimson editors, mostly first-year women, took the president's antique chair, engraved with the names of past Crimson presidents, from the second floor of the building to the first-floor women's bathroom. Some editors were bruised in a tug-of-war that ensued between Stoll and the first-years over the chair as the theft, begun a sa prank, turned serious.

Editors say Stoll was eventually pulled away from the chair, and soon afterward used the words "fucking cunts." Stoll said part of the provocation was a demand that he remove his shirt in exchange for the chair.

Editorial Chair Joanna M. Weiss '94, who as the Crimson's clerk chaired Sunday's executive board meeting, said that while she feels Stoll displayed "extremely poor judgment at that time," he is not inherently sexist.

"I've worked with Ira very closely in the past three years—on special projects, on the summer Crimson—and have never found him to be sexist," she said.

But some other editors believe that Stoll is, if not sexist, at least insensitive--and have called his apologies insincere.

"I feel that he thinks it was wrong, but it's because he recognizes the fact that everyone else thinks it's wrong," said Tara H. Arden-Smith '96, a Crimson editor. "I don't think he understands even now the magnitude and the lasting repercussion of what happened."

Weiss says that perception exists because Stoll has had trouble articulating his views and ideas.

"It took him some time to understand the gravity of his actions," she said. "I felt that once he did, however, his apologies have been sincere—even though they haven't come across that way to everyone."

Other editors say they are glad the board responded to the incidents of June 10, and hope The Crimson will find a way to put the past three months behind it--an attempt which Managing Editor Gady A. Epstein '94 said will take a "collective effort."

"I hope that the community and people within The Crimson will be able to look forward with an aim to ensuring that The Crimson be a comfortable place for women, and that incidents like this never happen again," Epstein said yesterday.

And editor Joe Mathews '95 said, "We [at The Crimson] cover, and in some cases attempt to expose, behavior just like this. It is important for us to deal openly and strongly with incidents like this, if we are to not be guilty of hypocrisy."

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Gender and Sexuality