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Administrative Board Requires Four to Withdraw

Thayer Fire, Computer Crashing Cited

By Molly Hennessy-fiske

Four first-year students were brought before the Administrative Board Wednesday and required to withdraw temporarily from the College because of their involvement in a Feb. 7 fire in Thayer Hall and in damage inflicted on a student's computer the day after.

Nathan A. Quiroz '00 and three other men were brought before the College's disciplinary body after Benjamin I. Krefetz '00, whose computer had been damaged, complained to College officials.

The men were guests of Krefetz's roommate, Ari L. Welkom '00, who was placed on probation on Wednesday.

The students this week confirmed they had been required to withdraw, but refused to comment on the nature of the board's proceedings.

University officials declined to comment on any aspect of the case.

On the evening on Feb. 8, Krefetz said, he spoke with Welkom and several of Welkom's friends, including two of the men who were subsequently asked to withdraw. They told Krefetz they had been to a final club party and Krefetz said he believed them to be "under the influence."

Krefetz said he left his Matthews Hall room around 2 a.m. When he returned, he found that Windows 95 files on this computer had been given "obscene names" and that one of his textbooks had been vandalized.

The writing in the book matched the handwriting of a football recruit who was among Welkom's group and who had left notes on other students' doors in Matthews, Krefetz said.

"At this point, no one is sure exactly what they did, except that they damaged files which the video drivers rely on," Krefetz added.

"It was football recruit weekend," he said. "All of the high school kids were up visiting."

Welkom and two of the four men required to leave are on Harvard's football team.

The day before, Feb. 7, Thayer had been evacuated at 11 p.m. after a resident, Jason R. Stevenson '00, pulled a fire alarm.

According to Sgt. James McCarthy of the Harvard Police Department, the fire was caused by the smoldering ashes of plastic objects in a paper bag in room 302.

Quiroz lives in room 302.

McCarthy added that "a bag doesn't spontaneously combust" and that the students involved in the incident "did something really dangerous."

Robert J. Kotowski, deputy chief of the Cambridge Fire Department, attributed the blaze to "careless disposal of smoking materials and rubbish."

Several Thayer students said they smelled marijuana on the night of the evacuation.

"It was obvious that they were smoking pot up there," a second-floor resident said the night of the incident. "The smell was really heavy on the second floor. Usually, we could only smell it when we went through the third floor."

"I was standing with several friends in the hall that day commenting on how strongly it smelled of pot," said a male first-year yesterday, who asked not to be named. "It was very noticeable."

Three other students said they remarked that day on a strong odor of marijuana in the third-floor hall-way.

The students required to withdraw refused to comment on the cause of their departure.

Administrators declined to comment on any aspect of the case.

"We cannot comment on Administrative Board cases, not even to correct misinformation," Assistant Dean of Freshmen Lorraine Sterritt said yesterday.

Quiroz said the experience has led him to question Harvard's system of disciplinary action, though he declined to comment on the nature of the Board proceedings against him.

"Everyone who knows what's going on is on the administration," Quiroz said, saying there is no external source of counsel to whom students facing the board can turn.

Quiroz said that because students do not have private counsel at Administrative Board proceedings, they are forced to rely solely on the administration's interpretations of College rules.

"I would like to establish a confidential support group to give individuals a low-down on the Ad Board," said Quiroz. "While the [assistant] dean pleads your case, she's not your confidant."

Sterritt is the assistant dean of first-years overseeing Thayer. In that capacity, she would have been assigned to present the case to the Administrative Board.

One Thayer resident, Benjamin J. Allen '00, described the Administrative Board proceedings as secretive and technical.

"I think there's not enough information out there for students to approach the Ad Board knowing what they're getting into," Allen said. "The board is shrouded in such a cloud of mistery on this campus that I think a lot of students would benefit from knowing more about Board procedure--as would the Board itself."

Allen also criticized the disciplinary action taken against the first-years.

"People are upset because these guys were very well-liked and we're sad to see them go," Allen said. "There's a definite mood that this penalty was ridiculously severe."

Another Thayer resident, Diana M. Kim '00, said the whole episode has disrupted dorm life.

"It's a lot harsher than what a lot of people expected," Kim said.

"This whole dorm has turned inside out. There's so much tension: a lot of tears will be shed this week," she said

"It was obvious that they were smoking pot up there," a second-floor resident said the night of the incident. "The smell was really heavy on the second floor. Usually, we could only smell it when we went through the third floor."

"I was standing with several friends in the hall that day commenting on how strongly it smelled of pot," said a male first-year yesterday, who asked not to be named. "It was very noticeable."

Three other students said they remarked that day on a strong odor of marijuana in the third-floor hall-way.

The students required to withdraw refused to comment on the cause of their departure.

Administrators declined to comment on any aspect of the case.

"We cannot comment on Administrative Board cases, not even to correct misinformation," Assistant Dean of Freshmen Lorraine Sterritt said yesterday.

Quiroz said the experience has led him to question Harvard's system of disciplinary action, though he declined to comment on the nature of the Board proceedings against him.

"Everyone who knows what's going on is on the administration," Quiroz said, saying there is no external source of counsel to whom students facing the board can turn.

Quiroz said that because students do not have private counsel at Administrative Board proceedings, they are forced to rely solely on the administration's interpretations of College rules.

"I would like to establish a confidential support group to give individuals a low-down on the Ad Board," said Quiroz. "While the [assistant] dean pleads your case, she's not your confidant."

Sterritt is the assistant dean of first-years overseeing Thayer. In that capacity, she would have been assigned to present the case to the Administrative Board.

One Thayer resident, Benjamin J. Allen '00, described the Administrative Board proceedings as secretive and technical.

"I think there's not enough information out there for students to approach the Ad Board knowing what they're getting into," Allen said. "The board is shrouded in such a cloud of mistery on this campus that I think a lot of students would benefit from knowing more about Board procedure--as would the Board itself."

Allen also criticized the disciplinary action taken against the first-years.

"People are upset because these guys were very well-liked and we're sad to see them go," Allen said. "There's a definite mood that this penalty was ridiculously severe."

Another Thayer resident, Diana M. Kim '00, said the whole episode has disrupted dorm life.

"It's a lot harsher than what a lot of people expected," Kim said.

"This whole dorm has turned inside out. There's so much tension: a lot of tears will be shed this week," she said

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