Council Reviews Disciplinary Policies

After two highly publicized undergraduate dismissals by the full Faculty in the last two months, the Faculty in the last two months, the Faculty Council yesterday heard a review of disciplinary policy, specifically relating to cases involving criminal action.

"We are trying to make certain that the Administrative Board can continue to work effectively on behalf of students and on behalf of the Faculty," said Secretary of the Faculty John B. Fox Jr. '59.

The report as presented by members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative Board Procedures Relating to Serious Criminal Wrongdoing and by University attorney Robert W. Iuliano '83. The committee was created this year during the debate surrounding the dismissal of D. Drew Douglas, Class of 2000.

The committee is composed of Peter T. Ellison, professor of anthropology; Louise M. Richardson, associate professor of government; and Yu-Chi Ho, McKay professor of engineering.

The Faculty Council also examined the number and circumstances of dismissals in the College since 1936, figures it had requested in recent months.


The council learned that 23 students have been dismissed in that time. Of that number, five were readmitted after dismissal for their actions in the protests of 1969. Four others have been readmitted over that period. Once a student has been dismissed, a vote of the full Faculty is required for readmission.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, the Faculty Council voted to seek full Faculty approval on legislation to create a compendium to the student handbook. The new section would explicitly outline the ways in which Harvard students can be forced to take a leave of absence.

These ways range from serious and untreated medical illness to alleged criminal behavior to failure to submit proof of immunization.

In a letter sent to the Faculty including the newly consolidated document, Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 emphasized that, unlike a requirement to withdraw, a forced leave of absence is not meant as a punishment.

"It is a bit analogous to the 'administrative leave' on which, for example, police officer or government official might be placed when the person needs to be removed from a position of authority pending disposition of a serious complaint," Lewis wrote.

In such cases, individuals would already have been given the option of leaving the College voluntarily and refused.

"Involuntary leave would almost always be a device of last resort, to be used only after other ways of trying to resolve the problem had failed," Lewis wrote.

Lewis said last night that most of the rulesare designed to allow for quick action inemergency situations.

"The common thread is that there is a need forvery rapid action for the safety or welfare of thestudent or of the community, and the student isuncooperative," he wrote in an e-mail message lastnight.

For instance, the rule could be invoked in thecase of a student who has been arrested for aviolent crime, but wants to continue at Harvardwhile out of jail on bail.

"The Ad Board would want to delay formaldisciplinary action until the resolution of thecriminal charge, but we also don't think thestudent belongs in a small double with anotherstudent!" Lewis wrote.

According to Lewis' letter to the Faculty, someof the provisions are rarely invoked.

For instance, he noted that the "MedicalCircumstances" proviso has never been used, butsaid its leverage is useful in encouragingstudents with serious mental illnesses to pursueappropriate action.

The legislation should come before the fullFaculty in May

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