Three Students Issued Censures

Tom Faure, Columbia Spectator (Columbia University, N.Y.), March 28, 2007

The University has censured at least three students for their disruption of an Oct. 4, 2006 protest by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, one of the implicated students confirmed Tuesday. The disclosure, which came one day after it was revealed that three students had received lesser disciplinary warnings, signifies the harshest known punishment for any of the protest participants to date.

Karina Garcia, CC ‘07 and chair of the Latino outreach group Lucha, said that she had received notice of a censure yesterday. She also confirmed that Martin Lopez, CC ‘09 and a member of Lucha, and Cosette Olivo, CC ’07, were punished with censure.

According to the Rules of University Conduct, censure is a step up in severity from a disciplinary warning. If a censured student is found in violation of the rules a second time, he or she is automatically suspended from the University for at least a semester or, if the violation is serious, is expelled.

Garcia said late last night that Columbia had “brought shame on itself” with the disciplinary action. “They bowed to right-wing pressure. It’s noteworthy that Columbia reserved the harshest punishment for Latinos-two Mexican-Americans and one Dominican,” she said.

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David Judd, CC ‘08 and president of the International Socialist Organization, said yesterday that Bollinger’s comment missed the mark in addressing complaints about the disciplinary process. Judd, who received a disciplinary warning on Monday, said that the rules were ambiguous and did not force the University to clarify the charges to students or reveal evidence in advance of the hearing.

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Garcia also denounced the decision against Lopez, saying that a review of the videotapes showed that he did not climb on stage during the event. “We don’t know what the difference is between Martin and the other students,” she said. “Is it because Martin has been outspoken? Is it because he’s active on campus? What is the message they [the administration] are sending us?”

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[Editor’s Note: The AR News entry for the original event can be read here, where there is also a link to a video of the disruption.]

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