Sit-in students face ExComm hearing

The 15 students who staged a sit-in at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in February appeared before the Yale College Executive Committee on Wednesday afternoon, but were prohibited from disclosing details about their punishment and the committee’s proceedings.

The students — most of whom are affiliated with the Undergraduate Organizing Committee — were called before ExComm on charges of trespassing after they occupied the admissions office all day Feb. 24 in protest of the University’s financial aid policy. When called by the News last night, several of the students who appeared before ExComm said they were not allowed to reveal their punishment because of confidentiality rules.

“The confidentiality agreement prohibits anyone involved from discussing any of the proceedings or the outcome of the meeting,” said UOC member Phoebe Rounds ’07, one of the 15 students at the sit-in.

Although Yale Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith told the sit-in protesters that they could face disciplinary action, including expulsion, the comittee did not decide to expel the students, said several UOC members who were not involved in the sit-in.

After a 1996 Woodbridge Hall sit-in, 31 undergraduates from the Student Labor Action Coalition appeared before ExComm and received letters of reprimand on the charges of defiance of authority, trespassing and interference with University functions. Most students charged with trespassing in recent years also received reprimands.

UOC member Rebecca Livengood ’07, the Democratic nominee for Ward 1 alderman, said she did not know how severe the students’ punishments were.

“They certainly were not expelled, but I’m not sure what happened,” Livengood said.

Faculty members and administrators on ExComm refused to comment about the proceedings when contacted by the News last night. The 16-member ExComm, which is comprised of administrators, faculty members and undergraduates, will release its decision next fall in an annual report, but will only describe the cases and not name the individual students who appeared before the committee.

UOC member Josh Eidelson ’06, who was at the sit-in, said he wished ExComm’s proceedings were more transparent and the results could be publicly released.

“I think it’s unfortunate that Yale structures this process in a way that we’re unable to talk about what happened today,” Eidelson said. “No one is being protected by the requirement of silence.”

In addition to their ExComm punishments, the 15 students also received a $92 citation for trespassing, which they all paid on time and in full, Eidelson said.

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