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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Sanctions eased for 12 in hazing aftermath

<ir="ltr">On July 26, Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston announced that 12 of the 13 students implicated in a hazing incident last spring were no longer suspended. The 13 students appealed their suspensions through the Judicial Hearing Board

(JHB), which operates independently of the Dean of Students Office.

In an all-campus email, Livingston stated that the JHB “found culpability but amended sanctions” in each of the 13 appeals. Livingston also said in the email that “One suspension was upheld but reduced in length,” and that  “the JHB determined that the students found responsible should be required to complete alcohol training, write a reflection essay, and perform community service.”

Suspended seniors were not allowed to walk at graduation or receive their diplomas. Livingston said in her July 26 email that “diplomas will be issued when their sanctions have been fully served.” Amy Sillanpa, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Community Standards, explained that “community standards violations go through our student conduct process,” and “any appeals of my decisions are heard by the Judicial Hearing Board.” Sillanpa added that, during the appeals process, “students can have two advisers present. This can be a parent, friend, attorney, faculty, staff member, etc. The advisers are present to support, but cannot speak on behalf of the student during the hearing.”

College officials, including Dean Livingston, directed all inquiries about the sanctioned students’ appeals process to Assistant Dean Sillanpa, who was also the Interim Title IX Coordinator last spring. Sillanpa stated that she was unable to comment on the disciplinary process, as only members of the JHB were the present during the hearings.

Members of the JHB declined to comment for this story. In addition, administrators declined to offer information on how, or whether, alcohol policies will change as a result of the hazing incident.

The hazing incident, which took place on April 28, was an initiation event for new members of DTX, the underground student group that plans several all-campus parties each year, including Party Week and Easter. Last spring’s initiation consisted of a night-long drinking scavenger hunt.
The Carletonian learned this information in an interview with a DTX initiate last spring.

According to the initiate, DTX had existed under the college’s radar for nearly 40 years, potentially dating back to the release of the movie Animal House, which popularized the fraternity Delta Tau Chi (ΔΤΧ).

Last spring, Associate Vice President for External Relations Joe Hargis confirmed to the Carletonian that the college did not know about DTX until it started investigating the events of April 28.

This week, the same DTX initiate shared his perspective on the appeals process in a follow-up interview with the Carletonian. He said that he was “surprised with how ill-equipped the administration was to handle this appropriately. The appeals process was kind of a mess. As a witness, I spent about 12 hours over the two days waiting in a classroom next to the hearings. During that time I believe that the accused were giving their testimonies.”

“I think the initial decision was a knee-jerk reaction. There was also a fair amount of misinformation by the administration that was spread with the first email. My opinion is that they have a really hard, and thankless, job, but there were a lot of missteps in the whole process,” the initiate added.

After the hazing incident, Patrick Gordon, Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Project Coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, said that “our alcohol prevention programming has not actually changed as a result of the incident.”

According to Gordon, the College will continue implementing the Drug and Alcohol Grant and feels “confident those strategies will have a positive impact on campus and succeed in prevention.”

When asked why previous alcohol-use education programming for new students was not included in this year’s New Student Week, Gordon said that “feedback and data from previous years has indicated a need and want to talk more about mental health and stress during New Student Week. It was decided to include this focus as a part of the new NSW ‘Carltalk: Flourishing,’ which replaced lasted year’s ‘Carltalk: What’s Your Best Available Choice ( BAC)?’ Alcohol discussion was still a part of the presentation.”

Dean Sillanpa emphasized that “the college has a no-tolerance approach to hazing due to the dangers and risks associated with it. We will continue to take it very seriously if students choose to break this policy and there will be consequences. It is very important to me that students are safe and do not put other students or themselves in dangerous situations.”

“DTX is defunct,” according to the initiate. However, “it’s pretty obvious that these punishments didn’t do much,” he said.

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