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University Disciplinary Council returns not guilty finding in Thayer St. case
In its formal notification to the community (text follows), the UDC said the hearing panel had met from 1 p.m. Monday (Oct. 30, 1995) until past midnight, reviewing 27 witness statements and reports from both the Providence Police and Brown Police and Security, and examining photographs and a diagram of the site. The panel heard testimony from six witnesses for the University's case and eight witnesses for the charged students.
The panel included three students, two deans, one faculty member and a faculty chair. The case had drawn considerable attention on campus and in student publications.
"A case involving allegations of misconduct by two athletes has recently raised a number of divisive issues and prompted concerns as to whether the University administration was moving too slowly in prosecuting the case or was offering special treatment for athletes," said Robin Rose, dean of student life, in a statement to the campus community (text follows). "Such concerns and assumptions are unfounded and have no basis in fact. ... I want to express the concern and outrage of the community that such a heinous incident could have occurred, regardless of the fact that it took place off campus. It is indisputable that a violent altercation occurred and that people were injured. I am frustrated and disappointed that circumstances such as these, involving excessive alcohol consumption and spontaneous violence, preclude the definitive identification of the responsible parties."
Offense II: Behavior which:
a. Causes or can be reasonably be expected to cause physical harm to person;
b. or shows flagrant disrespect for the well-being of others;
c. or is unreasonably disruptive of the University community and its neighborhoods . . .
Offense V. Drugs and/or Alcohol: c. Drug and/or alcohol related behavior.
It was alleged that late in the evening of September 23, 1995 the two students assaulted other Brown University students in an off campus location.
Review by the Dean of Student Life: Not Applicable.
Appeal and Review (Appeal Not Applicable):
The charged student has the right to appeal the decision of the Council and the Dean of the College to the Provost of the University. Appeals will normally be considered only when new evidence which was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing becomes available or when an allegation of substantial procedural error on the part of the University or the Council is made.
Notwithstanding the right to appeal, the President has the power to review, at his own initiative, the decision of the UDC and the Dean of the College. The Provost and President have the authority to affirm, reverse, or modify the decision and/or the penalty imposed. The Provost may also remand the matter to the UDC or the Dean of the College for further consideration.
In all cases, decisions resulting from an appeal or a Presidential review will be posted in this forum in a timely fashion.
The University has a well-defined process for the adjudication of student disciplinary matters, which is triggered when a student files a police report or a complaint with our office. The Case Administrator, Student Life Officer, and Brown Police and Security have responsibility for the investigation of all such complaints.
This case, which was surrounded by publicity and strident opinion, was a classic barroom brawl - involving violent, confused and explosive behavior. Students on both sides found it difficult to testify definitively about the events of that evening. The UDC panel, which included students, faculty and deans, carefully reviewed the available evidence and sought to return a finding based on the facts as it had them.
In most disciplinary cases, it takes approximately three weeks to conduct an investigation, obtain witness statements, and provide parties with an appropriate amount of time to prepare their cases. Due to the complexity of this case and the fact that there were multiple complainants and charged students, this process took 33 days.
What delays there were in the investigation of the case were occasioned by circumstances beyond the University's control. Both Providence and Brown Police needed to complete certain aspects of their investigations before the Office of Student Life could obtain the information it needed. The factors that complicated the scheduling of the hearing were the availability of witness statements and advisors for the charged students. At no time did the University take any action to delay the hearing, nor was there any attempt on the part of the Department of Athletics to influence the process.
My hope is that issues raised in this case will continue to generate discussion and reflection. I have serious concerns about the abusive consumption of alcohol, about the willingness of the community to give our disciplinary process a fair chance to run its course, and about the tendency to jump to conclusions based on stereotypes.
I want to express the concern and outrage of the community that such a heinous
incident could have occurred, regardless of the fact that it took place off
campus. It is indisputable that a violent altercation occurred and that people
were injured. I am frustrated and disappointed that circumstances such as
these, involving excessive alcohol consumption and spontaneous violence,
preclude the definitive identification of the responsible parties. There were
no winners here.