Protesters face written sanctions

Students arrested at last year’s protest received a notice last week telling them to write an essay or face sanctions and a disciplinary hearing.Thirty-three UVM students were arrested for unlawful trespassing of the Waterman Building at a peaceful protest against staff cuts and tuition hikes on April 22, while nearly 300 people protested outside.Originally facing a maximum sentence of 60 days in prison from their charges, the protestors are being offered the alternative sanction from the UVM Center of Ethics and Standards instead of a formal hearing date.The sanction is a way to “bring closure to the matter,” Troy Headrick, assistant director of the UVM Center for Student Ethics & Standards, said. Headrick administers the student sanctions.Due on Oct. 30, the sanctions are expected to be 1,000 words and only take 30 minutes to complete, Headrick said. Failure to complete the sanction results in a $100 non-compliance fee from the University and a formal hearing date, he said. The sanction allows students to accept responsibility, Headrick said, by answering four questions regarding their values and the risks of their actions. This is intended to make students question what they are willing to risk in the future, he said, and make students “deliberate” in their actions. Headrick said that the sanctions already submitted were sincere and some of the best sanctions he’s seen in a long time.According to UVM professor Nancy Welch, the United Academics’ delegates assembly voted unanimously Friday to recommend that UA call on the Center for the Student Ethics to rescind this notice and drop all charges. “I and many other faculty find it completely bewildering that, more than five months after the brief sit-in and three months after the students have completed the community service required by the court, the University administration would start harassing these students all over again,” Welch said.According to Headrick, the UVM Center of Ethics & Standards interprets policy. There was no new implementation of policy to deal with this incident, he said.