Sanctioned Groups Still Optimistic
May 11, 2005 5:12 PM
A university committee held a hearing May 9 to review complaints filed against two SF State student organizations for allegedly violating school policy, but has not yet decided on a course of action.
The Student Organization Hearing Panel held the two-hour meeting to investigate charges filed against the groups Students Against War and the International Socialist Organization for their involvement in a March 9 protest against military recruiters at a science and engineering career fair.
Brett Smith, the panel's chairman, said a decision will be made within the next ten days on whether to sanction the groups. Sanctions range from a letter of warning to the revocation of the group’s recognition, which results in the expulsion of a student organization from the university.
Two students from these organizations attended the hearing. Students Against War member Billy Caudy and Mike Hoffman from the International Socialist Organization sat before the five-member committee.
“We weren’t aware (the hearing) was going to happen until this morning,” said Caudy. “This was very last-minute and we were the only people able to attend.”
Caudy said the lawyer representing the organizations sent a letter to the committee stating that the groups would not attend the May 9 hearing and requested a rescheduled meeting.
“It was disappointing that they didn’t respect our right to have a lawyer present and that they were aware that we wouldn’t be prepared,” said Caudy.
According to the Office of Student Leadership and Development’s policies and procedures guide, students may have representation at these hearings, but “attorneys will not be allowed as representatives in this process.”
Newly elected Associated Students Inc. President Chris Jackson and new Vice President of Internal Affairs Maire Fowler sit on the SOHP committee. Jackson and Fowler were unable to comment regarding the closed hearing.
However, Jackson said he is personally drafting a resolution in support of student activism on campus, which will be discussed and heard at the ASI board meeting on May 11.
“We support all non-violent, peaceful activism on campus,” Jackson said. “It’s part of our history, part of our legacy.”
University police assembled at all exits and stairwells of the Student Services building in anticipation of student reaction to the hearing, which was held on the fourth floor. A security gate was lowered on the first floor, blocking access to the One Stop area, and signs were posted instructing students to enter One Stop through the back door.
University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said the Department of Public Safety “was concerned that a large crowd was expected.”
"They wanted to be sure that emergency and evacuation routes were clear," said Griffin. “If a large crowd did show up, (the security gate blocking One Stop) was to ensure that business could continue uninterrupted.”
Jack Brewer, the director of the SF State Career Center, filed the complaint which ultimately led to the hearing. According to Brewer, a “vast majority of the employers left the (March 9) career fair nearly (two) hours early due to the noise and disruption.” Brewer also said the Career Center must now refund $6,000 in registration fees that were paid by various companies to attend the event.
Brewer testified before the committee during the first hour of the hearing. He was followed by university police officer Reggie Parson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Bowman and Dean of Science and Engineering Sheldon Axler.
“I would like there to be an educational outcome, where people learn from this,” Brewer said after the hearing. “Hopefully students will have a better idea of what they can and cannot do when voicing their opinions.”
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