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October 24, 2002 Decisions rendered in seven student hearings




by Barbara Black

As of publication time, decisions had been issued by the hearing panels for seven of the 10 students charged under the university’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities regarding the disturbance on Sept. 9 and its aftermath.

Although the hearings and names of those charged are confidential, some students charged under the Code have talked openly about their cases. It was reported in The Gazette on Feb. 8 that Samer Elatrash had been suspended for three years. He was found guilty of all five charges against him, including creating a hostile environment and harassment. He said he would appeal the ruling on the grounds of procedural bias.

Of the seven decisions rendered, charges were upheld against four people, ranging from 50 hours of community service to Elatrash’s sentence.

The students concerned have 15 working days to appeal to a different panel of students taken from the hearing pool. The only grounds for appeal are serious, prejudicial procedural defects or new evidence.

At a meeting of the university’s board of governors yesterday, Rector Frederick Lowy indicated that while two student panelists have reportedly claimed that in one case they were coerced by university representatives to render harsh sanctions, he had been assured that there was no validity to this allegation, and the process of the hearings was fair and thorough.

The charges stemmed from a protest against a scheduled speech by ex-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sept. 9 and its aftermath. When violence broke out in the Hall Building, the speech was cancelled.

Charges have also been laid against some students by the police, and those cases are still before the courts.