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University Weekend rioters disciplined
September 21, 1998
Chancellor Mark A. Emmert announced Wednesday that in response to the events of University Weekend last April, 81 students have been disciplined by the University, while 101 individuals arrested by UConn and State Police are being prosecuted for criminal conduct in Superior Court in Rockville.
University sanctions include two expulsions, six suspensions and 12 removals from University residence halls.
"The troubling behavior that we saw during University Weekend, while it involved only a relatively small number of students and a number of others, is unacceptable," said Emmert.
Emmert said he is grateful to the state prosecutor's office and the court system for their prompt and appropriate response in punishing criminal conduct. "The University and the courts have sent a clear message:
behavior that threatens the safety of students, police officers, and others will not be tolerated either by the University or by the Connecticut court system."
As of September 15, six defendants in criminal proceedings had received criminal convictions that included jail sentences and probation; 13 people received criminal convictions that included suspended jail sentences and probation; 17 individuals were placed in programs for first-time offenders that could result in dismissal of the charges if the programs to which they were assigned are completed satisfactorily; and 44 individuals paid fines for non-criminal offenses. Seventeen cases are still pending.
"We prosecuted these cases just like any other criminal case that comes through our office. Some of these University Weekend-related cases were extremely serious and we treated them like we would treat any other serious criminal case," said Matthew Gedansky, assistant state's attorney for Superior Court in Rockville.
The most serious penalty available to the University is expulsion, which means that a student cannot ever return to the University and a permanent notation to that effect is added to his or her transcript. In addition, because the student has a disciplinary record, it is often extremely difficult for him or her to transfer to another college.
Students who are suspended from the University may lose credit for the academic work they have performed and must wait a period of time before they can return to school.
The suspension is marked on their transcript. Suspension results in serious academic and financial penalties.
Other penalties the University may assess against student offenders include prohibiting them from living in residence halls on campus, and putting them on probation, which may restrict their ability to participate in co-curricular activities and, if inappropriate behavior continues, may result in more severe penalties.
The timing of the cases heard on campus was coordinated with criminal proceedings so as to protect the integrity of the court cases and to permit inclusion of police information and testimony in both the criminal and disciplinary proceedings.
The University's disciplinary hearings began last May against students who exhibited disruptive and dangerous behavior during University Weekend. The cases of seniors were heard first and three were prevented from graduating because of their actions during University Weekend disturbances. The University's disciplinary hearings against students who were arrested have been conducted throughout the summer. The most recent hearings were concluded last week.
"We have worked hard to swiftly, fairly, and thoroughly, consider all of the University Weekend cases brought before us," said Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs. "We want to put this incident behind us and turn our attention to ensuring that we maintain a campus environment conducive to learning with clear expectations for civility, respect and responsible citizenship."
The University continues to study the future of University Weekend and campus life in general through the Chancellor's Special Task Force on Community and Civility named in July. The committee is expected to provide recommendations to the chancellor by the end of the semester.
Karen A. Grava