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Six Forced to Leave MacGregor

By Brian Rosenberg
Editor in Chief

Six residents of F Entry in MacGregor House will be forced to move out before finals begin to prevent the recurrence of a variety of "inappropriate behaviors" that began in the spring, Dean for Residence and Campus Activities James R. Tewhey announced last week.

The six students -- Kip A. Bishofberger '95, Christopher B. Council '94, John K. Dorton Santiago '94, Jose E. Ledesma '94, Douglas M. MacBride '94, and Avik S. Roy '93 -- currently live in the F41 suite of the entry.

Those students claim not to have been involved with the incidents in question, which Tewhey described as including harassment, intimidation, harassing phone calls, and throwing eggs and water balloons.

Council, who is serving as an informal representative for the six, responded to Tewhey's claims by saying, "Nobody I've talked to knows anything" about harassing phone calls. "I believe [eggs] were thrown during one incident, but not by anyone in F41."

Neither Tewhey nor Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith would comment on many aspects of the situation, including the identities of the students involved. Tewhey cited a "long-standing policy in this office not to discuss decisions regarding individual students." However, the students identified themselves in order to present their account of the situation.

Though he would not disclose the timing or nature of specific incidents, Tewhey did say that the events which led to his decision to move the students took place between the end of last semester and early November.

Tewhey said students and staff from MacGregor came to him on two separate occasions during that time with complaints that mentioned specific individuals and asked him to handle the problem.

Council said he first became aware of the situation on Nov. 4, when he, MacBride, and Shawn M. Helm '93 received a message from Tewhey asking that they make appointments with him.

At his meeting, Council said Tewhey told him some people would have to leave MacGregor, and that he was one of them. Helm described his conversation with Tewhey in similar terms, but MacBride said he discussed other issues with Tewhey at his meeting, and that he received a letter on Nov. 13 about his moving from MacGregor.

Helm said that after his meeting, he convinced a few residents of D Entry, where some of the water balloons and other actions were directed, that he was not involved in the incidents. As a result, they met with Tewhey and vouched for his innocence, assuring that he would not be forced to leave.

Council said he learned on Nov. 17 that Tewhey intended to force all six upperclassmen in F41 to move out. "I'm not sure what happened [to cause the new decision], but Tewhey met with Smith on Monday [Nov. 16], and on Tuesday all six of us were being kicked out," Council explained.

Neither Tewhey nor Smith would comment on the basis for decisions regarding specific students.

Council said he will be transferred to Senior House, Bishofberger to East Campus, Santiago, Ledesma and Roy to Ashdown House, and MacBride to New House. Tewhey and Smith refused to comment on this issue.

Students criticize actions

Many people close to the situation expressed concern that students who were not involved in the incidents are being punished for them. "I don't like to see people get hurt, particularly innocent people," said Robert H. Kassel G, the F Entry tutor.

"I think there are probably better ways of resolving this situation," said Kassel. "I think it could have been handled a lot better than it was."

"This situation has been kind of disturbing my whole term," said MacBride. "Their holding [the move] over my head has really disturbed my studies."

"It does concern me that innocent people may be moved," Smith said. "This solution is not the ideal course -- it would have been nicer not to have to deal with it -- but it's the best we could do."

Council claimed that Tewhey explicitly said during their meeting that he was willing to move innocent people to end the troublesome actions.

Tewhey insisted that he has "consistently offered options which would assure that no one who is innocent would be moved, and I have encouraged people to develop solutions with that same effect, but no one has come forward to do either."

Council and Kassel both said the only option Tewhey offered was for someone to name the guilty parties. "It's hard to name people when you don't know their names," Council said.

"I think Tewhey thinks it's easier to find out who's guilty than it really is," Kassel said.

Residents look at other options

Council said that at a separate meeting, Smith offered an additional option: "If we could come up with some sort of resolution that is accepted by the MacGregor community as a whole, an assurance that these incidents would not happen again, that might be considered a solution."

Council said the entry drafted a "peace treaty" in response to this option. This document essentially stated that the objectionable incidents would not recur, and Council said it was signed by all but four of more than 20 upperclassmen in the entry. Support from upperclassmen was specifically solicited, since they were the ones involved in the incidents, Council said.

The treaty was rejected as insufficient, however. "I don't think it's an option anymore to say, `Forgive me, I won't do it again,' " said Tewhey. "That may be reasonable twice or even three times, but after a while, it begins to ring a little hollow."

Tewhey said he thought he had been too lenient with the entry in the past. "I think I should have reached that point last year. . . . I don't think I've acted responsibly to the people bearing the brunt of these actions."

Tewhey also emphasized that his decision to move the students "is an attempt to solve a problem -- not a disciplinary action. No one is getting letters of probation. . . there will be no notation in anyone's file."

Smith agreed, saying "This is a housing issue, an attempt to rectify the situation in MacGregor."

"It would be regrettable if it came down to kicking out six random people," Roy said.