A note from the Editor

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Only four weeks into the semester, the college’s codes of conduct have already been broken. A dozen cars were recently vandalized in the Senators parking lot.

Those responsible have come forward, yet according to Dean of Students David Bergh, federal regulations prohibit divulging their names, and at this point we do not even know what disciplinary actions will be taken in response.

The acts of vandalism perpetrated in the Senator’s parking lot will be a part of the vandals’ academic record, as Dean of Students Dave Bergh has pointed out in the article written by Ian Major on page 2; unfortunately that apparently means that the information is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

It is laudable that those responsible turned themselves in, but it is unfortunate that they can hide behind the cloak of anonymity this federal law provides – certainly unfortunate for the victims and for the community of which they are a part.

Does it not say at the very top of the Student Handbook, “As a community centered on the growth and learning of its members, Johnson State College commits to … a disciplined community where individuals accept their obligations to the community”?

And wouldn’t that obligation entail apologizing to the community and to everyone whose property was damaged, not just to public safety officials?

Section III of the student handbook under prohibited conduct states, “Any of the following types of misconduct, whether occurring on or off campus, may result in dismissal or in a lesser sanction deemed appropriate by the College. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by the code of conduct or college policies may be considered as serious as an actual violation.”

Line K. under this heading refers to intentionally or recklessly destroying, damaging or defacing the property of others.
A student charged with a violation of the code of conduct such as this may receive an administrative hearing with a designee of the dean of students, who will determine if and what sanctions are appropriate.

So, what disciplinary actions, if any, are being taken against these five students?

We have no idea.

It is reasonable to expect the administration to be forthcoming regarding those actions even if federal law prohibits the college’s identification of those responsible for the damage in that parking lot.

­­Secrecy rarely serves a community well, and in this case, at the least, we are due the maximum transparency allowed by law.
It seems at the moment the vandals’ federally mandated rights to anonymity trump this community’s need to know.
And that’s too bad.

-Kayla Friedrich, Editor-in-Chief

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