Swastika culprit punished

by Martha Schick / Beacon Staff • December 4, 2014

Nearly a month after a swastika was scrawled on the Little Building’s sixth floor bulletin board, President M. Lee Pelton announced in an email that the student responsible has been identified and disciplined.

There were additional swastikas drawn on the eighth floor and on every laundry room door jamb in the building, but Pelton, in his email on Nov. 24, said those incidents are still being investigated.

While David Haden, associate dean and director of housing and residence life, declined to comment on the specifics of the case due to student confidentiality concerns, he said the student went through the conduct process, which involves a hearing that looks at evidence in the case to determine whether the student is “responsible” or “not responsible.” He said a case like this would not be treated as a typical incident of vandalism.

“While all acts of graffiti are considered to be serious violations of the Student Code of Conduct, vandalism that is based in hate and bigotry is especially troubling,” Haden wrote in an email to the Beacon. “As such, it is considered to be a more serious violation than other acts of vandalism.”

An open letter from three top administrators emailed to the Emerson community on Nov. 13 threatened expulsion.

“The individual(s) responsible for this behavior is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal from Emerson College,” read the email.

Dean of Students Ronald Ludman also declined to comment on details of the case, but said the vandalism was inconsistent with Emerson values.

“I believe the vast majority of our community know we are much better than such ugly behavior,” Ludman wrote in an email to the Beacon. “It was through the assistance of our community members that the College was able to bring this incident to a close.”