Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Feb. 7, 1997

Senate discusses sanctions

by Linda Charles
Some senators at the Feb. 4 Faculty Senate meeting called for President Martin Jischke to speak out against recent sanctions given to members of the September 29th Movement, but Provost John Kozak said that is inappropriate.

Sanctions against members of the September 29th Movement who held an unauthorized rally Nov. 5 in Beardshear Hall have included disciplinary reprimands and conduct probations. While the reprimands carry no punishment other than appearing on students' records, conduct probations prevent students from serving on university committees or holding offices in registered student organizations.

Debra Marquart, assistant professor of English, told the senate that a petition protesting the sanctions had about 200 signatures. She asked senators to take copies of the petition, written by her and three other faculty members, back to their departments.

Marquart said that while the students involved in the unauthorized rally expected some punishment, the sanctions being meted out by Judicial Affairs are too harsh.

The students "asked for punishment, but ask that the punishment fit the crime," she said.

She also said the issue involves more than student sanctions -- it centers on whether there is free speech at the university.

Steve Pett, associate professor of English, said the students had been led to believe that punishment for attending the rally would be minimal.

Kozak pointed out there is an appeal process for students who disagree with their sanctions. Students may appeal to the vice president for student affairs. If they are not satisfied, they can appeal to the university president.

Some senators asked why Jischke didn't speak out against the sanctions. Kozak said when there is a process to deal with something, whether it be an unauthorized rally or sexual harassment, any statement by Jischke could influence that process.

Senator Joanna Courteau, professor of foreign languages, asked why Jischke didn't step in at the beginning, when the permit to hold the rally in Beardshear was denied.

Kozak said the matter of the permit had been discussed at the President's Council and it was decided that there were other, more appropriate places for the rally. Areas where students can meet are laid out in university documentation, he said.

The decision to deny the permit was based, in part, on the fact that traditionally, Beardshear has not been a site for demonstrations and allowing the permit would set a precedent for future demonstrations, Kozak said.

Steve Pett said one untenured faculty member who signed the petition protesting the sanctions was scared of reprisals and wanted the signature removed. A few others also said faculty were afraid to speak out.

"Let me say unequivocally, that I have never, in any conversation with Martin Jischke, been in a situation where there was the least suggestion that a faculty member's view on anything would influence the promotion and tenure decision," Kozak said.

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