Restorative Justice for the Wesleyan Five
This petition had 376 supporters
We the undersigned publish this petition to retain five students as part of the Wesleyan community.
Rama Al Nakib, Eric Lonergan, Abhimanyu Janamanchi, Andrew Olson, Zachary Kramer
We reject the cruel and unusual steps taken to evict them without due process into a cold February winter. We are alarmed at their arrests, and do not welcome the Drug War’s abduction of our classmates. We do not feel safe while witnessing off-campus intimidation tactics by Public Safety, apparently to enforce their expulsion before trial. Most of all, we are perturbed that the University has chosen to do nothing to prevent another tragedy from occurring, or even to admit that there is a drug problem on campus at all. Punitive proceedings can never substitute for safety measures.
Moreover, we are appalled at the spurious circumstances of their hearings, to be conducted Thursday March the Twelfth in secret, without access to legal representation, under irregular procedure and bereft of student participation in the hearings. Why would such an important process be scheduled before an investigation is complete, while students are off campus?
In the Code of Non Academic Conduct, it clearly states “Any board member who feels he/she cannot be impartial in a given case shall recuse himself/herself and shall be replaced by another voting member” (Judicial Procedures, Article E, Section 4). In light of this, why are administrators with a clear and present conflict of interest vis a vis public relations given a majority stake in deciding this trial? Why are our judicial processes being blatantly overruled?
Thankfully, all of our friends are now finally out of the hospital. However, one has been immediately incarcerated and arraigned thereafter. Is this justice? Does this resolve the crises of drug abuse or mental health on campus? Why is the University not taking immediate steps to challenge the laws that make test kits available in dormitories? Why does every word the University has spoken to us thus far speak only to a concern with image and respect, when lives were on the line?
To the contrary, several of the accused were involved with harm reduction on campus, at substantial risk to themselves. We watched as they decided to act to save lives, when nobody else did. They are their classmate’s tutors, committed activists, selfless volunteers, steadfast friends. If they are taken into incarceration, or expelled from campus, their absence will ring out as the most persistent echo of this tragedy.
Things need to change, but further fragmenting our community accomplishes no end.
Resolved with these questions, and committed to a community-based healing process,
We ask for sound judgement and restorative justice.
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