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Dartmouth Lifts Suspensions Against Six Students In Shanty Attack

April 12, 1986

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) _ Twenty-two Dartmouth College students staged an 8 1/2 -hour sit-in at the college library to protest the school’s decision to lift suspensions against six students who attacked anti-apartheid shanties on the campus green.

The sit-in ended this morning without incident after college Dean Edward Shanahan warned the demonstrators they faced suspensions themselves.

Dartmouth President David McLaughlin on Friday announced the reduced punishments for six students involved in the pre-dawn sledgehammer raid Jan. 21 against the symbolic shanties. Four other students had one-term suspensions upheld.

All 10 will have to complete public service projects before graduation from the Ivy League college, McLaughlin said. Nine of the 10 are members of a conservative weekly called the Dartmouth Review.

Former Gov. Walter Peterson, a Dartmouth alumnus who reviewed the disciplinary procedures, recommended the reduced punishment for the six, citing hardships experienced by them and their families.

The 22 students began their library sit-in about 4:40 p.m. Friday and ended it about 1:15 a.m., police said.

″We’ve been systematically silenced and alienated from the governance of this college,″ the group said in a prepared statement. ″The most blatant example of this is today’s decision regarding punishment of the students which destroyed the shanties on the green.″

Students trying to get Dartmouth to sell off its $60 million in South Africa-related securities began building the shanties in November as a symbol of the oppression of South African blacks. The school pressured the students to move the shanties off campus, and the last one was removed Feb. 11 after the college had 18 students arrested for trying to prevent the removal.

In January, 12 students who said the school should not be ″held hostage″ by any group attacked the shanties.

Dartmouth later dropped all charges against the 18 students who had been arrested, prompting the those who had attacked the shanties to claim that they were being punished more severely.