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Dartmouth Disciplines 4 Students For Harassing Black Professor

March 10, 1988

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Dartmouth College suspended two members of a conservative student newspaper for two years Thursday and another for two terms for harassing a black professor in his classroom.

A fourth student staffer for the independent Dartmouth Review was placed on disciplinary probation for one year for disorderly conduct.

The four white students had faced possible expulsion over a Feb. 25 confrontation with music Professor William Cole over a Review article criticizing his class and his teaching ability.

The article and the confrontation had drawn allegations of racism against the Review and prompted demonstrations by black students at the Ivy League school.

The penalties imposed by the student-faculty Dartmouth Committee on Standards take effect Wednesday, the end of the current academic term.

Christopher Baldwin of Hinsdale, Ill., John Quilhot of Fort Wayne, Ind., John Sutter of St. Louis, and Sean Nolan of Lexington, Mass., were charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and invasion of privacy.

Baldwin, a junior who is the Review editor, and Sutter, a senior who is its executive editor, were suspended until the fall of 1989, or six terms.

Quilhot, a sophomore photographer, was suspended for two terms. Nolan, a freshman contributor to the paper, was placed on probation. Dartmouth operates on a three-term college year.

Baldwin said the students will appeal.

″I knew we were going to get a sentence like that when we walked into the hearing,″ Baldwin said. ″The hearing was conducted in a lynch-mob hysteria.″

″They did what was politically expedient, not what was right,″ he said.

The disciplinary panel found all four guilty of disorderly conduct for failure to leave Cole’s classroom after being asked repeatedly to leave.

Baldwin was guilty of harassment for initiating and persisting in a ″vexatious oral exchange″ with Cole, and Sutter was guilty of repeated ″aggressive, confrontational and particularly vexatious″ behavior, the committee said.

Cole, a specialist in African-American music and author of books on jazz musicians John Coltrane and Miles Davis, sued the Review for libel five years ago over an article questioning his competence and saying he ″looks like a used Brillo pad.″ Cole later dropped the suit.

During nearly 16 hours of hearings last weekend, the four students proclaimed their innocence and denied any racial motivation.

Founded in 1980 with support from such conservatives as Patrick Buchanan and William F. Buckley, the Review repeatedly has been accused of insensitivity to blacks, women and homosexuals.

Baldwin led the group that approached Cole in a recital hall after the professor finished a class.

Baldwin said the Review wanted to give Cole another chance to respond to an article in the Review several days earlier. In that article the Review printed remarks, including profanities, that Cole made in a telephone interview.

Witnesses who testified before the committee last weekend agreed that Cole became agitated and yelled and cursed when the four approached him. Cole testified that he felt harassed and provoked, and he accused the Review of bigotry.

The invasion of privacy charge arose because Cole was photographed and tape-recorded without permission.

One witness, Luzmila Johnson, head of the Afro-American Society at Dartmouth, testified that Sutter uttered a racial slur as he left the recital hall. Sutter vehemently denied the charge.

Two years ago, 12 people, most of them Review members, mounted a sledgehammer attack on symbolic anti-apartheid shanties on the college green.

Three of the students were suspended. Seven others received community- service sentences, including Baldwin.

Dartmouth has nearly 4,100 undergraduates, nearly 7 percent of them black.

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