DC gives John Mead a four-year dismissal

“I was disappointed [by the punishment] but I do understand why the committee decided how they did,” Mead said after the hearing. “I was a little surprised given the reputation that the committee has for a reluctance to hand out large sentences like that, but I think because of the nature of the incident, it is appropriate.”

Mead explained that he suffered from emotional instability during the period he served as publisher. “At the time, I was not entirely emotionally stable,” Mead said after the hearing. “It was a very difficult and trying time in my life.”

“Regardless of my mental state at the time, I must be held [responsible] for my actions,” he wrote in statement he delievered to the DC.

In the statement, Mead also indicated that he sees a psychiatrist on a monthly basis and sees a therapist once or twice per month. He also said that he intends to continue treatment for as long as it is beneficial to him.

According to Mead, Chief of Campus Police John Carter attended the hearing to present the case on behalf of the College, which filed the complaint against Mead. Mead explained that both he and Carter presented their own statements. They then responded to questions asked by committee members and had the opportunity to question each other. No witnesses were present at the hearing, although Mead was permitted an advisor. He chose to have Dean of Residential Life Charri Boykin-East serve in this capacity.

“The committee asked questions to clarify things that I had said or that John Carter had said,” Mead explained after the hearing. “[The questions were] not accusatory. They [were] more probing and inquisitive questions.”

In his written statement, Mead explained that he did not intend to harm the paper or its staff. “I would … like to stress that I did not take money from The Student out of malice or ill will toward those who worked on the publication or in an effort to hurt the paper in any way,” he wrote. “I did not intend to cripple the newspaper or damage the reputation of the College as a whole. But my actions did just that, and that fact is the impetus of this hearing,” he continued.

Eunice Park ’04, who was executive editor of The Student while Mead was publisher, believes the punishment fits Mead’s behavior. “I feel like for the gravity of what he did … there is probably a reason why the … [DC] came up with this verdict,” she said. “He did place a school organization in major financial trouble.”

Kelly Smith ’04 is former editor-in-chief of The Student who worked with Mead until she and Lawrence Baum ’03, the publisher who preceded Mead, uncovered the embezzlement and brought the case to Dean of Students Ben Lieber and Carter.”My primary concern has always been for The Student and its ability to recover from what happened last year. The decision of the disciplinary committee will not affect the newspaper,” Smith said. “Nonetheless, it seems appropriate that someone who so seriously abused the trust of his fellow students should be separated from the community for a time as well as have his membership in it re-evaluated.”

A Hampshire County judge ordered Mead to serve two years probation as a result of the complaint made by Campus Police. He meets monthly with a probation officer and, as a condition of his probation, he performs community service on a weekly basis.

Currently, Mead works full-time at a supermarket near his home in order to repay his parents, who repaid the money Mead stole from The Student. In order to return to the College from his academic leave, he must spend a semester as a full-time student at another school. In his written statement, Mead expressed his plans to enroll in a course at a community college near his home and his future plans to return to “fulltime student status, perhaps at the local state college.”

Since Mead was dismissed and not suspended, in order to re-matriculate at the College as a member of the class of 2008, he will need to reapply through the Dean of Students’ office.

“I’m still digesting it all,” Mead said after the hearing. “It will probably take me some time to really get a total grasp on it.”