OPINION

Open Letter to the Senators of the Association of Amherst Students

By Karu Kozuma || Issue 148-20

I write to ask you to review the Judiciary Council’s decision about sanctions for the Amherst College Republicans. I recognize that you, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS), are a separately-incorporated organization that represents and serves the students of Amherst College. The administration does not interfere in your rightful decision-making.


I do have a responsibility, however, to point out the problems I see in the recent measures taken by your Judiciary Council. I ask that the AAS Senate and the student body as a whole take the following points into consideration.


First, neither the Judiciary Council nor the AAS has the authority to enforce the Amherst College Honor Code, which is cited as a foundational basis for the punitive measures that were announced. Only the Office of Community Standards in Student Affairs can adjudicate violations of the code. Second, the measures may have ripple effects that are punitive of other students and student organizations that have no relation to the underlying incident you addressed in the measures. To have their executive boards affected when there has been no related process for those organizations to access seems ill-advised. Third, I am concerned that there may also have been some procedural anomalies. I hope the Senate will reconsider the measures taken and the basis on which decisions were made. Fourth, there is no doubt that the campus community would benefit from more education and genuine discussion of the issues raised by this and other incidents of bias. However, there are questions whether mandated sensitivity training is the best approach.


Finally, with respect to the report submitted by the Judiciary Council to the Office of Community Standards, the college takes possible violations of community standards seriously and is already reviewing this incident.


Sincerely,


Karu Kozuma
Office of Student Affairs