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Peeps face disciplinary hearing for parade vandalism, but deny claims

Peeps face disciplinary hearing for  parade vandalism, but deny claims

By Staff

Each fall, the Greek society Peeps O’ Kenyon introduces themselves to the incoming class by excitedly parading through the first-year dorms. On the night of Sept. 9, however, this year’s event may have turned injurious when, allegedly, participants tore signs and decorations from the doors and walls first in McBride and Mather Halls, then in the first-year quad.

Ellie Tomlinson ’14, co-president of the Peeps, acknowledged the vandalism but attributed it to first years who joined the parade after it began. “The damage to Norton, however unfortunate, was a result of first years; no members of the Peeps O’ Kenyon took part in any such activity,” she wrote in an email, referring to two halls in Norton that reportedly sustained the most vandalism.

The College has initiated disciplinary procedures against the Peeps, according to a McBride community advisor who asked to remain anonymous due to social ties with a member of the group. The Peeps consequently stalled plans for Deb Ball, an annual drag party the group generally holds in early October. “We will not know the status of that event until we have received a ruling from the administration,” Tomlinson wrote.

Deb Ball will at least be later in the year than usual. Depending on the resolution in the case, it might not happen at all. The Student Handbook lists “restriction of social events” ラ which could presumably include Deb Ball ラ as a potential sanction for organizations found to have committed conduct violations.

Daniela Edmeier ’15, a Community Advisor for first-floor McBride, was on duty in Mather when the parade passed by. “We just kind of moved to the side to let them go through. The beginning of the parade was fine, but towards the end, as they were walking out, they were just ラ they just turned to the walls and just grabbed stuff and just started ripping it down,” she said. According to Edmeier, at that point the parade consisted of 25-40 people.

any first years who had joined them because “they were all mushed together.” She said, “I think it was hard, especially probably for the Peeps, because it was not very ラ it didn’t seem very organized and ナ it didn’t seem like they had control of the situation.

“They were loud and stuff like that but that’s to be expected. ナ Once they started ripping stuff down is when people started getting uncomfortable with the situation, and I know residents who were like, ムYeah, once that started happening, I left, because I didn’t want to be associated with it,'” Edmeier said.

On the day of the parade, Alicia Dugas, assistant dean of students for housing and residential life, informed the entire ResLife staff that the parade would be taking place that night. “The Peeps have been great in the last few years but they have been given clear instructions about no vandalism of any kind (please report to your AD immediately), must be completed before quiet hours, should not be banging on doors, no alcohol, no pets, etc.,” she wrote in an email obtained by the Collegian.

Monica Lee ’16, Edmeier’s duty partner that night, filled out an incident report after the pair witnessed the vandalism. Heeding Dugas’ instructions, they also alerted the assistant director for housing and residential life who was on duty.

The damage was significant enough to prompt disciplinary action against the Peeps, according to the anonymous CA.

“If it’s a serious thing and you know that there are ラ perpetrators seems like a weird word to use ラ if you know who did the thing you’re writing up, then there’s going to be a disciplinary hearing,” said the CA, who added that the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is overseeing the hearing process.

Due to issues of confidentiality, Samantha Hughes, the Office’s director, declined to comment on “a case involving any specific student, team or organization.”

Asked for comment on the alleged vandalism, Andi Kelley, the AD for the first-year quad, noted that she was “not at liberty to speak about pending judicial cases.”

The Student Handbook stipulates that, within the student conduct review system, “cases shall be decided upon a standard of preponderance of evidence.” Thus, to give a guilty verdict in this case, the judicial body must be convinced that, more likely than not, the Peeps committed the offenses.

“They have to be 51 percent certain that you’re guilty. ナ So most people who get written up for drinking, they’re like, we’re pretty sure that you were drinking,” the anonymous CA said. Preponderance sets a relatively low bar and is contrasted with the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for establishing guilt.

Further complicating the case is the question of whether the Peeps would still be culpable if their members did not commit any vandalism, but only first years accompanying them did.

“The fact that it was their parade, that people were getting out of hand under their watch ラ I think that’s why it was labeled their fault,” Edmeier said.

Hughes said she was in the process of training the Student Conduct Review Board and that she expected to finish “within upcoming weeks.”

Regarding conduct hearings in general, Hughes said, “The process is conducted until everyone involved has been heard, has been given the opportunity to ask questions and [to] present information. After the hearing portion of the process, the Board deliberates and makes a decision and then presents the findings to the respondent.”

“The Peeps Parade has been a long-standing tradition within both our organization and the larger Kenyon community,” Tomlinson wrote. “We hope to see it survive for many years to come.”

Edmeier said she could not distinguish the Peeps from any first years who had joined them because

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