By Gabe Brison-Trezise
The Greek Society Peeps O’ Kenyon will serve a six-month probation term for providing alcohol to underage students following their Sept. 9 parade through first-year dorms, according to Sam Ebert ’14, co-president of the group. The panel, consisting of three administrators, that issued the probation sentence also levied a $100 fine against the group for property damage sustained during the parade.
“We accepted and agreed that the parade sort of was somewhat of a catalyst for some raucous behavior on the part of the freshmen,” Ebert said, asserting that first years who joined the parade were responsible for the property damage itself. He added, though, “Given the nature of the hearing, we thought that it was a fair compromise, because while there’s no way to prove us guilty, there’s no real way to prove us innocent of those things.”
Regarding the alcohol charge, Ebert said the group was not “being very judicious in how that was being passed out.”
The College mandates a six-month minimum for probation sentences, but the Peeps have appealed their probation to Dean of Students Hank Toutain in order to “get credit for time served,” according to Ebert. Toutain declined to comment, writing in an email, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any specific Conduct case.”
“We’re not appealing the property fines. We’re just appealing the fact that we’re pretty much stagnant for a month and would like that time back,” Ebert said, referring to the fact that the group could not throw parties or hold other events while their case was pending.
“It does damage our organization not to have alcoholic events and full free-spirited events,” said Ebert, who added that the Peeps “may or may not” hold Deb Ball, their annual fall drag party, in the spring.
The Peeps elected to have an administrative panel hear their case, since the Student Conduct Review Board could not be convened, according to the Peeps’ advisor, Kyle Henderson ’80, associate vice president for college relations. The three administrators who heard the Peeps’ case were Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Monique Jernigan, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Affairs Chris Kennerly and Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities Samantha Hughes. Jernigan and Kennerly did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment, and Hughes previously wrote in an email that she could not discuss any specific conduct review case.
Henderson, who was president of the group in 1978, attended the judicial hearing. “The three administrators on the board listened very carefully to the evidence,” he said. “They had written evidence from the report by the CAs [community advisors] primarily, and then they questioned the co-presidents of the Peeps, Sam and Ellie [Tomlinson ’14], about that evidence, and they responded and gave their opinion about what happened.”
In a previous interview, Daniela Edmeier ’15, a CA for first-floor McBride Residence Hall, described some of what she witnessed during the parade. She said she could not generally distinguish between Peep and first-year participants but did say that a Peep ﾗ “this one was for sure a Peep” ﾗ tried to take a donut from her duty partner, Monica Lee ’16. The Peep “came up to her and started opening the box,” Edmeier said. Lee included this anecdote in her report, one of several considered by the panel.
Both Ebert and Henderson characterized the hearing process as fair, though Henderson added, “I think the penalty they received was a little bit severe for the conduct which they were found to have committed.”
Another condition of the Peeps’ probation is that the group ensures future iterations of the parade are sober, held outside, and run during the spring rush period, “so that we don’t have to worry about being mistaken for targeting freshmen,” Ebert said.
Ebert also decried what he described as the student body’s stigmatization and mischaracterization of the Peeps.
“One thing we’ll be actively trying to do post-probation and even during is break the stigma that exists around us but not within us, and that is that we are some drug-addled society on campus,” Ebert said. “It’s something we really need to purge,” he added, noting that Peeps does not stand for anything but that the optinal all-caps stylization is intended as “mockery” of Greek lettering.