Skidmore’s Integrity Board Hearing

Sunday, November 6th, 2011
posted by becks

Friday morning at 9:30, I walked into Skidmore’s Residential Life conference room to begin the hearing that would decide whether or not the tree sit violated Skidmore’s Honor Code and Student Codes of Conduct.  Several days prior I had received a packet of information, including a piece of paper asking me to mark if I believed I was guilty or not guilty of committing the violation. The hearing began with introductions and general formalities, and then delved into questioning why I checked not guilty as well as a more thorough explanation of the sit, what happened, why, etc.  It was here that I was able to explain that I had tried other methods at ending mountaintop removal, including lobbying for a ban on underground slurry injections and helping to organize the March on Blair Mountain.  I explained that the coal industry’s control in Appalachia goes beyond the land and into the courts and governmental agencies.  At that point, someone read a letter from Alpha, helping to show even more that their “nice” facade that they attempting to uphold during the sit was merely that, a facade.  They claimed that I should absolutely be disciplined by Skidmore because their actions are lawful (well, let’s address how you don’t follow regulations or permits and also that the laws are created by politicians and judges who are bought out by you…) and as a result what I did was unlawful.  With well-paid lawyers and insidious manipulation of the law, the villains are able to construct statements that make us look like the bad people, when in reality we know who is poisoning communities, destroying diverse forests and mountains, and erasing a rich culture.

After about an hour and a half of questioning and an invigorating statement from my faculty “character witness,” there was a closed deliberation.  I came back into the room and the advising committee of three faculty advisers and the Dean of Residential Life (Don Hastings) explained that they could only see me sort of violating one of the codes (the code that says students can’t break any federal, state, or local laws) but that claiming I violated all the codes I was accused of violating would be taking it entirely out of context. So based on that, they determined that I did NOT in fact violate any of the codes!

I want to send a HUGE thank you to everyone who was able to write letters, emails, and phone calls and all others who were there in support. These words were certainly helpful in showing that there was an incredible amount of support not just for me, but for this type of action and response to the illegality of mountaintop removal mining and other forms of environmental injustice, social injustice, and corporate domination. I hope that this case sets not only a precedent for other cases at Skidmore, but that it propels other students to act in similar ways.


2 Responses to “Skidmore’s Integrity Board Hearing”

  1. Ina Ayliffe says:

    My thanks to Skidmore for your fair judgment. Save the mountain tops.!!!!!!!

  2. Sarah Moon says:

    Thanks for standing up, Becks. What you went through with the Integrity Board means a lot more people are now educated about what’s really happening in Appalachia. Thanks for all you’ve done on behalf of the mountains.

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