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Communication for cooperation

If you are not a UNH student or have not opened the email President Huddleston sent out to students Wednesday, please take a moment to read the copy below.

The New Hampshire in no way condones the behavior which students have displayed on May 5 over the past few years. It is deplorable and inexcusable. All parties whose actions complicated the daily routines and potential well-being of the Oyster River Middle School students and their guardians should be ashamed.

With that being said, the below email that President Huddleston sent out to students was ambiguous and frustrating, despite its undoubted good intentions.

The most troubling portion—though valid according to the Student Code of Conduct—comes from the threats of suspension and expulsion for behavior without further explanation. President Huddleston wrote that these consequences will come as a result of any action that violates the Student Code of Conduct or the law. 

It is understood that this was done in an effort to deter students from participating in the same type of behavior that is both damaging to the community and UNH’s reputation.

But there has to be more detail included to avoid a lapse in communication. It is not clear why UNH reserves the right to suspend or expel a student for being arrested on Cinco de Mayo when a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or the law would lead to less severe ramifications on any other given day.

For some possible insight, we will refer to the student code of conduct. 

Article IV section F states, “In certain circumstances, the Dean of Students or designee may impose interim restrictions such as University suspension or residence hall eviction or relocation prior to the hearing before a hearing body. Interim restrictions are effective immediately without prior notice.”

The most relevant subsection is (c), which states an interim restriction may be imposed “If the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University.”

But what if a student is found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct that is totally unrelated to any “Cinco de Mayo” festivities? It is implied from Huddleston’s language that a student will be suspended or expelled for any violation of the Code of Conduct on May 5.

President Huddleston, we are on your side. But a more comprehensive explanation must be offered to students.

It is not rational to believe that college students will abstain from “partying” on Cinco, despite threats of severe punishment. Rather, explaining to students the problems that the community had as a result of last year’s mass gatherings and explaining what is and is not acceptable.

It is our belief that more effective communication would result in better cooperation from students. When it comes to making Cinco a day without incident, we need to be on the same page.

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