On Nov. 24, The Daily Princetonian reported the circulation of a petition for a student’s future readmission to the University after incarceration for drug offenses. The former student, Julian Edgren, was arrested for drug possession and distribution. After pleading guilty to 13 counts of possession and intent to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs, he was sentenced to five years in jail.
Because various accounts of Edgren’s status at the University since the conviction have been circulated, the Board does not take a stance on whether Edgren himself should be readmitted after carrying out his sentence. However, in light of Edgren’s case, the Board puts forth a set of disciplinary policy proposals for removing and reevaluating students who face criminal charges to determine whether they should be allowed to continue their education at the University.
According to Section 1.1.7 of Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities, there is no more severe action a disciplinary body may take than to permanently remove a student from the University community. Given that the University disciplinary norm is to issue several less severe punishments to a student before finally expelling him or her, the Board believes immediate expulsion is a disciplinary action that should only be reserved for two groups of students: those who have committed multiple disciplinary infractions and have had multiple opportunities away from campus to rehabilitate themselves, and those who have been convicted of violent criminal offenses.
The Board believes that during the time between his or her arrest and trial, a student should be conditionally suspended from the University in accordance with the status quo conditional suspension policy. If the student is found not guilty, he or she should be readmitted to the the University where he or she should face any appropriate University disciplinary proceedings. If the student is found guilty of a non-violent criminal offense, his or her conditional suspension should be extended to cover the period of time during which he or she is serving out any court-imposed penalty. At the end of this period of time, the student’s status at the University should be reevaluated by a University disciplinary board — likely the Judicial Committee.The Board believes the University must first determine whether the student poses a viable threat to the campus community. The evaluation should encompass not only whether a student’s actions and presence would make other students physically unsafe, but also the extent to which the student’s original behavior was a detriment to campus culture and the spirit of the community. Additionally, the University must evaluate the effectiveness of any rehabilitation that occurred when the student was away from campus. Third, the University should reserve the right to mandate any additional non-punitive rehabilitation to aid in the student’s reintegration into the campus community. Finally, the University should evaluate the student’s commitment to complete his or her education. In the evaluation, this University should consider what University-specific resources might allow a student to achieve his or her particular goals and whether the student will adequately use these resources.
The University is an institution that values granting opportunities for high education to a diverse set of students. It would be entirely unfair to preclude a number of students from these opportunities — opportunities the University once bestowed when it offered these students admission — due to non-violent criminal convictions. At the very least, these students deserve reevaluations of their status as members of the community before final expulsion. For this reason, the Board urges the University to reconsider its disciplinary policy.
Carolyn Liziewski ’18 recused herself from the writing of this editorial.
We disagree that immediate expulsion should be reserved only for repeat offenders and those who have committed violent crimes. We believe that the University should retain the option to immediately expel students who have committed non-violent crimes that demonstrate a flagrant disregard for Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities. In the status quo, the University already has the option to conditionally suspend a student convicted of a crime. For these cases, we agree with the re-admittance procedure proposed by the majority. However, certain non-violent offenses, such as massive theft or damage to University property, may merit immediate expulsion. All Princeton students agree to abide by the rules and standards established in RRR upon matriculation, and the University should be able to exercise discretion in fully enforcing those rules immediately rather than down the road. For these reasons, we respectfully dissent.
Signed byPaul Draper ’18, Connor Pfeiffer ’18, Allison Berger ’18, Theodore Furchtgott ’18
TheEditorial Boardis an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-in-Chief.