News Brief

By Kelsey Collins

Student Suspended for Removal of Sept. 11 Memorial

Anna Shireman-Grabowski ‘14.5, the student accused of pulling nearly 3,000 American flags from the ground that had been placed on the lawn in front of Mead Chapel to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, was handed a one-year suspension by the College. Shireman-Grabowski was found responsible for violating the College’s General Conduct Standards, Respect for Persons and Respect for Property by the College Judicial Board, a sentence which was upheld on appeal on Oct. 9. While five individuals participated in the act, only Shireman-Grabowski was identified as a student at the College.

Sexual Assault Case Goes to Trial After Long Deliberation

Dong Song’s attorney and the Vermont District Attorney met for a status conference hearing on Oct. 14. At the last hearing, both sides announced they would meet outside of court. But talks broke down and did not yield a resolution between the last two conference meetings. As a result, both sides will begin conducting depositions and selecting experts in preparation for a jury trial. There are complications for both sides: Song, a citizen of South Korea,  now holds an expired student visa,  and Federal funding for the State Attorney’s office is set to run dry in the coming week due to the government shutdown. The court set an expert disclosure deadline for Oct. 31 and the jury hearing for Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m.

Queers and Allies Club Hosts Discussion on Homophobia

Students gathered in Redfield Proctor on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 15 for a discussion about homophobia on campus, led by the Queers and Allies Club (Q&A). The meeting was prompted by an anonymous homophobic letter left on a first-year’s door last month.

Students and faculty began the discussion in a roundtable format, sharing reactions to the letter incident and brainstorming ways in which the community can move forward. The discussion then expanded to include all attendees, building upon ways in which the community can take action and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Attendees agreed that solidarity within the community and raising awareness about tolerance as a means of countering not just homophobia, but broader prejudices, as well, would be a good start. References were made to similar situations at other colleges, in which mandatory all-student discussions were held as a means of showing solidarity for the affected persons. Many in attendance wondered why the College didn’t take similar action, grieving the fact that the responsibility to create change frequently falls upon the oppressed.

Further discussion criticized an email sent by Dean of the College Shirley Collado on Monday, Oct. 7 on the subject of the letter. Collado’s email stated, “a Middlebury student reported receiving a disturbing and threatening printed note left at the door to her residence hall room.”

A number of students at the discussion were frustrated with the vagueness of Collado’s email, wondering why she didn’t mention the letter’s homophobic content. In a follow-up email to the College on Tuesday, Oct. 15, Collado confirmed that the letter contained “threatening and extremely homophobic language,” and cited an ongoing investigation as having restricted the information she and others could divulge.

With additional reporting by KYLE FINCK and EMILY SINGER