ALICE IS dead.
The initiation rite for student "Knights of St. Patrick" at the
University of Missouri at Rolla - consisting of a public dunking in
a vat of goo and said to be named for a former Knight's former
girlfriend - is canceled for next year's St. Pat's celebration and
The university decreed it. Unilaterally. Period.
Wendell Ogrosky, UMR's vice chancellor for student affairs,
said the campus is serving notice to students: "You cannot do
things that are disruptive to the educational environment and are
harmful to people."
Across the country colleges and universities are putting out
much the same message as they reassert control over student conduct.
For years most took a hands-off approach, operating on the
assumption that what students did on their own time on or off
campus was nobody's business but the students' own. Students
enjoyed the freedom to do pretty much what they wanted to do when
they wanted to do it, while answering to no one in authority for
their personal choices. That was the 1970s and 1980s.
This is the 1990s. "The disciplinary environment on campuses
has gotten a lot more serious and restrictive in the last five
years," said Kevin Kruger, associate executive director of the
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in
Long Lists Of Sins
More than ever, colleges and universities are stressing their
conduct codes, complete with long lists of sins that can land
students in trouble. Schools in the bistate region typically outlaw
cheating, plagiarism, sexual harassment, assault, disruptiveness,
theft, property damage, hazing and illegal possession or use of
alcohol, drugs and firearms.
Codes also detail possible punishments - generally ranging from
a simple warning to permanent dismissal from school - and spell out
students' rights to hearings and appeals.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has been working its
way through a series of disciplinary hearings lately, one for each
of 40 students arrested the weekend before Halloween for their
parts in a window-smashing, rock-throwing, fire-setting melee in
City charges against the 40 - among hundreds of students and
non-students who took part - included property damage, public
possession of alcohol, mob action and resisting arrest. Because
such infractions are violations of the university code as well, the
university called all 40 students on the carpet - and sent letters
to the parents of those under 21.
By the latest count, of the 26 students whose cases have been
heard, one withdrew from the university, four have been cleared of
charges, one has been censured, 12 have been suspended and eight
have been put on probation. Suspensions and probations have been
for at least a year.
Harvey Welch Jr., vice chancellor for student affairs, says the
university is taking a new, tougher approach to troublesome
students. "In the past, a lot of these students would not have been
charged," he said. "We had the authority all along, but it had been
our decision not to be involved."
Parade Turned `Orgy'
Halloween and SIUC have a long and troubled joint history. What
started a simple city-sponsored Halloween parade in the mid-1970s
degenerated into an orgy of vandalism and drunkenness as more - and
more unruly - students crashed the event.
UMR's St. …