Three members of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity were sanctioned this week by the Office of Students for the Oct. 5 theft of 9000 Miami Hurricane newspapers.
Disciplinary action and names are kept confidential by the administration at UM in accordance with the Buckley-Pell Amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act- a federal statute which denies federal funds to educational institutions that do not maintain confidentiality of student records.
“We cannot comment on individual discipline,” said Dean Singleton, assistant dean of studnets.
However, the Hurricane has confirmed that two of the students have been suspended for the spring semester must perform community service as well as pay the Miami Hurricane $4800 as restitution for the theft.
The third student has been put on probation.
These members of AEPi stole most of the Oct 5.issues of the Miami Hurricane – which published a front page story reporting that AEPi pledges had been accused of racist activity – from newspaper racks in over 30 locations on campus.
Three days later, AEPi representatives met with Dean Sandler to confess that AEPi brothers as well as non-members were responsible for the theft.
The newspapers were returned to the Office of the Dean of Students by 1 p.m. the same day.
“The students who returned the papers were not the ones who stole the papers,” said Singleton.
University administration would have charged AEPi with the theft had they not received information that charged three students with the theft, according to Dr. Patricia Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs.
The Alpha Epsilon Pi National Organization has decided not to take any action against these three members because they have only received unofficial reports of the sanctions, according to Sid Dunn, executive vice president for the AEPi national organization.
Dunn said if they received official word from the UM administration about the sanctions, the national organization may take action.
However, because of the Buckley Amendment, it is doubtful whether Dunn will ever receive official confirmation.
“I don’t think that anybody should take things that don’t belong to them. Our investigation found that the chapter was not involved as a fraternity, rather, it was three individuals who acted on their own will,” Dunn said.
“We support our chapter and we want to protect it. We encouraged the men to step forward from the beginning,” Dunn said.
AEPi president, Daniel Miller, received word from the national organization not to comment to the Hurricane about the sanctions.
“This has been a troubling time for the newspaper and the campus community as a whole. These students tried to prevent the campus from reading the Hurricane,” said Jordan Rodack, Editor-in-chief for the Miami Hurricane.
“The penalty was harsh but just. I thank the university administration for taking such action. I think this will show the rest of the university not to stomp on our first amendment rights,” Rodack said.
“We want the UM community to learn from this. We want to send a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” said Dr. Whitely.
“The Hurricane looks forward to putting this behind us as we continue putting out the best newspapers ever,” Rodack said.