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SILL v. PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV.

August 3, 1970

Geoffrey SILL, Alan C. Cunningham, Scott E. Gibbs, Kenneth R. Cooper, Steven D. Weiss, Walter T. Champion, Jr., John M. Forcey, Kenneth A. Karpovich, Diane K. Lehnig, Caesar J. Muccari, David S. Oswald, and M. Dean Ross, Plaintiffs, Richard A. Parkany, Joseph Schneller, John P. Yanak, Ellen Keyser and Paul Kostrow, Intervening Plaintiffs,
v.
The PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, Its Board of Trustees, G. Albert Shoemaker, Individually and as President of its Board of Trustees, H. Thomas Hallowell, Jr., Individually and as Vice President of its Board of Trustees, and Eric A. Walker, Individually and as its President, Defendants


Nealon, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEALON

In this action, seventeen students at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), who received disciplinary punishment ranging from two years probation to expulsion as a result of a campus disturbance in April, 1970, request this Court to order defendants, Penn State and its Board of Trustees, to restore them to their full status as students. Presently before the Court is a motion for preliminary injunction *fn1" filed by Geoffrey Sill and Steven D. Weiss, seeking their immediate reinstatement for the purpose of attending the Summer Term at Penn State pending a final decision on the merits. Evidence was received and testimony taken on this motion at a hearing held July 14, 1970. At this time I make the following

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. On April 15, 1970, several hundred students at Penn State participated in a demonstration at the "Old Main" Building on the Penn State campus, which resulted in personal injuries and property damage. Thereafter, a special three-member Disciplinary Panel *fn2" was appointed by the University Board of Trustees to hear the charges brought by University officials against forty students for violation of University rules. Several days of hearings were held by the Panel, during which the students charged were afforded a wide range of constitutional rights.

 2. Geoffrey Sill, 25, is a graduate student enrolled in the Doctoral Program of the Department of English at Penn State. He has completed his classwork requirements and is preparing to begin research on his Doctoral dissertation topic, having received the informal approval of most of the faculty Committee which will advise him. The Committee Chairman and chief dissertation adviser, Alan Trachtenberg, Ph. D., is now a Professor at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

 3. On June 19, 1970, Eric A. Walker, then President of Penn State, *fn3" notified Sill of his immediate dismissal from the University for disciplinary reasons arising out of Sill's alleged participation in the demonstration at the "Old Main" Building. *fn4" Sill was then provided an opportunity to submit further materials to the President by June 26, 1970, which he did, but on June 30, 1970, one day after the beginning of the Summer Term, the President notified Sill that the dismissal would stand.

 4. At the time of his dismissal, Sill had registered for the Summer Term at Penn State for research credits towards his Doctoral thesis, which he hoped to complete by December, 1970.

 6. At the time of his dismissal, Sill was the recipient of the prestigious University Fellowship for the Fall, 1970, Term, which carries with it a stipend of $2500.00 plus tuition.

 7. In accordance with the University's stipulation, the Fellowship granted to Sill will not be awarded to any other student during the pendency of the action in this Court.

 8. Sill's lack of enrollment in the Summer Term at Penn State will not impair his access to the University library, including the availability of the Inter-Library Loan Facility.

 9. Sill's lack of enrollment in the Summer Term at Penn State will not diminish his opportunities to secure advice and counseling for his Doctoral thesis, particularly from Dr. Alan Trachtenberg, Chairman of Sill's thesis Committee, whose counsel is especially important in the early stages of the development of his dissertation.

 10. Sill's lack of enrollment in the Summer Term at Penn State will not affect his ability to perform his thesis research since it can be performed at almost any well-equipped library and can be submitted to the Department as late as five to seven years after Committee approval of the topic.

 11. Sill's lack of enrollment in the Summer Term at Penn State will not alter his deferred Selective Service status as II-S, since the University has agreed not to report the disciplinary action taken against Sill to his Selective ...


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