Final update: The Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee is found guilty of violating some college policies, but no official college discipline will result. Check out MiddBlog’s detailed account of the trial.
Update 7:19PM: A lot has happened so far. MiddBlog is going take a little bit to come out with more comprehensive coverage, but here are some themes that have come out so far: Accountability, intent, and the fine line between fraud and satire.
Update 5:06PM: So far both parties have made their opening statements. In her opening statement, complainant Dean Collado emphasized the importance of separating the moral issues and freedom of speech from the infraction of college policies in the college handbook. She also said that during an important time in the College’s history (referring to the Dalai Lama’s visit), “unfortunately this email turned [the administrations]’s energy to managing a great deal of confusion [within and beyond the college community].”
The Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee responded that the moral issues they aim to confront cannot be separated from the action itself, as the action is their message. They also cited a satirical issue of the Campus released on April Fool’s Day.
Original Post: Ten minutes and counting until the beginning of Middlebury’s first open Community Judicial Board hearing in recent memory. Five Middlebury students are on trial for their involvement in a satirical press release claiming Middlebury College divested from war and fossil fuels in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit. Every seat in Dana, the school’s largest auditorium, has been filled and people have been turned away.
All cell phones and electronic devices are prohibited, but we’ll be posting updates during scheduled breaks, as long as this doesn’t violate judiciary procedure. Stay tuned for more comprehensive coverage after the hearing.