- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) — Seventeen University of Virginia students ordered to apologize for staging a four-day sit-in are appealing their punishment, saying it would cause them to violate the school’s honor code prohibition against lying.

The protesters’ appeal asks the university’s Judicial Review Board, composed of students and faculty, to sentence them to community service instead.

Police arrested the demonstrators April 15 and charged them with trespassing.

The students, who were demonstrating for what they call a “living wage” for all university employees, were acquitted in Charlottesville General District Court last week.

However, the student-run University Judiciary Committee ordered each protester May 2 to write a letter to university administrators thanking them for engaging in dialogue during the sit-in at Madison Hall.

The students also were ordered to write letters apologizing to the building’s five employees and to university police for any disruption.

They agreed to write the letters to the Madison Hall employees but said letters of thanks and apology to the administration and police would be “grossly inappropriate.”

Thanking administrators for facilitating dialogue during the sit-in would mean that the protesters thought the administrators did so, the appeal states.

“Basically, what they’re asking us to do is apologize for something that we don’t believe is true, therefore to write them would be a violation of the university’s honor code,” protester Carmen Comsti said.

University spokeswoman Carol Wood declined to comment on the appeal.

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