‘Tough Love’ email announces expulsion for fights

NEW ORLEANS (Feb.21, 2013)-  Concerned with an increase in fighting by Dillard students, especially women, President Walter Kimbrough announced that expulsion is now the sole penalty for such student violations as of Feb. 14.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough’s “Tough Love” email on Valentine’s Day also called on women leaders on campus to organize a summit this semester to address the issue of fighting and “develop a plan to eradicate this behavior from our campus.” He specifically called on the Student Government Association, sororities, the Student Activities Board and clubs.

The 2012-13 DU Student Handbook listed expulsion as a possible sanction for 31 violations, including assault, battery and “dangerous, threatening, unsafe behavior.” However, the announcement makes expulsion the sole sanction for fighting, which was not explicitly listed in the most recent handbook.

“Starting today…if you fight, the penalty is expulsion – no questions asked,” said Kimbrough’s email. “This will go on your permanent transcript and will impact any future financial aid.”

He added, “For those who are being investigated now, consider yourselves lucky. You might only get a suspension. But going forward, anyone who fights goes home for good.”

He warned that if he doesn’t see a reduction in violence, “the last resort” would be to direct campus police to arrest violators and send them through the criminal justice system.

The president made a distinction between fighting and being “jumped.” He said students should try to avoid conflict and call police if you’re being threatened.

“[W]e are able to discipher if someone is attacked versus engaging in a fight (they are two different things,” the email said.

Kimbrough wants Dillard to have a summit to the one planned at Spelman College in March by writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis, and he suggested perhaps Davis could help with Dillard’s.

Davis’ “Bury the Ratchet” campaign is aimed at improving the depictions of black women in mainstream media – “to get the spotlight off the rachetness” shown in stereotypical reality shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” with “mean, gold-digging women.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, a “rachet” is “a diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos, that has reason to believe she is every man’s eye candy. Unfortunately, she’s wrong.”

Kimbrough also blamed reality shows for the recent epidemic of fighting, stating women are acting out what they see.

Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, vice president for Student Success, was contacted Friday to provide numbers comparing the numbers of fights that came up for judicial review this year and last year, and how many students were either suspended or expelled. However, she said she could not respond in the “next couple of days” because “we are still in the midst of adjudicating cases for this semester [and] I would need to sort data to get this information to you.”

(Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Rivers contributed to this report.)