The Cavalier Daily
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Smith may sue, plans to appeal suspension

Following University President John T. Casteen III's decision to suspend rising fourth-year College student Richard Smith for two years for his involvement in the Nov. 21, 1997 beating of Alexander "Sandy" Kory, then a first-year College student, Smith said he would appeal the decision and possibly sue the University.

Casteen decided that rising fourth-year College students Bradley Kintz and Harrison Kerr Tigrett, who were also involved in the incident, receive a one semester suspension and a one year suspension, respectively, Smith said.

All three students received community service hours, he said.

"I have reviewed the recommendations, but the confidentiality rule prohibits my discussing them," Casteen said.

Smith said he would appeal Casteen's decision.

"I think two years suspension for punching someone once is excessive," he said. "I've had faith the system would punish me fairly--I've never said I didn't deserve to be punished."

A fact finding panel, composed of administrators, faculty and one student and appointed by William W. Harmon, vice president for student affairs, tried the three students May 17.

According to a copy of the panel's recommendations obtained by The Cavalier Daily, the panel recommended to Casteen that Smith be suspended for two consecutive semesters and receive 100 hours of community service and have expulsion in abeyance.

The panel also recommended Tigrett and Kintz be suspended for one semester, not including summer session. The panel also recommended 75 community service hours and a one-year suspension in abeyance for the two students.

Despite the panel's recommendations, Casteen upped several of the sanctions.

The University Judiciary Committee originally expelled the three students Nov. 21 for their involvement in Kory's assault. The students appealed their expulsion to the Judicial Review Board, which in turn reverted the case back to the UJC for retrial. The April 17 retrial then was postponed when the trial chairwoman removed herself from the case for bias and three other student prosecutors resigned.

The UJC voted may 2 to send the case to Harmon.

Charles R. Tolbert, panel member and astronomy professor, said he was not unhappy with Casteen's final decision.

"Casteen's sanctions are certainly within reason given the circumstances" of the case, Tolbert said.

Harmon declined to comment on Casteen's decision due to the possibility that Smith, Kintz and Tigrett may appeal the decision to the Judicial Review Board. Kory is travelling and could not be reached for comment.

Kory's mother, Kaye Kory, said her son was pleased with Casteen's decision.

"It sounds like this is over but we are hesitant to be relieved until we know that" for sure, she said.

"Casteen took a position [on the case] that is respectable," she added.

Kory's lawyer, Lloyd Snook, said he supported Casteen's decision.

"If Smith were gone for two years Sandy can finish at the University" ensured that Smith will not be in his classes, Snook said.

Smith said there is a possibility he will sue the University.

"I screwed up, but what I did doesn't warrant" two semesters suspension, so there may be a possibility of a lawsuit, he said.

"If [suing is] the only way I can get justice--and by justice I don't mean I don't deserve to be punished--I just want the punishment to fit the crime," he said. "I still believe in the system a little bit."