Petition will not change disciplinary outcome

by Emma Demers | 11/15/16 12:47am

The online petition created by Sebastian Lim and Daniel Ro will not play a role in their disciplinary process, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence. Lim and Ro admitted to causing the Oct. 1 fire in Morton Hall in an online petition on the Care2 petition site.

In the letter, titled “Change Our Lives,” Ro and Lim apologized for their actions and asked people to sign the petition in support as the two have been expelled from the College for posing “a threat to the community at large.”

The petition has garnered approximately 1,100 signatures as of press time.

“The fire in Morton Hall was a very serious incident that endangered the lives of students, staff, and first responders,” Lawrence said in a statement, adding that federal law prevents her from confirming that Lim and Ro were expelled.

According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, “a school may not generally disclose personally identifiable information from an eligible student’s education records to a third party unless the eligible student has provided written consent.”

Comments on the petition cite various reasons for signing, including that the College had been too harsh on Lim and Ro, and that they showed strength of character by admitting their mistake.

“Daniel and I are really happy with the petition and the support it gave,” Lim said. He declined to comment further on the investigation but stated that he and Ro would thank the community for their support soon.

Morton fire victim Abigail Buckley ’19 expressed concern over the fact that the College has not released any information regarding the investigation.

After hearing about the online petition and Lim’s and Ro’s possible expulsion on Nov. 11, Buckley immediately contacted head of Safety and Security Harry Kinne for the results of the investigation, but was not given any information.

“As someone whose term has been negatively impacted academically, socially and emotionally by the fire, the least I and the rest of former Morton residents are entitled to is information,” she said.

Buckley added that until Lim and Ro or the College release a statement on the investigation, the public should refrain from casting judgment.

“I believe it is extremely premature to take a stance on an issue we really know nothing about until the results of the investigation are made public,” she said.

The four-alarm fire in Morton Hall was caused by a charcoal grill left unattended on the roof of the building, according to a press release from the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal. The hibachi-style grill was placed on a flat section of the roof outside of a dormitory window.

Morton Hall is currently uninhabitable as a result of extensive smoke and water damage caused by the fire.