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UncleJoe1985
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 11:28
got into trouble for experimenting in dorm


Hi everyone. I recently got into major trouble for doing chemical experiments in my dorm and am seeking advice on defending myself. I was experimenting and improving nitric acid production using an arc furnace along with electrolytic production of chlorates and perchlorates for rocket fuel.

Actually, I was told to dismantle my equipment and safely remove all hazardous chemicals by the housing department a week before any major trouble began. I dismantled my arc furnace, but didn't remove my chemicals because I wanted to find out which were allowed and which weren't because the housing policy just said no hazardous chemicals, with a short list of flammables like lighter fluid. Unfortunately, instead of meeting with the building manager to discuss the matter, an environment health services worker came too and said they had to remove everything for safe keeping.

Luckily, everything was labeled and they had no problem identifying anything and no laws were broken. They kept asking where I got the oxidizers and nitric acid, which I said I made them, to which the EHS guy said he was very impressed. I admit I got argumentive, due to being unfairly accused of planning to harming others and argued the amounts I were using/manufacturing were small.

Here's a list of chemicals they reported (amounts are from me - I don't think they bothered with the amounts):

30% nitric acid (~250 mL in beer bottle)

5 pounds sulfur (Rubbermaid container)

~300g ammonium nitrate (Rubbermaid container)

~3 Kg KClO3 (2L soda bottle)

~2 Kg NaClO3 (2L soda bottle)

~0.5 kg aluminum powder (Rubbermaid container) along with ball mill

~0.4 kg lead nitrate formed by dissolving lead fishing weights in nitric acid

~300 mL red cabbage indicator

~1.5 kg KCL ice melt

~4 L NaCl, NaClO, NaClO3 electrolyte solution

The next day, I was told I was temporarily suspended from the university and housing. I was also visited by 3 plainclothes FBI agents, who said they were trying to determine if any explosives were made and if they had gotten out of the dorm. They were friendly at first, saying it's fun to play with explosives, but not in a dorm. They seemed convinced that I was manufacturing explosives based on my Internet history and a bottle of unused H2O2 and encouraged me to confess, which I definitely denied and said was for making Tin (IV) oxide for PbO2 anodes. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of also denying knowledge of their manufacture, which made them frustrated. Eventually, I did recall looking up on the manufacture of HTMD, which seemed to satisfy them and they left, taking a box of containers used in my experiments. Yesterday, I found out I will be able to go back on campus and finish the semester, but will be suspended for the Spring.

I know I made a serious mistake in doing my experiments in my dorm, but I didn't expect it to be this serious. The main charge is for endangering others and having unauthorized chemicals, but I think the severity is in question.

For example, I clearly stated in an apology/reflection letter that I stored all oxidizers away from any fuels, so to the best of my knowledge, nothing would spontaneously combust (the KClO3 was in the same cabinet as the sulfur, aluminum powder, and ammonium nitrate, so that's probably already contrary to how they store oxidizers in a lab. I also stated I never made any explosives.

Secondly, I asked them if the charge of harming others is based on potential harm or actual harm, and they said potential. Actual harm is not debatable, but I don't know who they listened to for deciding potential harm. I read some MSDS sheets on the chemicals I used, and their hazard ratings were a lot higher than I expected. It seems that the hazards are based on the danger to the absolute most careless person (not including children) and the worst possible case. For example, the MSDS for NaCl says it's hazardous: warning - may cause eye irritation. Honestly, who puts salt in their eyes? I wouldn't be surprised if water had a MSDS saying it might cause drowning. I'm not saying this in jest because reality is based on perception and is different for everyone.

I have the option to appeal, but haven't decided if there's reason to. Any comments or suggestions?

[Edited on 27-11-2008 by UncleJoe1985]
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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 16:43


Appeal. Don't let them win so easily. Even if the war is over, you should still make it as hard for them as possible.

I made the mistake of not doing so two years ago when I lived in the dorm as a sophomore (Im a senior now). Got busted for sneaking onto roofs at night. Even though I escaped actually being arrested, the war was over for me cause they had got the time I swiped my card to flee into another building (I was so scared I didnt get to think about how stupid that was - the exact same thing happened to my friend at MIT), but I should not have caved and taken the plea deal.... At least I managed to clean shop and get everything out of my room before they looked up the entrances recorded for the building and contacted me...

How did they know what was going on in your room btw?


[Edited on 11/26/2008 by Saerynide]




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UncleJoe1985
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 18:30


Thanks for your support. I knew pretty quickly that it was the maintenance people who came by to paint my room that saw the running arc furnace.

One thing I'm disturbed about is that the FBI seemed too friendly at first. In fact, the main guy I talked to asked where I went to high school in Northern Virginia. I said Jefferson and he replied he graduated from Lee in 1981. I don't know if this is a coincidence or if he was pretending to be friendly to get me to admit doing something illegal, which I definitely didn't to the best of my knowledge.

Like I said earlier, the most convincing reason I have to appeal are to confront any unfound beliefs for potential harm. Most of the complaints I heard seem vague. What if you mixed too much of something and it caused an accident? How would you like it if someone else did an experiment and caused an explosion? Both the building manager and the administrator who decided my case don't have a science or engineering background, so they probably just went by the book, which just says no hazardous chemicals without defining them.

I know that the official in charge of appeals has a chemical engineering degree, so I don't know if he will have more empathy or be more critical.

[Edited on 26-11-2008 by UncleJoe1985]
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 19:14


I'd definately appeal.

"Hazardous" is a pretty broad definition... I mean all chemicals can be hazardous.

In my appeal I would say that since the chemicals in your possession were not specifically defined in the dormatory, you shut down your apparatus immediately, all the chemicals were of the same hazard class, and there was no harm done to any resident that you be allowed to continue your studies for the next semester.

However, I'd be awful inclined to boot your ass out of the dorms for running a nitric acid apparatus. Sorry but the only person I want running experiments in a non-laboratory enviroment is me because I have to live with the consequences if something goes wrong.

[Edited on 26-11-2008 by evil_lurker]




Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 21:27


Well, I think it would be a good idea to check any precedent decisions similar to mine to see if the decision was fair. I haven't asked about any similar cases and don't know if they'll be willing to tell me. I at first thought my case was unprecedented, but the official suggested the decision is similar to a previous case, but I doubt it because the charge of having unauthorized chemicals in the student code is classified under the more general category of weapons charges.

Do you all know of any similar cases and outcomes?
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 22:00


It's bullshit to have a list and bust you for stuff not on it. They will say, "comeon, you know these things are hazardous don't you? Go check the cleaning closet and see if they have MSD sheets for all their shit and if not go on the offensive. If they do, use the ingredients of those products as examples of things not proscribed that are clearly "hazardous." But, how in the hell did the FBI get involved? Is this another school panic attack? What school is this anyway? I've heard some rediculous stuff this year.



"When you let the dumbasses vote you end up with populism followed by autocracy and getting back is a bitch." Plato (sort of)
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UncleJoe1985
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[*] posted on 26-11-2008 at 23:15


Well, the housing rule has a clause saying it's not inclusive, which was the reason I hesitated to remove them:

F. Possessing of chemicals or substances which
are potentially dangerous or highly
flammable, including but not limited to
gasoline, propane, lighter fluid, torches, etc.

Since my main charge was classified as weapons related, here are the relevant rules from the housing department, which I didn't think applied to me at the time:

XV. Weapons
Georgia Tech and Housing regulations prohibit:
B. Possession in the residential areas (this
includes the residence halls and surrounding
areas such as sidewalks, parking garages,
etc.) of any object designed to inflict injury.
Included in this category (but not limited to)
are firearms, explosives, fireworks,
incendiary devices, bows and cross bows,
arrows, and bolts, pellet guns, B.B. guns,
blow guns, stun guns, swords or other sharp
blades, nunchucks, throwing stars, spear
guns, tear gas, explosive chemicals, switch
blades, paint ball guns, and ammunition
associated with weapons.

Separate from housing policy, here's what the student code prohibits, which also, I didn't think applied to me, given my caution:

d. Unauthorized possession of fireworks, firearms, and /or ammunition.
e. Unauthorized possession of Weapons and /or dangerous materials or chemicals.
f. Unauthorized sale, possession, furnishing, or use of any bomb or explosive or incendiary device.

I'm a M.S. in computer science at Georgia Tech, so these experiments were just a hobby, though I was pretty serious about it. I actually used a computer fluid simulation (OpenFOAM) to see if I could improve the efficiency of the arc furnace.

As I said earlier, I think the main reason the FBI got involved was because some of the materials I had could be used for explosives. Plus, they really thought I was dangerous because the day before, I was being argumentative even to the police when the EHS guy came and made me take a psychiatric evaluation at midnight. Luckily, there were no evacuations and I just ended up staying with a friend. The FBI agent said he went through my internet history (the university logs all URLs accessed for all private computers - maybe other things as well) before they came. They became more suspicious when they found:

1. A bottle of H2O2, which could be used for peroxide explosives, which they implied I had looked at its manufacture on the Internet.

2. Grinding media used for aluminum powder, which I heard someone mutter they thought it was ammunition.

3. A threaded pipe and end cap which implied a pipe bomb, but I was only using the end cap as a vessel for electrolyzing NaOH for sodium metal.

4. Styrofoam blocks - what are you using these for? napalm? No, just for propping up things off the ground.

5. partially assembled 3 stage coil gun and a bunch of capacitors that I haven't touched for years - I said it's an electromagnetic projectile launcher to not let them think it was a firearm.

The lead agent really didn't believe my explanations. He just kept saying, you want us to believe you're making rocket engines when you haven't yet made a single one? He probably had reason to be suspicious because I am very interested in military matters - history, battles, weapons systems, strategy and probably visited some suspicious web sites.
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[*] posted on 27-11-2008 at 07:55


Deja vu! They are treating you very similar to the way the police treated me when they ransacked my apartment. The bad thing about my case is that I only had a few pieces of glassware (the rest was in storage) and 2-3 chemicals. They STILL flipped out. They even tried to say I was making bombs because they found mercury switches and various electronic items (resistors, capacitors, diodes etc...) in a toolbox.

Anyway, I've already told that story here several times so... good luck with everything. I do think it was a little irresponsible to do some of those things in a dorm, however, I don't think you should be punished for any of it since you were cooperative. In fact, anything taken from you should be given back immediately. Those bastards...

P.S. One thing that is so... annoying is the way they think. For example, if they find white powder on the ground along with chemistry equipment it must be drugs. Black powder? Black powder for bombs! Mercury switches? For a bomb that blows up when it is moved slightly... but wait, wouldn't that be particularly dangerous to the person that sets up the bomb? And even if it is set up on site isn't that a fickle way to set off a bomb?

Okay, done ranting.

[Edited on 11-27-2008 by MagicJigPipe]




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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 27-11-2008 at 12:49


Don't be fooled by them being nice and making small talk. And NEVER EVER consider/believe in their promises (ex: "Come' on you can tell me, I'll put in a good word for you...")

Remember they are COPS/AGENTS - don't ever give one the benefit of the doubt, and this goes to everyone, even if you're a good law abiding citizen. Remember that conflicts of interest exist... Money is directly proportional to the number of busts.

If they ask you something that might incriminate you, just don't asnwer. You don't have to. (for example, "Did you know sulfur is used to make bombs?" "But I was just using it for..." << The "But" implies, "yes, but I..") DO NOT fall for the thought thinking "If I don't cooperate, they'll be harsher on me cause I'm not even being honest..."

Forget that. Because if you do, you'd just making the job easier for them by giving them what they want. Either way they will punish you just the same. "Not being honest/cooperative" won't add to sentence.

I made that mistake when they led me to a room and questioned me...

[Edited on 11/27/2008 by Saerynide]

[Edited on 11/27/2008 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 28-11-2008 at 07:38


Been there done that with the whole interrogation thing myself a long time ago.

These people are highly trained in psycology and interrogation techniques and will do whatever it is they can to make you talk... good cop, bad cop, be your friend, threaten you... I don't care how good you think you are at bullshitting them they will find the chink in your armor and make you crack.

Best thing to do is if they want to question you is tell them, "Listen, I know how ya'll law enforcement types work. You will do anything to get me to say somthing that will result in me incriminating myself. I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have provided I have an attorney present. Until that time I am respecfully reserving my right to remain silent."

Then you shut the hell up till your attorney gets there.




Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.
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[*] posted on 28-11-2008 at 10:58


Quote:
Originally posted by evil_lurker
These people are highly trained


I think you give them a little too much credit!

Quote:
Then you shut the hell up till your attorney gets there.


I've always wondered, if you don't have an attorney will the public defender come? I don't know because I just answered their questions without asking for an attorney. I actually think that it helped me more than hurt me. I truly think to this day that if I hadn't cooperated they would've charged me with something. Maybe I'm just being naive but... I don't know.




"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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[*] posted on 28-11-2008 at 13:16


They will book you in and you will not see your public defender till trial, they will drag out your court date to get you just to sign whatever the DA gives you. You will be so tired of seeing the same thing after months. Unless you get out on bail then they will you give you a public defender that will be representing himself for better interest to get a position as a assistant DA. Hire a lawyer. Or just answer their questions if their nothing to incriminate you.



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[*] posted on 28-11-2008 at 21:28


Quote:
Originally posted by UncleJoe1985
Hi everyone. I recently got into major trouble for doing chemical experiments in my dorm and am seeking advice on defending myself. I was experimenting and improving nitric acid production using an arc furnace along with electrolytic production of chlorates and perchlorates for rocket fuel.

Actually, I was told to dismantle my equipment and safely remove all hazardous chemicals by the housing department a week before any major trouble began. I dismantled my arc furnace, but didn't remove my chemicals because I wanted to find out which were allowed and which weren't because the housing policy just said no hazardous chemicals, with a short list of flammables like lighter fluid. Unfortunately, instead of meeting with the building manager to discuss the matter, an environment health services worker came too and said they had to remove everything for safe keeping.

Luckily, everything was labeled and they had no problem identifying anything and no laws were broken. They kept asking where I got the oxidizers and nitric acid, which I said I made them, to which the EHS guy said he was very impressed. I admit I got argumentive, due to being unfairly accused of planning to harming others and argued the amounts I were using/manufacturing were small.

Here's a list of chemicals they reported (amounts are from me - I don't think they bothered with the amounts):

30% nitric acid (~250 mL in beer bottle)

5 pounds sulfur (Rubbermaid container)

~300g ammonium nitrate (Rubbermaid container)

~3 Kg KClO3 (2L soda bottle)

~2 Kg NaClO3 (2L soda bottle)

~0.5 kg aluminum powder (Rubbermaid container) along with ball mill

~0.4 kg lead nitrate formed by dissolving lead fishing weights in nitric acid

~300 mL red cabbage indicator

~1.5 kg KCL ice melt

~4 L NaCl, NaClO, NaClO3 electrolyte solution

The next day, I was told I was temporarily suspended from the university and housing. I was also visited by 3 plainclothes FBI agents, who said they were trying to determine if any explosives were made and if they had gotten out of the dorm. They were friendly at first, saying it's fun to play with explosives, but not in a dorm. They seemed convinced that I was manufacturing explosives based on my Internet history and a bottle of unused H2O2 and encouraged me to confess, which I definitely denied and said was for making Tin (IV) oxide for PbO2 anodes. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of also denying knowledge of their manufacture, which made them frustrated. Eventually, I did recall looking up on the manufacture of HTMD, which seemed to satisfy them and they left, taking a box of containers used in my experiments. Yesterday, I found out I will be able to go back on campus and finish the semester, but will be suspended for the Spring.

I know I made a serious mistake in doing my experiments in my dorm, but I didn't expect it to be this serious. The main charge is for endangering others and having unauthorized chemicals, but I think the severity is in question.

For example, I clearly stated in an apology/reflection letter that I stored all oxidizers away from any fuels, so to the best of my knowledge, nothing would spontaneously combust (the KClO3 was in the same cabinet as the sulfur, aluminum powder, and ammonium nitrate, so that's probably already contrary to how they store oxidizers in a lab. I also stated I never made any explosives.

Secondly, I asked them if the charge of harming others is based on potential harm or actual harm, and they said potential. Actual harm is not debatable, but I don't know who they listened to for deciding potential harm. I read some MSDS sheets on the chemicals I used, and their hazard ratings were a lot higher than I expected. It seems that the hazards are based on the danger to the absolute most careless person (not including children) and the worst possible case. For example, the MSDS for NaCl says it's hazardous: warning - may cause eye irritation. Honestly, who puts salt in their eyes? I wouldn't be surprised if water had a MSDS saying it might cause drowning. I'm not saying this in jest because reality is based on perception and is different for everyone.

I have the option to appeal, but haven't decided if there's reason to. Any comments or suggestions?

[Edited on 27-11-2008 by UncleJoe1985]


You should appeal - you never intended to harm anyone. Now, take your left hand and place it into a fist. Take your fist and gently wack yourself in the forward and say:

"What the fuck was I thinking?, What the fuck was I thinking?"

Doing experiments in a public location (dorm) is asking for trouble.

Joe
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UncleJoe1985
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 09:56


Great, thanks for the tips. However, I still have to think of a convincing way to appeal. I feel they still have a bad opinion of me, so I need to appeal very convincingly and not show any arrogance. I first need to determine which charges to contest and how:

1. harming others - I guess I will have to focus on debunking any mythical dangers (e.g. spontaneous explosion). I need some help here since I tried telling them earlier, but didn't seem to work. It feels strange that the burden of proof is up to me instead of them. Given my description of my chemicals and their storage what do you think the worst situations could be?

2. unauthorized possession of weapons or dangerous chemicals - I think the main issue is that they didn't define which chemicals are hazardous, unless the definition is in state law. Therefore, I could first try to question their authority in defining hazardous chemicals, which I didn't have reason to believe in the beginning. I doubt I can do much about this, but I think this is less important than #1.

3. malicious destruction of university property - They saw paint peeling off the wall under the window ledge and a hole in the window screen, but that was just due to an accidental electrolyte spill, so I will try to convince them it wasn't malicious.

4. not obeying a university official for removing hazardous chemicals - I guess I will have to use the same defense as in #2, which would change the definition of hazardous.

[Edited on 29-11-2008 by UncleJoe1985]
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 11:27


I'll be blunt. You need to apologize, not defend yourself.

The main concern that an administrator is going to have is what kind of problem are you likely to be for them in the future. If you defend yourself, you are saying, essentially, "I'll do it again." And while that's rather simplistic, any variation contains that central element. If so, that makes you a problem. They don't want problems. They have cause to eliminate the problem, so they will.

If you apologize, you are saying "I won't do it again." If you want them to believe you, back up your claim with some kind of proactive step to eliminate their risk. Since it's unlikely that you'll give up chemistry, demonstrate exactly how you're going to do your chemistry elsewhere. Arrange for new lab facilities that are legitimate. You might seek sponsorship from a university department. You might rent commercial real estate. There are plenty of other kinds of arrangements. Find one.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 11:37


I did send an apology/clarification letter to both the office and housing and I explicitly said I won't do any thing dangerous again. I thought that would improve my situation, but I think the decision they made is unfair.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 12:20


Actually the original poster needs to do a little of both. Since I am an armchair attorney on the side, I would say something like:

1. Petitioner has no proof that any individual was harmed from the activities of the respondant. There were no reports made by residents requring medical treatment nor did the university conduct an environmental hygiene study of the premisis to determine if any unsafe conditions were created by the respondant.

2. Respondant admits to having chemicals that were later deemed to be dangerous by the university. It was Respondant's belief however that due to the fact that the chemicals were not specifically defined in the housing regulations that possssion of said chemicals was acceptable.

3. Petitioner's claim of malicious destruction of university property is without merit. There is no evidence of malice on behalf of the Respondant nor is there any evidence by the Petitioner that Respondant's activities caused the damage in question.

4. Respondant admits to the allegation of failing to obey a university official directive for removing chemicals deemed hazardous. Respondant was having a difficult time of properly disposing of the chemicals due to concerns about compliance with environmental pollution laws. It was Respondant's belief that said chemicals were best stored in sealed containers until such time that they could be disposed of properly. Respondant purports again that at no time were any resident in any danger by the activities of the respondant.




Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 12:23


Quote:
Originally posted by UncleJoe1985
I did send an apology/clarification letter to both the office and housing and I explicitly said I won't do any thing dangerous again. I thought that would improve my situation, but I think the decision they made is unfair.


Here is the deal with apologies... an apology is also an admission of guilt.

Once you have made an admission then you are at the mercy of the governing authority.

It has been my experience that they generally don't care if your sorry, only if there were mitigating factors that justified your actions.

Many a murderer has been sorry for killing someone but I have never seen a case where it has gotten them less time.

On the other hand, I have seen cases where mitigating circumstances have gotten folks off a "murder one" charge resulting in a "manslaughter" conviction.

[Edited on 29-11-2008 by evil_lurker]




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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 13:03


Uncle Joe you may not be seeing the big picture here. You are a student at Georgia Tech, one of the US's elite technical universities. I don't think that this is the time to take on a big battle that might embarass the administration. Your goal should be to minimize the damage to your reputation and preserve your right to continue at this prestigous university.

I know that this sounds like just caving into bureaucratic injustice. But that education and diploma is just too important, in the long run.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 13:24


Quote:
Originally posted by UncleJoe1985
I did send an apology/clarification letter to both the office and housing and I explicitly said I won't do any thing dangerous again. I thought that would improve my situation, but I think the decision they made is unfair.
An apology is a material strategy for the success of an appeal. Not all statements of apology, however, are created equal. (By "material strategy", I am making a distinction with a "rhetorical strategy", which is how you present your case.)

Saying that you won't do something again is different than saying the same thing and also doing something to ensure that it doesn't happen again. What actions have you taken to back up your words? I'm talking about actions in the material world and not about various speech acts (written or spoken) to influence others in your favor. If you've done nothing, an appeal might appear to be the whinging of privileged child who doesn't have a strong sense of right and wrong. If you've done something, it can appear to be part of a sincere and diligent effort to correct a youthful indiscretion.

I should point out that university discipline is rather quite different from crime. Your institution is not subjecting you to jail time, for example. Taking a lawyerly approach to avoid that kind of state violence that is a reaction to crime is fundamentally missing the point of what's happening inside the university.

As to how to deal with cops in various forms, I second all the advice given here, which can be quickly summarized by the phrase "shut up".
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UncleJoe1985
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 19:08


Quote:
Taking a lawyerly approach to avoid that kind of state violence that is a reaction to crime is fundamentally missing the point of what's happening inside the university


That's the feeling I had from the beginning, despite other people telling me to defend myself. In my letter, I said I would try to address any worries my roommates have about what I did and accept any additional responsibilities to clean up - kind of hollow, but I haven't gotten the opportunity yet. I don't see why I should try harder to convince them I won't do any more chemistry in the dorms - they would expect it based on what I had to go through.

I don't know what else I can try - maybe a letter from my faculty adviser or someone else as a character witness.
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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 29-11-2008 at 20:33


Quote:
Originally posted by Magpie
I don't think that this is the time to take on a big battle that might embarass the administration. Your goal should be to minimize the damage to your reputation and preserve your right to continue at this prestigous university.

I know that this sounds like just caving into bureaucratic injustice. But that education and diploma is just too important, in the long run.


I totally agree with Magpie here. Though I did say do not cave in, I should have made it more clear. Do not cave in to the cops/agents. The university cops are not the administration, and thus they do not and will not try to understand (as in, they don't care to differentiate between you being an bright young and interested student and a terrorist).

As for the administration, do everything to save ass. Beg and grovel and be ready to lose all face to save that diploma. I was really, and I mean REALLY, afraid of being expelled... The judicial administrator in charge of the hearing was super religious and asked me a lot of stupid questions and I really wanted to defend myself by correcting her logical fallacies. However, I refrained and kept my mouth shut when I was pissed and said sorry when ever I could...

In my letter, I wrote about my stupidity to explore buildings and how it was immoral for me to know how to open doors, because of if everyone knew how to open doors, then we would lose all security, like murderers could go into dorms and shoot students. That totally doesnt make any logical sense, but it didnt have to, because this was the kind of logic she used on me (she literally told me I was an immoral person because I learned how to open doors by practicing on my own locks). Because I know this is whats "right" to her, I just swallowed it all and regurgitated it on the letter so she would hear what she wanted to hear... I guess it worked cause she said it was apparent I learned my lesson from my letter. lol.

Luckily, I wasnt expelled or suspended, but they did make me do community service (I went on to becoming the club president as a result of my service, so "in her face" is all I have to say to her :D) - of course, I didn't actually say it to her :P

Anyway, so for the cops/agents, do not give in. For the administration, be prepared to go as low as you can in terms of self degradation - anything to tell them you are sorry. Remember they are two completely separate parties and because you deal with the cops separately from the admin, you can flipflop your attitude, as long as you keep the story constant.

Good luck!


[Edited on 11/30/2008 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 30-11-2008 at 06:24


Quote:

Luckily, I wasnt expelled or suspended, but they did make me do community service (I went on to becoming the club president as a result of my service, so "in her face" is all I have to say to her... )


The thing is to realize with officials and bureaucrat is that even if you are smarter than they are, and most posters at this forum are, you don't want to demonstrate this fact. Stupifying obedience is the best way to deal with them so you wll enjoy another day to undermine their authority or even thwart it.




In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
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zed
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[*] posted on 1-12-2008 at 05:29


You got yourself in a little jam. Since you have no power over school administrators, you aren't in a very good position to negotiate.

Don't want to be suspended? Hire a lawyer to negotiate for you.

Now, you don't want to start a war; if you do, you probably won't win.

However, a few skillfully crafted letters from a clever lawyer, might soften the administration's attitude toward you. Even better, would be a mind-clouding personal conference with your lawyer present.

Why, for a mere 5 thousand dollars or so, you can probably quiet this thing down.
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[*] posted on 2-12-2008 at 14:53


Quote:

If you apologize, you are saying "I won't do it again." If you want them to believe you, back up your claim with some kind of proactive step to eliminate their risk


At first I didn't think that was important, but it seems it's worse now. I had a chat with someone to see if I can move back into housing and he said definitely not this semester. His reason was he said he doesn't know what exactly I was doing and thinks I would do something dangerous again. I told him I was manufacturing oxidizers, but I think he thinks I'm doing something more sinister because doesn't understand why I'm manufacturing my own when I could buy it for $8 / pound. I didn't make it clear that it's cheaper for large amounts - ~ $0.7 / kg.

Given all the recent university crises, I think I'm being unfairly treated just for the sake of showing that the administrators took this seriously. I've already apologized, but still don't think they've changed their attitude about me.
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