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Student Leaders Punished for Burning Marine's Campaign Sign



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- A post-election bonfire has caused problems for five student government officers at Weber State University.

They will attend a diversity conference and perform 10 hours of community service for their connection to a sign-burning incident that appeared on Facebook.com.

During an off-campus bonfire to celebrate the end of elections April 14, several campaign signs were burned, including one with candidate Brad Wahlstrom dressed in his Marine uniform.

Jessica Sims, vice president of diversity, was pictured on Facebook saluting the sign.

The punishments were handed out this week by student government president Jake Beus and legislative vice president Chris Bentley.

"Actions bring consequences. Everyone is held accountable," Beus said.

In a statement, Beus and Bentley said they wanted to give the offenders "a chance to learn from their mistakes and proliferate that gained learning throughout this upcoming year by making wiser decisions themselves as well as strongly encouraging others to follow their example as student leaders."

Wahlstrom said the punishment was appropriate.

"I'm satisfied whenever student government holds its leaders accountable," he said.

Beus and Bentley interviewed Wahlstrom, the five students, university administrators and faculty.

"It's been a very trying situation for many people, but it has been an educational process," said Jan Winniford, Weber State's vice president of student affairs.

Meanwhile, two students accused of taking or possessing signs have been charged with misdemeanors in Ogden Justice Court.

------ Information from: Standard-Examiner.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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