Because of an editing error, a Metro story in some of yesteday's editions about the Daughters of the American Revolution neglected to state that reprimands voted for two members of the organization were suspended.
The national board of the Daughters of the American Revolution voted last night to reprimand two of its members who called for the impeachment of the organization's president general and criticized her response to a black woman's attempt to join the organization.
After the initial decision, the board voted immediately to suspend the reprimands of Faith K. Tiberio and Joyce K. Finley, both of Massachusetts.
Both Tiberio and Finley, who had faced the possibility of expulsion from the organization, were found guilty of three counts: "conduct calculated to disturb the harmony" of the DAR, "conduct injurious to the good name" of the DAR and "conduct tending to hamper the work" of the organization.
Neither woman was present at the seven-hour disciplinary hearing, which was cloaked in secrecy.
Tiberio, a Sherborn, Mass., manufacturing company vice president whose great-grandmother, grandmother and mother belonged to the DAR, said after the decision, "It's a bad state when an organization such as the DAR . . . should reprimand two of its members for using free speech in the defense of racial equality."
"I think I have done nothing wrong and I would do it again," said Tiberio, a former curator general of the DAR who joined the group in 1945 after nine years in the Children of the American Revolution.
Finley, a computer company executive from Framingham, Mass., could not be reached for comment.
DAR President General Sarah M. King, whose impeachment the two women had sought, said last night that she did not wish "to get into the rights or the wrongs" of the dispute. "Tomorrow is our 95th birthday and we regret so much that is was necessary" to hold the hearing, she said.
King said she had urged that the reprimand be suspended. The motion to suspend the reprimand passed unanimously, she said.
"If you suspend the disciplinary action, it means that they will bear no scars," King said. She said the body voted to suspend the reprimand to "[show] good will and a spirit of compassion."
King said she did not know of a reprimand being voted more recently than the 1920s and that no specific punishment accompanies a reprimand.
Seventy-three members of the DAR's board of management were present at the hearing, held at the organization's headquarters at 1776 D St. NW. DAR bylaws require a two-thirds majority for passage of such charges.
The charges against Tiberio and Finley stemmed from a news conference they held in April 1984 announcing a "grass-roots" effort to impeach King.
At the news conference, a videotape of which was shown to board members at the hearing, the women spoke out against a proposed amendment to DAR bylaws that would have required applicants for membership not only to prove a Revolutionary War connection, but to show that their descent was "legitimate."
The amendment would have had the effect of barring most blacks from membership because slaves generally were not permitted to enter into legally binding contracts -- including marriage.
The proposed amendment was eventually sent back to a DAR committee for further consideration.
Tiberio said at the news conference that the proposed bylaw change was "blatantly calculated to prevent blacks from joining the DAR."
In an affidavit submitted to the board yesterday, Tiberio, who is descended from Quakers who came to America with William Penn and were expelled from the religion for choosing to fight in the Revolutionary War, said she "would not have been true to my ancestors . . . if I had not spoken out."
At the 1984 news conference, Finley criticized as "too little, too late," King's actions in the case of Lena S. Ferguson, a District woman who was rejected for membership in the District's Mary Washington chapter. Ferguson and her two sponsors claimed that she was denied membership because she is black.
King had said at a news conference that Ferguson's race was not the reason for the rejection.
King also announced steps to bar any chapter from discriminating against applicants "on the basis of race or creed," a policy she said has long been embraced by the DAR.
Last year, Ferguson became a member of a Washington area chapter, four years after she started her battle for full DAR membership. There are currently about five blacks in the 212,000-member group, according to DAR officials.
Lawyers for Tiberio and Finley charged that the disciplinary proceedings violated the women's First Amendment rights and the D.C. Human Rights Act, which makes it illegal to retaliate against a person for opposing discriminatory conduct.
They asked the board to dismiss the charges, issue public apologies and reimburse the women for damages and legal fees.
Tiberio earlier sued King for $2.05 million, charging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and copyright infringement after King allegedly ordered six pages excised from a DAR cookbook edited by Tiberio.
The pages included her introduction to the cookbook, her photograph and her recipe for pecan pie.
The suit was settled out of court for $20,000 in March.