• Stanford University: Biased Sexual Misconduct Procedures and Unjust Guilty Finding

    June 20, 2011
    Category: Due Process

    In 2011, a male student at Stanford University was found guilty of sexual assault and suspended for two years after Stanford determined that his accuser had been intoxicated during a sexual encounter, violating Stanford’s sexual assault policy which states that one cannot consent to sex if “intoxicated” to any degree. After the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter mandating that federally funded universities try students under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, Stanford lowered its evidentiary standard to this level from its prior threshold of “beyond a reasonable doubt” in […]

    » Read More

  • Saint Augustine’s College: Student Prohibited from Walking at Graduation Due to Facebook Post

    May 18, 2011
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    Saint Augustine’s College (SAC) in Raleigh, North Carolina, refused to allow a student to participate in its graduation ceremonies due to a comment he posted on Facebook about how the college was handling its recovery from tornado damage. Despite SAC’s extensive promises of freedom of expression for students, the college disciplined student Roman Caple because of what it called a “negative social media exchange.” On July 8, 2011, Caple filed a lawsuit against SAC and its president, Dianne Boardley Suber, in North Carolina Superior Court, seeking damages for SAC’s violation of its promises of free expression. Caple is represented by attorney Brandon […]

    » Read More

  • U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights April 4, 2011, Guidance Letter Reduces Due Process Protections

    April 4, 2011
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    In April 2011, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) established new mandates requiring colleges and universities receiving federal funding to dramatically reduce students’ due process rights. Under the new regulations, announced in a letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali, colleges and universities must employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standard—a 50.01%, “more likely than not” evidentiary burden—when adjudicating student complaints concerning sexual harassment or sexual violence. The regulations further require that if a university judicial process allows the accused student to appeal a verdict, it must allow the accusing student the right […]

    » Read More

  • Widener University: Law School Threatens Professor’s Academic Freedom

    March 22, 2011
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    In December 2010, tenured law professor Lawrence J. Connell was banned from campus and charged with numerous violations of the university’s Faculty Member Discrimination and Harassment Code, including using the term “black folks” and using hypothetical classroom scenarios (a common practice in law schools) involving law school dean Linda Ammons. In March 2011, after a faculty panel recommended that dismissal proceedings against Connell be dropped, Ammons allegedly induced two law students to refile harassment charges against Connell, and added a new charge of “retaliation” for defending himself and explaining his situation to his students. A second panel cleared Connell of […]

    » Read More

  • Syracuse University: Disciplinary Investigations of Satirical Law School Blog

    October 25, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL) student Len Audaer was told on October 18, 2010, that he was being investigated for harassment for his alleged involvement with the anonymous, satirical blog SUCOLitis about life in law school, which was meant to emulate The Onion. The blog included a disclaimer stating, “No actual news stories appear on the site.” “Independent prosecutor” and SUCOL professor Gregory Germain had threatened Audaer with expulsion, without ever revealing what expression in particular justified the charges or even who was charging him. Just days after FIRE named Syracuse in The Huffington Post as one of the […]

    » Read More

  • Clemson University: Student Charged with Harassment and Disorderly Conduct for Single Email

    May 24, 2010
    Category: Due Process

    Clemson student William Kirwan was charged with “Disorderly Conduct,” “Harassment,” “Failure to Comply with Official Request,” and “Computer Misuse” after he told Clemson administrator Laura McMaster via email that “I’m not going to let you bully the organization into doing the things you want us to do or perceive as important” with regard to his group’s choice not to participate in a student organization fair, and joked that she was “smoking crack.” FIRE wrote Clemson president James F. Barker on May 24, 2010, to remind him that Kirwan’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. Clemson dropped all charges against […]

    » Read More

  • University of Idaho: Student Charged With Discrimination and Harassment for ‘Offensive’ Speech

    May 5, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    On April 5, 2010, University of Idaho student Alex Rowson was charged with “discrimination” for saying that “illegal immigration destroyed my home state of California” when he interrupted a break in a musical concert celebrating César Chávez Day. In an unrelated incident, he was charged on April 23, 2010, with “harassing” other students by shouting that “liberalism is destroying America” during a “Take Back the Night” march. After FIRE wrote President Duane Nellis and demonstrated why the charges of “discrimination” and “harassment” were unfounded, the university eventually dropped all charges against Rowson relating to discrimination and harassment.

    » Read More

  • Hinds Community College: Student Barred from Class

    April 27, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    On March 29, 2010, Hinds Community College (HCC) student Isaac Rosenbloom complained to a fellow student following class that his grade in the course was “going to f— up my entire GPA.” After overhearing this comment, Rosenbloom’s professor, Barbara Pyle, threatened him with “detention” and submitted a disciplinary complaint against Rosenbloom. HCC found Rosenbloom guilty of “flagrant disrespect” and issued him twelve “demerits,” just three short of suspension, and involuntarily withdrew him from Pyle’s course, causing him to lose his financial aid eligibility. After HCC failed to respond to FIRE’s initial letter, FIRE obtained the assistance of attorneys Robert B. […]

    » Read More