FIRE to Hamline: Stop Stonewalling

By on November 13, 2007

Last week, FIRE wrote Hamline University again to register our continuing disappointment with President Linda Hanson’s refusal to answer our concerns about the school’s unconscionable treatment of student Troy Scheffler, who was suspended by Hamline for advocating for the right to carry concealed weapons on campus.
 
Our latest letter reiterates our grave concern about the fact that the school refuses to tell Scheffler precisely why he was suspended, a clear contradiction of established Hamline policy. We wrote:
We remain particularly troubled by Hamline’s continuing refusal to be fully forthcoming regarding the reasons for Scheffler’s suspension. The third determining factor you cite in your June 11, 2007, letter—i.e., the input of individuals who “came forward on their own prior to the April emails, expressing their concerns about Mr. Scheffler”—remains frustratingly cryptic, as you refuse to inform Scheffler of the nature of these concerns or the identity of his accusers. In addition to violating Hamline’s Dean of Students’ “Student Judicial System” policy, such a refusal mocks our society’s conceptions of judicial fairness. This stonewalling in the face of eminently reasonable requests for due process in accordance with your school’s own policies is a completely inappropriate institutional stance for a modern liberal arts university.
This is our third letter to Hamline, following up on our May and September missives, and we haven’t lost sight of precisely what is at stake here. As we concluded:

To be clear: Scheffler’s education has been interrupted due to speech entirely protected by both the Constitution and Hamline’s own policies. If he has been punished for other reasons, Hamline has an established duty to afford Scheffler the due process promised him by Hamline’s own policies.

We hope that Hamline will finally take responsibility for its illiberal actions and, at the very least, grant Scheffler the due process to which he is entitled. As we wait to hear from Hamline, Torch readers can rest assured that we’ll keep you posted.

Schools: Hamline University