Due Process Comes to North Dakota as Students Given Right to an Attorney

April 22, 2015

By Greg Piper at The College Fix

The University of North Dakota may be full of tension as the administration faces a second no-confidence vote tonight, but students accused of wrongdoing in the state higher education system now have a fairer system to go through.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a bill (previously covered by The College Fix) giving students the right to pay for a lawyer at their own expense in “non-academic suspension and expulsion hearings,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says.

The overwhelming vote totals – unanimous in the House and a single dissenting vote in the Senate – should convince administrators and campus activists that such obvious tilting of the field against accused students won’t be tolerated in the real world.

The state’s bill came out of a particularly egregious case against Caleb Warner, as FIRE recounts:

In 2010, former University of North Dakota (UND) student Caleb Warner was expelled after being found guilty of sexual assault by a campus court, despite evidence of his innocence that should have been impossible to ignore. Indeed, the evidence clearing Warner was so powerful that the local district attorney filed criminal charges against his accuser for filing a false report to police.

Warner’s mother went on to found Families Advocating for Campus Equality, which agitates for due process in campus disciplinary proceedings.

Schools: University of North Dakota