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Law Student Rights at Issue at SU

November 11, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY (wrvo) - A Syracuse University law student accused of harassment says the investigation itself has turned into a punishment with no trial.

Len Audaer, a second-year law student at Syracuse University's College of Law, found out a month ago that the school is investigating him for harassment.

Audaer was informed that he could face serious charges of violating the school's honor code, after complaints from un-named students about an anonymous blog called SUCOLitis.

He was asked to meet with the faculty prosecutor assigned to the investigation, Prof. Gregory Germain, who said he could not discuss the case due to student confidentiality.

Audaer says Germain had already decided that Audaer was the blog's author.

"The first thing the faculty prosecutor said to me was that we were there to talk about my web site," says Audaer. "As I said to him then, what do you mean my web site? Why are you forming that conclusion?"

While Audaer has never claimed any connection to the blog, he also refuses to confirm or deny writing it. He says that is not an issue because he believes that no violation occurred.

"In which case I don't think I should be asked to say if I had anything to do with I, nor should anybody else," Audaer says. "I think that's the beginning of a witch hunt."

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, agrees.

Adam Kissel, FIRE's vice president of programs, says he read the entire contents of the blog and found nothing close to harassment, which he says has been very clearly defined by the United States Supreme Court.

"Simply having their names mentioned in a satirical way, in obviously fake news on a fake news blog, comes nowhere close to the level of severity and pervasiveness that's required as behavior to count as pure harassment," Kissel says...

Schools: Syracuse University Cases: Syracuse University: Disciplinary Investigations of Satirical Law School Blog