North Dakota Guarantees College Students’ Right to Attorney During Nonacademic Disciplinary Hearings

April 29, 2015

By CS Staff at Campus Safety Magazine

Last week North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed SB 2150 into law, which will provide students enrolled in the state’s public colleges and universities the right to be represented at their expense in non-academic suspension and expulsion hearings.

The bill was approved by the House of Representatives by a unanimous 92–0 vote on April 8, and it passed the state Senate on a 44–1 vote on April 17.

North Dakota is the second state this month—and the third state overall—to provide students the right to hire legal representation when contesting serious non-academic disciplinary charges, says the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in a press release. North Carolina passed similar legislation in 2013, and earlier this month, Arkansas enacted legislation granting students at public institutions the right to the active assistance of legal counsel during the campus appeals process.

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,” claims FIRE. According to FIRE, “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.”

Schools: University of North Dakota