Breaking: CMU Holds Secret Expulsion Meeting, Decides Student's Fate

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Cross-posted on Right Michigan at

Though an end to the Gary Peters Congress or Campus battle remains elusive it looks this morning as if this particular chapter in the Dennis Lennox saga is drawing to a troubling close.  At least as far as Central Michigan University is concerned.

Below you will find documents obtained by Right Michigan indicating that a top secret, back room closed-door disciplinary hearing was held while students were away on spring break.  Though Lennox was convicted of a variety of offenses he was not given the chance to present a defense or to even answer the charges against him.  Heck, he didn't even know the hearing had taken place, where it was or who attended.

Some have claimed the hearing violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act.  It was only last week that the last hearing was cancelled when the school refused to let Lennox videotape the proceedings claiming the student handbook forbid it.  A review by a local television station found that no such rule existed anywhere in the handbook.  The American Civil Liberties Union (typically no friend to conservatives) has blasted the school for their violation of the student's first amendment rights and the mainstream media has called the school out for ignoring the Constitution.  

The documents below indicate that the student was found "guilty" of three specific offenses and has been issued a formal letter of reprimand.  The bright side is he has not been expelled, though he hardly got off scot-free.  Not only will this letter follow him for the rest of his academic career and potentially affect any applications to law school or graduate school but the entire process has undoubtedly taken a toll this and last semester.  That's before you factor in the immeasurable damage to free speech inflicted by CMU.

You'll remember this all started when Lennox, a student at CMU, began aggressively asking former State Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters to chose between his $3,000 an hour teaching job in Mt. Pleasant or his run for the United States Congress hundreds of miles away in metro Detroit.  Peters himself stated recently on "Off the Record":

"I certainly think from an ethical standpoint you should not be a public official, you should step down once you file with the FEC that you are a candidate for Congress. You should not be an employee of the state of Michigan. I feel pretty strongly about that from an ethical standpoint."

No sooner did Lennox begin asking questions than the school began a campaign to silence him.  He was harassed, had his first amendment rights stripped (don't believe me?  Ask the ACLU!) and ultimately charged.  Chet Zarko has a top-notch work-up on the specific charges HERE.

The entire sham process leading up to this closed-door, back room meeting has been full of ethical and practical missteps by the University.  They waited until the ACLU threatened them with legal action in November, thirty-four days after an alleged offense occurred to even charge Lennox (if his violations were egregious enough to go down this road why wait for over a month to file formal charges).  They refused for some period of time to even tell him the charges he faced or release the evidence against him.  The actual "hearing" was delayed on four separate occasions.  It was used as a means of harassing Lennox and other students who raised legitimate questions about Gary Peters very-little time spent on campus.

CMU created an incredibly hostile learning environment and ultimately threatened a student with expulsion for simply exercising his First Amendment rights and engaging in the civic process.  

While universities have historically encouraged discourse this particular school seems bound and determined to restrict that process.  At least with conservatives.  Schools should allow young people to get involved, not punishing them with bogus student code charges for simply asking questions.

Ultimately the hearing, like the charges, would have been a joke if tossing in the Constitution in the garbage was a laughing matter. The school repeatedly refused to disclose the names of the hearing officer... the judge, jury and "executioner" and even denied a FOIA request.  They may have violated the Open Meetings Act by holding a closed-door hearing and by notifying Lennox over spring break. This has not been an open, honest and transparent process.  It's been quite the opposite.  

And Dennis Lennox isn't the one who comes out on the short end of this one.  Each and every one of us, liberal or conservative, pays the price.  Shredding the Constitution isn't a partisan issue.  It hurts us all.  The real shame of it all is that a candidate for Congress allowed his taxpayer funded employer to go this far to restrict fundamental liberties.  Probably not the kind of guy you want representing you in Washington, D.C.

Even a reprimand is a statement that the student does not have freedom of speech.

This is stunning. Universities are only open to free speech when you stand for the liberal/progressive orthodoxy. If he had been caught placing flyers, for say, attacking intelligent design in biology classrooms, does anyone think the school would have taken the same action. I think not.

Just another leftwing school full of antipathy for conservatives.

"To believe in nothing is to believe in everything. To believe in everything is to believe in nothing"

Or was it liberal respect of free speech ?
Liberal Tolerance to views different than their own ?
Fair Play ?
Antiestablishmnet leanings ?
Fighting for the little guy ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Amazing, simply amazing. I'm furious that a school funded by our tax dollars is flushing our constitutional rights down the toilet because some conservative students raised questions about a liberal politician.

Erick has wrote about what's happening extensively in the past:

I'm guessing he's a kid and like most other college students, struggling to pay for classes. Would anyone like to start a legal defense fund? We need to get this kid a lawyer. His rights have been violated enough by the school.

Not in my nature to be nice to Central Michigan students (kinda like asking an Ohio State student to be nice to people from the University of Michigan), but the guy could use our support.

"No matter how much lipstick you put on the taxation pig, it's still a pig... and it's currently snout-down in your wallet." - Michael Fisk

this whole fiasco has been going on since last April, however this story his spun into a confrontation between Lennox and the admin since last October. This disciplinary hearing has been scheduled and postponed multiple times, and each time, Lennox has had to whip up media pressure. Everytime he did, he lost momentum for the next time. The last time he actually brought several media folks with him, only to have the hearing postponed again. The last time the hearing was held in secret so that he couldn't even defend himself.

In other words, the admin has used their power in a liberal manner specifically to make it nearly impossible for Lennox to be able to continue to keep the pressure on. Furthermore, they have, by accident or design, moved the story away from Peters and onto their confrontation with Lennox. Thus, Peters is protected from media scrutiny.

If folks want to help Lennox, then we need to all email call and write the admin and we need to do it and not stop. The admin is counting on media pressure to die down. That's what happened. Media pressure died down and then they held their disciplinary hearing. That created a new round of media pressure but if it dies down it will all be for naught.

Here is a list of the admin involved...

CMU President Michael Rao, mailto:president@cmich.eduand (989) 774-3131* Assistant Dean of Students Anthony Voisin and (989) 774-3016 * Board of Trustees Chairman Jeffrey Caponigro (R), and (248) 355-3200* Board of Trustees member Stephanie Comai (R), and (734) 761-6915* Board of Trustees member John Kulhavi (R), and (248) 737-6222* Board of Trustees member Gail Torreano (R), and (313) 223-7171

If everyone that comments also writes a quick email and we continue an email campaign we will hold them accountable. If, on the other hand, we get excited about this story for a couple of days and then forget about it, then that is exactly what the admin expects us to do.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor

The Provocateur

AP wrote another story about this, sending it over the national wire

Mich. School Reprimands Critical Student

7 hours ago

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — A Central Michigan University student who used a video camera and a Web site to criticize an assistant professor running for Congress was issued a letter of reprimand.

Dennis Lennox, a 23-year-old junior, said Wednesday he would appeal the finding that he violated school code.

A conduct proceedings officer ruled that Lennox provided false information to a university official, identified himself as Dick Cheney to a professor and improperly posted fliers on hallway benches.

Lennox said he wasn't able to defend himself because a secret disciplinary hearing was held during spring break. There was an initial hearing last week, but Lennox and the school clashed over whether he could videotape it.

The hearing officer wrote that Lennox refused to participate in the hearing when he wouldn't stop videotaping it.

Lennox has followed Gary Peters around campus with a video camera to pressure Peters to choose between his three-year teaching post and a congressional run. Peters, a former lottery commissioner, is seeking the Democratic nod to face Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg in Oakland County in suburban Detroit.

Central Michigan spokesman Steve Smith said he could not discuss specifics of Lennox's case because of privacy laws. Lennox had warned he could be expelled. But Smith said the purpose of the conduct code is to educate students "with punishment and sanctions as a secondary measure."

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