Breaking: CMU Holds Secret Expulsion Meeting, Decides Student's Fate
By RightMichigan.com Posted in ACLU | Archived | CMU | Congress | Constitution | Dennis Lennox | Gary Peters | Joe Knollenberg | MI-09 | Michigan — Comments (12) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
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.