State Judge Overrules Disciplinary Action at U. of Minnesota

September 24, 2010

The University of Minnesota violated a former dental student's due process rights last year when administrators upheld his two-year suspension by a student judicial panel without considering evidence he had proffered, a state appeals court judge ruled Tuesday. The decision by a judge on the state Court of Appeals came in a case in which the university's Campus Committee on Student Behavior suspended Noah Berge after concluding that he had engaged in “[t]hreatening, harassing, or assaultive conduct" against a female student who had accused him of sexually assaulting her. Although an advisory committee to the university's provost found that the judiciary panel had violated his due process rights by barring him from preventing evidence about the impact a suspension would have on his career, the provost reinstated the panel's ruling. The provost's decision was "arbitrary and capricious," the appeals court judge said, because the university lacks guidelines for disciplinary actions by the provost, among other reasons. The judge ordered Minnesota to give Berge another hearing before a new student behavior panel.

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