Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Innocent until proved guilty? Not at Duke.

Or probably at dozens of institutions. From ABC News, we have

Duke University officials have declined to comment specifically on the academic status of Finnerty and Seligmann, saying only that it is school policy to suspend students charged with felony. [Emphasis mine]

Typical of universities, they treat students as second class citizens. At Duke, punishment is issued solely on the basis of a charge of a crime. No guilt is necessary. At Duke, a student's academic career is less important than insuring that an innocent go unpunished. At Duke, the rule of law is suspended. Why does not Duke have a more reasonable policy such as suspension upon conviction?

I'll tell you why. It is because Duke like almost all Universities in this country, are bastions of hypocrisy. They don't have to have fairness in freedom of speech, fairness in treatment of students, or fairness in policies. In full fairness, I should expand upon this, but will do so at a later date.

Does Duke University suspend professors or staff at the accusation by the state of the commission of a felony? I suspect not!

The punishment of students by suspension is as heinous as the policy of forfeiture laws in which citizens are deprived of property upon the basis of a possible felony, before due process in court is convened.

Duke has made a pittance of the acknowledgement of wrongdoing. They've agreed to have the students return. Duke, in my eyes, owes all three
  • a HUGE sum of money
  • a written apology
  • a change in the policy of suspension without conviction
  • a front row admission to all future classes
  • and finally, permission to address the student assembly publicly upon graduation.
Let's hope Duke University can be brave enough to admit that they were wrong!

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