Wednesday, August 28, 2013

North Carolina college officials having a conniption over the law allowing students to be represented by an attorney must not want the playing field leveled in school hearings

We reported yesterday on Allie Grasgreen's inappropriate reporting about the new North Carolina law that gives presumptively innocent students the right to legal representation, at the student's expense, during campus judiciary proceedings.

Here's more about that new law.

First, Grasgreen would do well to read how this -- from a student newspaper, no less. That is good, even-handed, reporting.

Second, an interesting explanation for the law is found in the Beaufort Observer. It starts by observing the obvious: "a number of non-libertarian conservatives will be appalled" by this law.

Then it provides a cogent rationale for the new law:
I am aware of a number of instances in which university officials have operated a virtual Star Chamber in dealing with students accused of violating both university regulations and even criminal offenses on campus. This has become a growing trend in sexual harassment cases. Many of these students, without knowledgeable legal assistance, simply were railroaded by university administrators whose fulltime job it is to handle such cases. Naive students were simply no match for the omnipotent administrators. HB 75 tends to even the playing field; again, at the student's expense.
Thus, the law is intended to level the playing field for naive students who are pitted against omnipotent administrators who do this for a living.

That this is a plausible explanation is evidenced by the words of the new law: the new law does not allow attorneys in hearings "fully staffed by students to address such violations." In that case, students have far less need for an attorney because the playing field is not so uneven.

The administrators that Allie Grasgreen quoted in her article seem to not want the playing field to be leveled.