Friday, October 28, 2011

Caleb Warner won't return to UND even after getting expulsion reversed

The story is found here.

Can you blame him for not wanting to go back to that place? Would you return to UND?  I wouldn't.

Caleb and a still-unnamed classmate had consensual sex. She lodged a complaint, and a student relations committee ruled in February 2010 that he violated four sections of UND's code of student life, including “violation of criminal or civil laws.

Caleb was banned from campus for three years.

Caleb asked for a rehearing based on new information; specifically, the fact that she was charged with a crime, not him. The fact that he was the real victim here, not her. (One of the reasons Mr. Warner was expelled was because he supposedly violated criminal or civil laws. But it turns out that the law enforcement agency charged with actually determining if a crime should be charged determined that it was the accuser, not the accused, who violated criminal laws.)

In a letter to Mr. Warner, Robert Boyd, UND's vice president of student and outreach services at the time, rejected the request and based it on a section that requires appeals to be filed within five days of any sanction.

Finally, this month, North Dakota’s provost, Paul A. LeBel, wrote in a formal ruling that although the presumption of innocence applies to the accuser, who will not be extradited for the case to proceed, the arrest warrant reflects the “professional judgment of a trained law-enforcement officer that there was probable cause to doubt” the accusation. The sanctions against Caleb were lifted.

It was a very belated, but correct, decision.  But it can't undo the harm.

Caleb's life has been scarred forever.

His accuser's identity is still inexplicably protected by the news media. She has been charged with a crime; he hasn't.

In UND's sexual assault protocols, it proudly declares: "UND attempts to foster a safe learning and living environment on-campus for all members of the campus community."

Based on UND's shameful handling of this case, I think what they mean is "all members of the campus community who don't have a penis."  Let's be honest.