Archive

Report: College judicial boards work secretively | TribLIVE.com
News

Report: College judicial boards work secretively

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Colleges across the country are using disciplinary boards that operate secretively to pass judgment on students accused of violent crimes, including rape and assault, and they often impose light punishments for serious crimes that are never reported to police.

Some boards act like criminal courts even though the college administrators, students and faculty volunteers serving on them have little or no legal training, The Columbus Dispatch reported in a joint investigation with the Student Press Law Center.

Punishments for violations such as assaults, robberies and other violent crimes sometimes amount to little more than minor sanctions such as writing essays. Victims and students accused of violations have said the system is unfair and broken.

Most schools either don’t understand or refuse to follow federal and state laws that require certain records in these cases to be public.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in response to the findings that his office will conduct a review of how the state’s public universities use their student disciplinary boards and train their members.

The Dispatch and the student law center asked 110 colleges, including Ohio’s 13 public universities and two of their branch campuses, to provide disciplinary records for cases involving violent crimes.

Federal student privacy rules allow colleges to release the names of students found responsible for a crime of violence, but more than 75 percent of schools did not provide any documents even in states where open records laws require them to release such information.

The 25 colleges that provided records collectively found students responsible for a violent offense in 1,970 cases since 2010. A total of 152 students were expelled. Five students found responsible for sexual assaults were not suspended, expelled or placed on probation.

Students faced criminal charges in only seven of 158 sexual assault cases.

Some boards said they often get cases that aren’t black-and-white.

“The really complex cases, like sexual assaults, are hard,” said Andrea Goldblum, a former conduct officer for The Ohio State University and now a consultant for a national campus safety firm.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.