I received the following information from a source familiar with the circumstances of the hearing and the general hearing process (read here for my previous post on this: https://inkslwc.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/what-ever-happened-to-the-noose-student-at-cmu/):
CMU has kicked the student out until Aug. 1, 2008. The student (a white male senior … not a black guy trying to generate sympathy for “his cause,” as some have suggested)), will take incompletes on his course work and finish them after Aug. 1. He’ll then be allowed to graduate.
At an earlier student disciplinary hearing, the panel wanted to kick him out of school permanently. He appealed that decision, and the appeals panel reduced the penalty.
As you know, the county prosecutor is still weighing whether to bring criminal charges against him. I can’t imagine that he will. Michigan’s ethnic intimidation statute requires that an act be directed at an individual, and, as far as I can see, there was no such thing here. And – unless that intimidation factor is present — it’s not a crime to be a racist or to express racist thoughts.
This really did surprise me. As I indicated in the previous post, it is VERY unlikely that he broke any laws (although what he did was in my eyes wrong – if it wasn’t racist, it was poor judgment in the least, and if it was racist, it’s morally wrong, but legally there’s nothing wrong with being racist).
It wasn’t directed against anybody, and as I pointed out, without a direction of the threat, you can’t prove that there was a threat of FORCE. For instance, (and this simplifies the situation by taking out the implications of nooses in our society), leaving a baseball bat on a desk isn’t a crime, but going into an NAACP event and yelling racist phrases is a hate crime (I know hate crime isn’t a legal term, but it’s easier than saying U.S. Federal Code, Title …).
So, if this information is true, as I expect it is, I am disappointed in CMU’s decision. Even further, I’d like to know what they charged him with, because as I said before, if it was a violent crime (which involves even the threat of violence) that they charged him with, they CAN release the information, as is stated in the Family Education Righs and Privacy Act (FERPA), and I may FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) for it (or if someone a little more legally knowledgeable would like to volunteer, it’d be greatly appreciated).
If Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick doesn’t charge him (which I doubt he will if they’ve waited this long), I think that the student should bring this to court.
Tags: African Americans, Central Michigan University, CMU, College, crime, Criminal, Disciplinary Hearing, Engineering and Technology, Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Hate Crimes, Hearing, Isabella County, Larry Burdick, Law, Laws, Lawsuit, Michigan, Mount Pleasant, Noose, Police, Prosecutor, Racism, School, Student, violence