Skip to comments.CMU bans videotaping, again, and bans student from expulsion hearing
Posted on 02/28/2008 10:24:40 AM PST by michiganguy
This is a follow-up to the ongoing controversy at Central Michigan University with conservative student Dennis Lennox, who has called on professor Gary Peters to pick between teaching students and running as a Democrat for Congress. This is unbelievable. For more, watch the local TV station's report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLGpxrfPPSc
CMU cancels Lennox hearing; bans student from future meeting By Nick Persons 02/28/2008
Dennis Lennox II's Central Michigan University disciplinary hearing will once again be rescheduled this time because of a video camera.
The CMU junior refused to turn off his camera when he entered the 1 p.m. hearing Wednesday, provoking university officials to postpone it for the third time.
The meeting was to be held in the Bovee University Center's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Lennox faces charges of distributing printed materials in violation of school policies, not identifying himself to a university official and giving false information to a university official. If convicted, Lennox could be expelled from the university.
"I didn't refuse to participate the school refused to participate in this hearing," he said. "Prohibiting (videotaping) is ridiculous."
While the hearing was private, Lennox said he had the right to videotape it because it occurred at a public university. But Director of Media Relations Steve Smith said personal recordings are not allowed in such circumstances.
"It is not a public hearing," he said. "If a student should come in with a camera they will be told to shut it off."
While Lennox will have another hearing rescheduled soon, he won't be at it. Students in Lennox's position aren't allowed to attend the subsequent disciplinary meeting, according to Smith.
"If they decide that they don't want to abide by the rules and regulations...then the hearing is adjourned at that point," Smith said. "They forgo their rights to participate in the hearing and the hearing will continue at a later date."
However, Lennox said it's his "constitutional right" to be allowed to represent himself.
"They don't have any authority to do that," he said. "I really think the school's going to find themselves in a difficult legal position."
The allegations against Lennox stem from an incident last semester, when he was lobbying against Griffin Endowed Chair Gary Peters simultaneously keeping that job and seeking election to Congress.
"I think the school needs to drop this and let me go back to being a student," Lennox said.
The meeting date has already been changed twice once at Lennox's request and again because of inclement weather.
During such conferences the university keeps its own tape recordings that can be purchased by the student. But Lennox said he had the right to use his own equipment.
"I think it's an open meeting," he said. "If I don't have a right, then they don't have a right to videotape or audiotape it."
Lennox indicated to officials that he had waived his right to privacy, but Smith said such an action requires more than a verbal request.
"Any student that would take that path of action would have to put it in writing and make it clear to the university that that's the case," he said. "Even if that was done, the hearing would still be a closed hearing."
Lennox said he was upset to hear the university's plans to block him from the next meeting. While his specific course of action is yet to be determined, he said he's "prepared to take whatever action is necessary."
"I'm hoping the school will do the right thing and let me defend myself," he said.
Here is a story on the original videotaping ban, struck down by the ACLU: http://www.themorningsun.com/stories/112807/loc_aclu.shtml
So, they can video a private hearing... but he can’t?... and he’s *in* it?...
The ballpoint pen contains the camera!
So the university has no one taking minutes, right? The meeting is "off the record". No?
It is hard to believe. He should simply record it (at least audio) and not say anything. (if he can sneak in a hidden camera, too, so much the better.)
On the other hand I do not see why the prof should give up his chair to run for congress. No one is required to give up the current employment to run for public office that I am aware.
the school tapes these things and allows people to purchase the tapes. Individuals are not allowed to tape though. That is standard procedure here.
I am from the area, and this guy is a nut. They have already wasted to much time on him IMHO.
Except there’s something called the Hatch Act, and he did sign a contract with the school for three years.
We need to help this kid. Call the school, find a lawyer ... something.
Lennox could go about 125 miles south to a more congenial atmosphere--Hillsdale College (but he may not have the money or the grade point average to go there).
He's right. It's a public university, and the proceedings are being held at taxpayer expense. I hope this kid gets a really aggressive lawyer to sue their butts off.
And you are certain that the purchased tape isn’t edited? Doesn’t have “accidentally” erased portions?
IIRC, even White House tapes of Oval Office meetings sometimes “accidentally” end up missing, edited, or erased, and we’re supposed to trust Lib academics?
I did a Google search and it looks like his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. He maintains a web site: http://petersreport.blogspot.com. Will someone step up to the plate and help this kid? I suspect he doesn’t have the cash to pay for a lawyer and that’s why he hasn’t sued yet.
Not sure where I’d stand on this one but if they expel him they better refund his $$.
The point of making your own tape is to ensure that the “official” tape is kept honest and without “redactions”. Similarly, the university tape is their record of what happened, and keeps HIM honest about not editing his version
actually he needs to go to court now before the next hearing for injuctive relief. This is a state school so they are limited in their ability to be totalitarian. (government in the open and all that)
seems the decision was already made and the refusal to “go on the record” is beyond the pale.
What if he hired a court reporter to type a verbatim transcription of all the events there? would they have banned that? Even the USSC uses transcription.
ok no camera, how about a professional court reporter?
The Hatch Act only applies to Federal employees
A stronger argument might be that, by allowing this professor to continue collecting his salary while campaigning instead of teaching, the college is effectively making an unreported campaign contribution
I’m not sure how or if the Hatch Act applies.
No it’s quite believeable. When liberals say “free speech and tolerance”, they don’t mean for those who disagree with them. :)
I would think that any employer would be justified in firing an employee who's private affairs (such as running for public office) interfere with them doing their job well.
I don't know it that is the case here or not, but I see no reason why the university should be allowed to silence this student from making a case that Peters isn't able to do both or that his job as president of the university is suffering.
If Peters can run for public office while doing his job properly, then the University should not interfere with him doing so.
However, they also have no business interfering with Lennox.
If Peters is abusing his power as president of the university to silence those that oppose him, he should be fired.
I believe it applies to state employees who are funded wholly or in part by federal monies. I am PA state employee. We have restrictions on the types of political activity which we can partipate in. There may very well be state laws or civil service rules that apply. It also may depend on his actual status in the state system.
My ex-wife, not being knowlegeable about this, lost her state job because she ran for school board. She tried to withdraw but her name was already on the printed ballot. As of election day she was canned.
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