Editorial: Hearing misconduct

Student conduct hearings should not contradict the outcome of the courts.

It seems inconsistent that Temple’s own conduct hearings would punish a student for  charges that were dropped in the Philadelphia court of law.

In 2012, a 21-year-old student at Temple accused then-football player Praise Martin-Oguike of raping her in her 1940 dorm room. After criminal charges were filed, Martin-Oguike was subsequently suspended from the football team. The linebacker was later expelled from Temple entirely according to Temple’s Student Code of Conduct, legally separate from the American judiciary system.

On Oct. 7, all of the charges against Praise Martin-Oguike were dropped in the court of law. His trial lasted a single day.

Martin-Oguike now faces an uphill battle in order to rightfully rejoin his Temple classmates. He must go through a complicated reentry process, one that is not guaranteed to reinstate his standing as a student.

In court, Martin-Oguike’s case was virtually as open-and-shut as they come. Lawyer James Funt submitted text messages that he said demonstrated  that Martin-Oguike’s accuser had, in fact, fabricated claims of forcible sexual assault. The case was thrown out immediately.

Because student conduct hearings are kept entirely private, the Temple community does not know what evidence or testimony compel Temple’s own courts to expel students. Across the nation, student conduct hearings are not held to the same legal standard as state or federal courts. According to the Student Law Press Center, student conduct hearings do not require the formal gathering of evidence, proper cross-examinations or subpoenas.

No matter the evidence-gathering or fact-finding process, there is little reason that conduct hearings should be ruling in contrary to American law, especially in cases where students stand accused of felony charges.

CORRECTION: A version of this article that appeared in print incorrectly stated that Martin-Oguike was given a Student Code of Conduct trial. Martin-Oguike was not given a Code of Conduct trial before being expelled.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this article. I think this is an important issue that most students don’t think about until they are put in a position where they have no say in the procedures.

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