Campus Justice: West Virginia Wesleyan Case Questions Fairness of Judiciary Boards

By Murray, Chris | Black Issues in Higher Education, June 1, 1994 | Go to article overview

Campus Justice: West Virginia Wesleyan Case Questions Fairness of Judiciary Boards


Murray, Chris, Black Issues in Higher Education


Campus Justice: West Virginia Wesleyan Case Questions Fairness of. Judiciary Boards

by Chris Murray

BUCKHANNON, WV -- West Virginia Wesleyan College seems like a million miles away from the hustle, bustle and social ills which plague the rest of America.

Nestled in the rural community of Buckhannon, this tiny coed campus surrounded by the majestic Allegheny Mountains is the essence of tranquility. But beneath this apparent serenity brews a bitter, divisive controversy involving sex, alcohol, athletes, race, charges of denial of "due process" and legal maneuverings.

In recent months, events on this campus of 1,675 students -- 100 of whom are minorities, 80 of them African Americans -- have raised questions about the fairness of campus judiciary boards when people of color are involved.

Concern at Wesleyan stems from an incident last November involving five African American male students. According to administrators, students and lawyers, this is what happened.

They were accused of sexually assaulting three white female students in a residence hall in two separate incidents and of violating the college's policies on "social responsibility" and alcohol. The five were expelled from the institution by the college's judicial board.

The accused, students from inner-city public schools who ranged from sophomores to seniors, were recruited by the private United Methodist-affiliated college. Three were on the football team. Prior to their ouster, acquaintances called them "typical college students." All five students have denied the allegations.

They did not attend the judicial hearing and were expelled in absentia. Louis Palmer, a lawyer who represented them at the hearings, said they did not receive due process because they did not have legal counsel until 20 minutes before the hearing. As a result, they did not have time to prepare an adequate defense.

The students say they were advised by several attorneys not to testify before the board until completion of any criminal prosecution, given the nature of the charges.

In December, Palmer petitioned the local court requesting dismissal of the students' expulsion. He wanted them to continue their education at the college.

That petition was denied. At the hearing, which the students attended, Randolph County Court Judge John Henning told them: "It may very well have been good advice" not to testify at the campus judicial hearings, but they were offered the opportunity and they voluntarily declined. As a result of that inaction, he said they cannot say due process was denied.

In a recent interview, Kevin Cyrus, one of the accused said: "I knew we were out of there [the campus] even before the judicial hearing." In addition to advice not to attend that hearing, he said, "Deep in my heart, I believe it wouldn't have made a difference, because this is white America."

'Wesleyan Five'

The college's judicial system is different from the federal and state court system, but the institution did meet the requirements of due process set down in the student handbook, the judge said during the injunction hearing.

Cyrus and the four others --Kevin Johnson, Stacey Williams, Craig Brown and Nkruma Byrd -- were quickly dubbed the "Wesleyan Five" in campus newspaper stories and in local media reports. Trina Dobberstein, the college's dean of student development, said that the day after the campus judiciary board's decision to dismiss, she sent students letters notifying them that they had to leave the campus that evening.

The college's student handbook requires that the decision of the hearing panel must: include a written summary of the testimony which will be sufficiently detailed to permit review in the appeal process, be accompanied by a brief written opinion, and the decision must be forwarded in writing to the student and other appropriate persons within three days after the hearing.

Students say they did not receive copies of the written opinion or a summary of testimony at the judiciary hearing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Campus Justice: West Virginia Wesleyan Case Questions Fairness of Judiciary Boards
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.