Lennox could face expulsion
Topinabee junior Dennis Lennox II could face anything from a written reprimand to expulsion from Central Michigan University if it is determined he violated a university code for students.
Lennox was cited Monday, in a letter sent by Director of Student Life Tony Voisinfor three different violations of the CMU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures.
The three charges - providing false information to a university official, not complying with a university agent and violation of university regulations in regards to the distribution of printed materials - arose from an Oct. 23 incident while distributing fliers.
Lennox said all of his activities that day were legal. He also said he doesn't know why he's being cited a month after the incident.
"It's really mind-blowing to think my school keeps going after me for constitutionally protected activities," he said. "If these violations are so pressing, why did they wait 33 days?"
Lennox said he was distributing copies of The Peters Report, a newsletter from the Students Against Gary Peters organization, near discarded copies of Central Michigan Life and Unendorsed. Lennox said he noticed an unidentified man was collecting copies of the newsletter and was about to throw them away.
Lennox said when he confronted the man, the man asked Lennox for his name and Lennox asked the man for his name. Neither complied and Lennox said the man walked away.
According to CMU's Advocacy Policy, printed materials not related to class have to be distributed away from classroom buildings.
"Printed materials may not be distributed within 25 feet of any window or any classroom or office," the policy states.
According to procedures set forth in the code, Lennox has the choice to meet with Voisin or face a hearing which will take place Dec. 6. If it is determined that Lennox did violate the code, he may face 12 different sanctions, ranging from a written reprimand or a fine to expulsion from the university.
Lennox, who already has been given a reprimand for a similar violation, said he will not meet with Voisin or attend the hearing.
"It's something I'm not going to participate in," Lennox said. "We're not recognizing CMU's authority in this situation."
Lennox was found in violation earlier this month for improper distribution of fliers. He said others who violate the policy aren't punished.
"I don't hear anyone else being cited for this," he said.
Lennox claimed hearing procedure violates his constitutional rights, because he is not allowed to confront his accusers or have a legal counsel speak on his behalf.
The hearing procedures allow students to bring legal counsel, but state that students must speak for themselves.
Voisin said the student hearing procedure differs from a legal court proceeding. Courts have upheld the university's right to student hearing procedures for years, he said.
The code doesn't specify how long after the offense a complaint must be registered, Voisin said.
"Timing is important, but there's no specific (time constraints)," he said.
Voisin said most violations don't result in a hearing, but if Lennox chooses not to participate, the hearing will continue as scheduled.
"Every student that is charged has the opportunity to have an informal discussion," he said. "In most cases, the matter is handled there."