Student settles disciplinary lawsuit again Ohio University

OHIO -- Ohio University student Nathan Ray will return to campus this fall after settling a lawsuit in which he accused the school of violating his rights to due process during a campus disciplinary procedure.

The Department of Education is currently suing two other public universities in Ohio to prevent them from releasing campus disciplinary records to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some critics of campus courts say the secrecy in disciplinary proceedings can lead to charges that the system is unfair.

Ray was suspended in April after a campus court found him guilty of violating the student code of conduct. He was denied the opportunity to seek legal counsel during the process of appealing his suspension through the campus court.

Ray's attorney, Derek Farmer, said the language of the university's code of conduct, which prohibits students from obtaining legal advice, is unconstitutional.

Ray filed suit in April requesting a preliminary injunction to stop the school from enforcing the suspension until the court could determine the constitutionality of the system.

Instead, the day after a hearing in a Columbus district court, Ray reached a settlement with the school. Although Farmer would not release the terms of the settlement, he did say that the suspension was revoked and Ray will be enrolled in classes this fall.

"The Constitution of the United States does not stop at the door of Ohio University or any other university," Farmer said. "Students have constitutional rights that must be protected as all other American citizens' rights are protected."

Fall 2000, reports