And yet…

Quinnipiac has been home to a rash of intolerance and hate crimes recently. I extend sympathy and support to the victims of these terrible events, and I join with other QU students in hoping that they will rise above the ignorance of racist numbnuts and continue to make Quinnipiac their home and their University if at all possible given the hatred they’ve been exposed to.

I’m more than a little concerned with President Lahey’s actions in response to this crisis once again. As reported in the online version of the “official” QU school newspaper, the Chronicle, the police have made arrests of suspects, and the university has already dismissed at least one of those students… even though formal guilt or innocence has yet to be determined in a court of law.

[Lahey] also defended the decision to dismiss the alleged perpetrators immediately, saying that it was irrelevant whether or not they had committed a crime.

“It may be legal to be a bigot in this country and this world, but you’re not going to be a member of this community and be a bigot,” he said.

Wait just a second

I don’t understand how someone like Lahey gets to run a university. I just don’t understand it. I can totally understand wanting to respond to the problem in a swift and decisive manner… that’s generally understood to be the hallmarks of leaders. But the problem really lies in the fact that an arrest by police does not generally constitute proof of guilt.

What if Lahey has dismissed the wrong student? What if the harassing calls merely came from the guy’s cell phone, and that they were pranks that a “friend” of the accused perpetrated? What happens then?

Essentially, Lahey has dismissed one of the university students on the suspicion of an act which might not actually be illegal under the law at all. And the student so dismissed might not have actually made the harassing call. One assumes that there’s sufficient evidence present for the police to make an arrest, but whether that evidence is strong enough to actually indicate real guilt, that’s a question which remains to be sorted out by the calm, cool, and logical process of the court system. In a way that’s been designed to ensure that justice is as dispassionate as possible, to differentiate it from revenge.

Well, at least this one suspect’s day in court is tomorrow and we’ll know whether Lahey was correct or not. Still, even if Lahey’s actions turn out to be well-founded, they were made very hastily. Color me old fashioned, but I’d prefer to go to a university founded on fairness and adherence to legal codes, where students would first be “suspended from school pending official investigation”. And given the option of a disciplinary hearing in front of a student-run J-board.

I was going to say that you would think a University with a Law School on campus would be a bit better versed on finer points of the law and the due process of justice which protects us all from abuse, but given the track record that Lahey has when it comes to handling Freedom of Press issues when the University has a Journalism school, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

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