Two Years Later The University Of North Dakota Finally Gives Falsely Accused Student Justice

Not that you’d read about it in the North Dakota media, who are loathe to report any story overtly negative for North Dakota’s higher education system, but I’m happy to report that UND student Caleb Warner is finally back at his studies in Grand Forks.

GRAND FORKS, ND – Nearly two years have gone by since University of North Dakota student Caleb Warner was accused of rape and expelled by the school, but now he’s attending classes again in Grand Forks. Warner had been expelled by UND after another student accused him of rape, but after an investigation law enforcement officials cleared Warner of wrong doing and charged his accuser instead for making false allegations.

But despite being cleared of the charges Warner was unable to get his expulsion overturned and turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to represent his case.

“Using a shamefully low standard of evidence, the University of North Dakota branded Caleb Warner a criminal. Meanwhile, based on the very same evidence, law enforcement officials charged Warner’s accuser with lying to them and issued a warrant for her arrest,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff in a statement posted on the group’s website. “Cases like this vividly demonstrate the need for due process and fair procedure on campus, as well as a renewed recognition that fundamental rights are important for both victims and the accused.”

In July of 2010, after an arrest warrant was issued for his accuser, Warner’s attorney sent a letter to UND officials requesting to be reinstated on the university. In August of 2010 UND denied his request. FIRE got involved with the case in March of 2011, and last week UND vacated the expulsion.

“[B]ased on the specific fact of a law enforcement office filing an affadavit of belief that the complainant had provided false information to him” about the sexual assault accusation a “continued finding of a violation of the [UND Student] Code is not substantiated,” stated a ruling issued by UND Provost Paul LeBel dated October 11th.

This case was so tragic it drew national attention in publications like the Wall Street Journal, but somehow Warner’s reinstatement two weeks ago (an embarrassing admission of wrong doing for UND’s administration) didn’t warrant a single story in the Grand Forks Hearld, UND’s hometown newspaper.

Kind of telling, isn’t it?

This nightmare lasted almost two years for Warner, forcing him to delay his college education and support himself by driving a delivery truck in the mean time, and if there were any justice in the world somebody at UND would be fired for treating him this way.

But this is how it goes for North Dakota’s out-of-control, utterly unaccountable higher education system.

I’m guessing Warner probably just wants this whole chapter in his life over, but you’ve got to think that he’d have pretty good standing against UND for a lawsuit.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • ec99

    If you notice, the UND counsel is held in such low esteem, that the AG didn’t trust her with the nickname suit.  Yet she pulls down a 6-figure salary.

  • 11B40

    Greetings:

    What amazes me is why the University’s process wasn’t held in abeyance other than perhaps suspending the student until the police and prosecutors completed theirs. I mean this was a serious criminal offense whether or not on campus. If a rape was committed by a non-student, would they have expelled him ???  FIRE has lit many fires under the backsides of pompous academic administrators and it doesn’t look like it’s going to run out of targets anytime soon.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Obviously, rape accusations should be taken seriously, but the minute this kid was cleared by the cops the university should have backed off.

      Again, somebody’s head at the university should roll.  This was atrocious.  But nothing will happen, because there is no accountability in the higher education system.

      • VocalYokel

        I think our society is entirely to litigation-oriented, but I hope Mr. Warner is considering legal action against UND as I consider it to be warranted.

        At the very least he should be the recipient of a tuition waver.

      • ec99

        My bet is that if the accused were a hockey player, the complainent would have been expelled.

  • Sparks

    “But this is how it goes for North Dakota’s out-of-control, utterly unaccountable higher education system.”

    Seems like an isolated incident to me.  But it has a bow on top.  I know how you cons like to emphasize the one scintilla of a percent of all rape claims that are made falsely.  Combine that with a chance to dig the ND higher ed folks… and it has your name all over it.

    Presumably difficulty in overturning things like that has to do with the fact that there are safeguards to prevent Bob from letting Fred’s rapist son run rampant on campus because Fred greased Bob’s palm.

    Frankly, when it comes to setting potential rapists loose on campus, the ND higher ed folks might want to err on the side of safety.

    How would you feel sending your daughter there is they reinstated rapists without any due diligence?  Either way it’s a PR nightmare for NDU.

    • Opinionated

      I know a student (A)  enrolled in college right now in Bismarck who is undergoing a horror…. he and his roommate(B) had a great relationship and then there was an accident and the person who was responsible for the accident(B) was injured and was found to be negligent by the cops…. 2 weeks later the relationship is tested and the guy responsible for the earlier accident(B) tells the roommate (A) to kill himself or suck a d*ck…… (nice, huh) and student (A) responds with quit being a F*in N*gger… (wrong thing to say)  roommate (B) happens to be black and now (A) is in lots of trouble because he used the word in a racial manner because according to them that word only has one meaning and it is  not lazy, stupid, or ignorant….. does not matter what (B) said and you can not complain about (B) because that would be retaliation. so you have been determined to be guilty because (B) is a protected class like a polar bear and (A) is going to punished severely because once that word is uttered it becomes federal…. it does not matter that (B’s) comment could be considered a homosexual slur (even though they are also federally protected like a polar bear).. you said the N word and you are GOING DOWN…….. this girl said the R word and all common sense was thrown out the window…..

  • Jack Daniels

    I thought liberals refused to oust anyone without, not only a conviction, but only after the appeal upholding the conviction is complete.  If he’d been in Congress he’d still hold is committee chairmanship if he were a liberal.  Now if he were a Republican he’d have to go until he cleared himself

  • opinionated

    What is it with North Dakota and its colleges… the incompetence of the support staff is amazing.. I could tell you three stories but will not bore you with the details..while the three instances are all different they all end with someone in education being a boorish snob who will not admit they are wrong even after you have proved they are….If I have to hear FERPA one more time I am going to throw up.. the part they will not tell you is this:  when it comes to FERPA if you still claim your student as a dependant they must disclose info to you after you show them your tax return… This guy should let them have it both barrels because ther is nothing worse then not fully investigating both sides of the story and then imposing punishment on just the protected class..

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