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.

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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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