UC Berkeley Budget Crisis

January 28, 2010

Angela Miller’s Star Chamber Hearing Follows Zach Bowin’s

Filed under: Student Protests — Stephen (Steve) Rosenbaum @ 10:41 pm

On Friday, December 11th two UC Berkeley students were arrested after acts of vandalism at University House.  These students were present as part of a protest march, but did not engage in any acts of vandalism or violence. To this date, there have been no charges against these two UC Berkeley students, Zachary (Zack) Bowen and Angela Miller due to lack of evidence. Yet both students were subject to extraordinary disciplinary actions as a result of their arrest.

Angela Miller appeared without counsel at her Inquisitorial-like hearing at Campus Life & Leadership’s Office of Student Conduct. Zach Bowin’s case was resolved more quickly as he sought me out immediately as a legal advisor.  Angela’s case is remarkable in that, like Bowin there are no legal charges, but that she is still under what is called an interim suspension, with highly restricted freedom as to the people she can communicate with (only teachers, teaching assistants and students in her classes) and places and times she can be on campus (she is only given 15 min. before and after campus to go to class). She was also evicted from her University-owned housing. This clearly seems to violate the First Amendment and is counter to good pedagogical practice.

The list below (in reverse chronological order) provides documents associated with this case, including the hearing panel’s decision and the response from me, her recently retained lawyer and a UCB law school Lecturer.  Also see the related blog on Zach Bowin’s case as well as in Stephen Rosenbaum’s blog.

  • Update on Student Conduct Related Issues, Memo from Harry Le Grande, Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs , May 3, 2010.
  • Letter from Alan T. Kolling, Complaint Resolution Officer, to Associate Chancellor Linda Williams, April 30, 2010. Although the Kolling sides with the campus on some of the issues, he did find, p. 12: “the grievant was effectively denied a formal hearing on the imposition of the Interim Suspension as provided for in the Code”. Also p. 14: “It therefore seems unavoidable for me to reach the conclusion that both the original Interim Suspension order, and the ban as modified by the Dean of Students, could have been more narrowly tailored. Had this occurred, the grievant would not have been unnecessarily disadvantaged academically in her attempts to communicate with her instructors shortly after the order was imposed, and from taking her final examinations under appropriate conditions, or otherwise registering for and attending classes at the start of the Spring semester.” Also: “Given the absence of any demonstrated showing by the University at the hearing that Ms. Miller posed a threat to anyone living at the Cloyne Co-op, and given the subsequent modification of the initial housing ban by the Dean, I find that this aspect of the original Interim Suspension order also exceeded the allowable scope of such an order as permitted under the provisions of the Code.”
  • April 26, 2010: “Divisional Council voted today (unanimously) to express its grave concern over the serious problems with the disciplinary process in relation to the protest cases, as well as the “educational” philosophy resulting in the outrageous demand for self-criticism letters — and, as much or more to the point, to insist that the faculty regain their role in overseeing and steering the student conduct process.  The wording is forthcoming.” Chris Kutz, Chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
  • Berkeley Faculty Association letter on Student Judicial Process to Chancellor Birgeneau, EVC&P Breslauer and Dean Poullard, April 2010. “The Berkeley Faculty Association joins the Northern California ACLU, the Campus Rights Project, the Berkeley Faculty Petition on the Office of Student Conduct Procedeures, and the UC Berkeley Divisional Council in expressing profound concern about the fairness of disciplinary proceedings against student protesters at this time.”
  • UC Berkeley faculty signed a petition Calling for Immediate Cessation of Proceedings Against Student Protestors, April 20, 2010 (pdf version).
  • On April 21, 2010 (1) many of the Dec 11 Wheeler Hall protesters had their cases dismissed and (2) her co-arrested from UC Davis was offered a stayed suspension & an essay.
  • Letter to Angela Miller by Susan Trageser and Appendix B, Assistant Dean of Students and Director April 21. 2010. This Notice of Hearing for May 5.  Notwithstanding her suffering some of the very same (see previous bullet) –and greater–due process and free speech/association violations as the other charged students, her case continues to be prosecuted by Campus Life and Leadership. Under the terms of her INTERIM suspension, Angela is still banned from campus for any purpose other than attending classes. N.B.–The 2nd set of violations arise from her attendance at a February campus forum on Student Conduct.
  • Campus Rights Project memo to Michael Smith, Assistant Chancellor of Legal Affairs, and Susan Tragesar, Director, Assistant Dean of Students, April 12, 2010. Also see press release and supporting documents.
  • Letter from David Wagner, EECS and on the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom, to the Senate Committee on Student Affairs, April 7, 2010.
  • ACLU issued a statement on “Improper Discipline and Inadequate Disciplinary Process for Student Protesters” (April 6, 2010). The letter points out that the campus “has imposed extremely restrictive suspensions on students without meeting the requirements of constitutional due process and in violation of constitutional guarantees of privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom of association”.
  • Email from Susan Trageser to Stephen Rosenbaum with Michael Smith, campus counsel, on copy, April 2, 2010.
  • Letter to Susan Trageser from Miller’s legal advisor, Stephen A. Rosenbaum, March 5, 2010. Notice of Possible Violation of Code of Student Conduct.
  • Notice of “Possible Violation of Code of Student Conduct” from Susan Trageser, February 26, 2010. The so called “violation” appears to because they believe Angela Miller may have attended a forum at the Valley Life Sciences Building on “on or about February 17, 2010″.
  • Letter to Angela Miller from Vice Chancellor Harry Le Grande, February 22, 2010. Berkeley Campus Student Grievance and Request for Expedited Review and Disposition.
  • Student Conduct Forum, February 17th, Full Transcript.
  • Letter to Christina Gonzales, Associate Dean of Campus Life and Leadership, from Stephen Rosenbaum, February 1, 2010.
  • Letter to Angela Miller, from from Jonathan Poullard, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, January 30, 2010. This letter addresses Stephen Rosenbaum’s letter to Wildsoet about the continued delay in removing the interim suspension restrictions. The interim suspension is still in place, but some of the restrictions are removed. Angela is allowed to go to campus only to attend classes and is given a 15 min. window on either side of the class time to enter and exit the campus.
  • Email to Stephen A. Rosenbaum from Susan Trageser, January 19, 2010. The interim suspension restrictions were removed for Zach but had not been removed at this point for Angela.
  • Letter to Christine Wildsoet, from Miller’s legal advisor, Stephen A. Rosenbaum, January 19, 2010. The interim suspension restrictions were removed for Zach but had not been removed at this point for Angela.
  • Angela Miller was served with a letter from Christine Wildsoet, January 15, 2010.
  • Angela Miller served with letter, December 12, 2009.

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