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Case by Case

December 4, 2014

Information via NYU Crime Reports and Statistics
Cicek Erel
Information via NYU Crime Reports and Statistic

The University Judicial Panel has total discretion in deciding on a sanction in the event that a respondent is found responsible for violating university policy. In the case of Olsen, the panel suspended him — in other cases, respondents could be expelled for the same violation.

“We did look back at the last three years’ worth of disciplinary outcomes involving violations of our sexual misconduct policy that seem roughly akin to this case,” NYU spokesman John Beckman said in an email. “We found that suspension and expulsion were equally common outcomes when sexual misconduct was found to have occurred, applied in accordance with the unique circumstances of each incident as supported by the evidence.”

Beckman said the panel did not have any guidelines in determining sanctions.

“In the end, the panelists look at the totality of the evidence and try and make a judgement based on that,” he said.

“The university does not have a specific, like, ‘If you’re found responsible for this, this is the sanction,’” Grace added.

thomas grace

Miller said the guidance that a panel has in selecting a suitable punishment are a set of factors outlined in the policy, which include “whether [the conduct] involved violence” and “whether the respondent has accepted responsibility for the conduct.”

The university did not provide statistics on the number of sexual misconduct reports leading to hearings in any year, or how many students have been found responsible for policy violations of a sexual nature, citing FERPA.

“The criminal justice system is a far more transparent system than the disciplinary system in colleges and universities,” Beckman said. “That’s not particularly because the colleges or universities have asked that it be closed, but because of these privacy laws.”

Racklin said the lack of transparency is worrisome.

“We find it problematic that the panel is made up of administrators and deans. There’s a huge conflict of interest there,” she said. “They have far too much incentive to not make this a transparent process.”

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