Monday, August 15, 2005

K.C. Wong weighs in on the misrepresentations in Rieckman's column

K.C. does a good job explaining the legal issues at hand, which Rieckman completely ignored:

Response to “bar” talks

On 8/24/05 Rieckman called for the immediate dismissal of three convicted tenured UW professors. There are two conclusions one can draw from such “bar” – intoxicated and intoxicating - talks:

First, the author knows very little about the facts:
The column is 588 words long. 438 words or 74.5% of the content was devoted to an imaginative case of Professor Jeffrey Dahmer, which was intended to inflame more so than inform.

The three cases under discussion came to 90 words or 15.03% of the column; hardly enough for a comprehensive and informed, much less intelligent and serious discussion of the issues involved, e.g. should tenured professors be fired for all criminal convictions, e.g. civil disobedience? should ex-convicts be hired as professors, i.e. after reform?

Second, the author knows very little about the law:
In one case, Steven Clark was convicted of stalking and serving a Huber sentence. This meant that the court has decided that Clark was of no danger to the community or his victim. More significantly, Clark was given a chance to reform himself and to contribute to the society. Should the university not support our judicial process?

In another case, Lewis Cohen, pleaded no contest to sexual communication with a minor. He was placed on two years of probation. Legally speaking, pleading no contest (nolo con•ten•de•re) is not an admission of guilt, i.e. it does not bar future contestation of the case, as in administrative (tenure) proceedings. Is Cohen not entitled to assert his rights and contest his case in the time and manner he saw fit?

In the last case, Roberto Coronado was convicted on 8/5/05 for sexually assaulting three young girls. The university was instating proceeding to fire him. Should the university not be given sufficient time to process his dismissal, in order to avoid future liability?

But for the serious implications resulting, such “bar” talks deserve no comments!

Kam C. Wong, J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Criminal Justice
University of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)

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