Tennessee Ousts Grad Student Over Driving Conviction
The University of Tennessee is holding a 60-year-old graduate student in academic limbo over a reckless driving incident that occurred hundreds of miles away from campus.
Even at 60 years old Suzanne Glen is a fighter. She fought through an agonizing childhood disease that resulted in the loss of her colon, divorce, the loss of both parents and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a medical disorder that disables its sufferers with chronic joint and muscle pain.
Now she’s fighting to complete her master’s degree at the University of Tennessee. University officials want to indefinitely suspend her from the institution because of a reckless driving conviction last year while camping in Alabama.
Glen was slated to graduate May 14. She has continued her studies and expects to complete her courses April 30. But she already has lost an academic year for applying to colleges for her doctorate degree in social work because UT refused to release her course transcripts pending resolution of her disciplinary appeal.
Matthew M. Scoggins, UT assistant general counsel, told the administrative law judge hearing Glen’s appeal that UT wants to nullify Glen’s academics for the spring semester. “The university considers this a very serious matter,” Scoggins said of Glen’s reckless driving conviction.
Scoggins said Glen violated rule 8 of UT’s student conduct policy with her July 2009 drunken-driving arrest in Gulf Shores, Ala. Glen, on advice of an attorney, pleaded guilty to reckless driving. That conviction, Scoggins said, showed Glen’s alleged act “threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person,” as stated in rule 8 of the dozens of student conduct violations.
This is absurd beyond words. Clearly, the academic handbook applies to actions on campus or those directly related to university activities.
How a state university thinks it has the authority to not only take away academic credits for a non-academic violation but suspend the student indefinitely is beyond me. And holding her transcript hostage borders on criminal.
via Inside Higher Ed