I started telling you about a week ago about the complex legal issues involved in filing a Statement of Claim. Let's have a look now at my own Statement of Claim and see how I've attempted to navigate around these problems.
told you about the biggest problem with taking on the University.
First, the courts expect you to follow the internal appeal process to
the very end: you must "exhaust your internal remedies" before the court
will even consider your claim. That can take months. And then, what
you're supposed to do is ask for a Judicial Review of the findings: you
can argue that the findings were made improperly, without due process,
etc; and at the end of it all, if you are very, very lucky, the judge
might possibly quash the findings of the University and...send
you back for a brand new hearing! You'd be back in the same kangaroo
court where you were screwed the first time, except this time they'd
know enough to cross all the t's and dot all the i's. Because the judge
quashed the verdict on procedural grounds, not issues of fact. All they have to do is go through the motions again with proper procedures.
prospect of going through all the time, effort and expense of a court
case just to be sent back to the star chamber...well, it was unbearable.
So I came up with a different tack. The University made much of the
charges of Non-Academic Misconduct. If you read through the entire
sixteen pages of my Statement of Claim, you will see that I do not even
mention the charges of misconduct! My entire claim is based on my
removal from the practicum.
The University was well
prepared to defend itself against legal action based on the misconduct
proceedings. They did their best to follow all the steps laid out in
their policy manual, so they would be able to defeat any "motion to
quash" on strictly procedural grounds. But the Misconduct Proceedings
were not officially launched until a day after I was removed from
the Practicum. That was an ambush, pure and simple, and throughout the
five months of follow-up proceedings, they never once even responded to
my attempts to appeal the removal of my practicum privileges.
you can't graduate from Education without a practicum. So in effect, I
was kicked out of the program from that moment on. But the University
continued to maintain the legal fiction that they were according me all
of my due process rights, up until the moment my expulsion was ratified
by the Board of Regents.
To be sure, they will attempt
to make a legal argument that my removal from the Practicum was done in
accordance with procedures. They have even cited a passage from the
Certification Practicum Student Handbook which appears to grant them the
power to do what they did. I indicate this in Paragraph 28 of my
Statement of Claim. On paper, the School Prinicipal does indeed have
The problem is that in practical terms, in
order to exercise that power, there would have to be a general consensus
by a number of people including the Dean of Education, the Principal,
the supervising teacher, the Faculty Advisor, that such a removal was
clearly warranted by the circumstances. It is inconceivable that the
Principal could simply write a letter one day demanding removal of a
student teacher, and no one would raise the slightest question as to
why. And yet this is essentially what they did. How could it have
The answer is that it could never have happened unless
all those parties had gotten together in advance and agreed that it
should be done. And that is what I am claiming: that there was a
"conspiracy to injure" organized against me.
When we return, I'll talk a little bit about the Tort of Conspiracy.