The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT
This is an action for injunctive relief and damages brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and arising out of the suspension of plaintiff, Marc Turof, from Brooklyn College.
Mr. Turof alleges violations of his right to due process resulting from claimed irregularities in the scheduling of pre-hearing informal conferences and in alleged improprieties in conducting the disciplinary hearing that was held prior to his actual suspension.
Mr. Turof sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the defendants from imposing any sanctions upon him without conforming to the procedural requirements set forth in the By-laws of the Trustees of Brooklyn College (By-laws). The defendants crossmoved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and lack of personal jurisdiction or alternatively, for summary judgment.
A hearing was held before this Court on April 3, 1981 at which Mr. Turof and Gregory Nolan, coordinator of the Lay Advocate Program at Brooklyn College, testified. The defendants did not at that time present any witnesses. By order dated April 24, 1981, plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction was denied. We reserved decision on defendant's cross motion for summary judgment so that the plaintiff might have the opportunity to present additional evidence, including a transcript of the disciplinary proceeding. That transcript was presented to this Court in October. Having now had the opportunity to review plaintiff's evidence in its entirety and for the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.
There is no dispute as to most of the facts in this case. The only factual dispute, which is not a material one, will be discussed later.
At the outset, security guards at Brooklyn College charged that Mr. Turof had violated several regulations. As authorized by Section 15.3 of the By-laws,
vice president for Campus Affairs, Dr. Hilary Gold, scheduled pre-hearing informal conferences for Mr. Turof to discuss the charges. Despite the fact that Mr. Turof had notified the College of his new address, the notices of the pre-hearing conferences were sent to him at an old address. Because of the College's error, Mr. Turof did not learn of the scheduled conferences until after the appointed dates had passed. Thereafter he requested that Dr. Gold reschedule conferences on those two charges and, in addition, schedule a conference regarding a third disciplinary charge that had since been lodged against him.
Dr. Gold refused all of Mr. Turof's requests, ostensibly because of Mr. Turof's failure to appear at the first two scheduled conferences.
Instead, Dr. Gold scheduled a disciplinary hearing on the three charges to be held on February 23, 1981, at 4:00 P.M.
In accordance with the By-laws as interpreted by the Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Turof was allowed to have an attorney present at the hearing to advise him, although he was required to conduct his own defense. Mr. Turof's attorney, Gregory Nolan, was permitted to make an opening statement, confer with Mr. Turof and conduct an examination of one witness.
The Disciplinary Committee, which was comprised of students and faculty, subsequently found that Mr. Turof had not violated school rules and regulations regarding smoking marijuana on campus as charged in the first complaint against him. He was found to have violated rules and regulations regarding physical assaults and altercations with school security guards as charged in the second and third complaints. He was suspended and barred from the campus until the Spring, 1982 semester. The Disciplinary Committee also required evidence of Mr. Turof's active participation in a therapeutic program as a condition to readmission.
Mr. Turof appealed the Committee determination to the President of the College, Robert Hess. That appeal was denied on May 6.
Mr. Turof argues that the school's failure to afford him a pre-hearing informal conference constituted a due process violation. In addition, he claims that at the disciplinary hearing itself, he was denied due process in that he was denied the assistance of counsel, the means to compel the attendance of witnesses on his behalf and the right of cross-examination; in that he was required to conduct his own defense and that he was confronted with three unrelated complaints which should have been considered in separate hearings; in that the complainants, security guards, were permitted representation by a third party and in that the Disciplinary Committee's legal advisor also advised the complainant's representative.
Although Mr. Turof's list of due process violations is exhaustive, he relies primarily on two claims: the College's failure to afford him a pre-hearing informal conference; and the disciplinary Committee's interpretation of the By-laws in not allowing Mr. Turof's counsel to ...