March 13, 2003
Students face disciplinary hearings on child pornography allegations
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University will begin disciplinary proceedings against 11 students for allegedly possessing child pornography and misusing university computer resources.
The students who face disciplinary action will be notified by letter of the pending hearings, said Stephen Akers, Purdue's executive associate dean of students. Hearings are expected to begin sometime after April 1, he said.
"The letters we send are strictly meant to inform these students of the allegations made there is no presumption of guilt," Akers said. "We just want to be absolutely certain these students have the information they need to be able to respond fully to the allegations."
Purdue University Police originally investigated 17 students living on campus in connection with possession of child pornography obtained over the Internet via the university's computer network. Five of the students under investigation voluntarily turned over computer equipment to police on March 4, according to police reports.
Akers said the Office of the Dean of Students did not have sufficient evidence to initiate hearings against six of the students and that they would not face disciplinary action unless additional information became available.
Under university guidelines, the 11 students can face a range of possible penalties, Akers said. At the conclusion of a hearing with the Office of the Dean of Students, the university could decide to impose no punishment; probation; a probated suspension, under which the individual would be granted conditional student status and would be returned to full status if they violated no university policies during the probationary period; suspension for a period of time set by the university; or permanent expulsion from the university.
Students are notified of the outcome of disciplinary hearings in writing within five days of the conclusion of their hearing. There also is a process in place to allow students to appeal the findings of the Office of the Dean of Students.
Writer: Brian Zink, (765) 494-2080, email@example.com
Sources: Stephen Akers, (765) 494-1242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Peters, assistant dean of students, (765) 494-1150, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org