BUS, NAACP voice anger over expulsion

Bryan Wroten

Black United Students and the Kent State NAACP chapter met last night to write letters to support Malik Griffin.

But after watching the video of Griffin’s conduct hearing, writing letters was one of the last things on any of their minds.

“I thought the hearing was a mockery,” said Shanelle Smith, president of the Kent State NAACP. “He was defending himself against no one. It was like going to the principal’s office – guilty before you even get there.”

Griffin was expelled Thursday following a Judicial Affairs conduct hearing in which hearing officer Anissa Strickland said Griffin was responsible for a car accident April 15 involving pedestrian Jason Galt, senior integrated science major.

Griffin was arrested and charged with felonious assault after allegedly hitting Galt with his car. The Kent Municipal Court dismissed the charge per review, a usual first step before moving on to a grand jury.

A complaint by the Kent State Police Department brought Griffin to a Judicial Affairs conduct hearing. Under university policy, a student can be expelled for being charged with a felony.

Griffin can still attend classes and take his finals. His expulsion will start the 2006-2007 school year. He plans to appeal the conduct hearing’s decision tomorrow.

The video of the hearing was shown in parts because of its length. Members viewed the beginning of the hearing, the testimonies given by a campus police officer and a city police officer, the testimonies by Griffin and his two witnesses and the decision of the hearing officer.

Strickland asked questions of the police, Griffin and his witnesses, Kendrick Watson, junior pre-journalism and mass communication major, and David Green, sophomore business management major. Griffin did not cross-examine the police officers reading witnesses’ and Galt’s statements. The police officers asked questions of Griffin, Watson and Green.

Members attending the BUS/NAACP meeting were upset by the types of questions directed at Griffin and his witnesses. Several students said the hearing was one-sided.

After the viewing, BUS President Sasha Parker asked BUS and NAACP members what they wanted to do in response. Ideas of marches, spreading the word about what happened and writing letters to help with Griffin’s appeal were some of the suggestions.

Accounting graduate student Richard Rucker said students shouldn’t be concerned just about the expulsion but with Griffin’s felony charge as well.

“A felony can kill you,” he said. “You can’t even get a job.”

BUS and the NAACP are working on a way to show their support for Griffin for later this week.

Contact minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at [email protected].