Judicial board member loses position for writing column

NEW YORK — A columnist for the student newspaper at Syracuse\nUniversity was fired from his position on the school’s judicial\nboard after he penned a column accusing the judicial affairs office\nof abusing its power.

Henry Chung, a first-year law student at Syracuse, said he\nwrote the column because he believed the university’s office of\njudicial affairs improperly pressured the judicial board — a\npanel of students that reviews cases of alleged student misconduct\n– to overturn a decision the office disliked.

“I felt that I had no other channels to express my dissatisfaction\nwith this blatant abuse of power and disregard of procedure but\nto write my column,” Chung said.

But the same day Chung’s column was published in The Daily\nOrange — Oct. 25 — he received a letter from Anastasia Urtz,\nthe director of the university’s office of judicial affairs, informing\nhim of his dismissal from his post on the board.

In the letter, Urtz told Chung his column “violates your\nduty as a University Judicial Board member to maintain the confidentiality\nof the hearing process in which you recently participated.”\n

Urtz did not return calls made by the Report to her office.\n

Chung denied that he violated anyone’s confidentiality. He\nsaid he did not disclose any identifiable information in his column\nabout the student involved in the case.

In his column, Chung said a student adviser to the board told\nhim the judicial affairs office “officially disliked the\nboard’s decision,” in a case it heard. Chung said the student\nadviser told the board that the office of judicial affairs wanted\nit to reconsider its findings.

Under the university’s judicial affairs procedure, students\nappeal cases to the board for a hearing. The board hears each\ncase, evaluates the incident and then imposes sanctions, if necessary.\nThe board’s decision must be confirmed by Urtz, who told The\nDaily Orange that confirmation is only a matter of ensuring\nthe judicial process has been completed.

But in his column, Chung accused Urtz of requiring the board\nto obtain her approval on its decisions. He said the judicial\naffairs office ordered the board to reconvene the hearing because\nit did not like the board’s findings.

Chung said he believes he was fired in an effort to silence\ncriticism of the judicial affairs office.

“It’s a way the office can paint me with a black brush,\nsaying I’m the bad guy and defaming my character,” Chung\nsaid. “The office cannot and must not allow dissenting voices.\n… They removed me from the board because they are trying to\nhide the fact that they did something wrong”