University president asks for policy review - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

University president asks for policy review

AKRON, Ohio - The president of the University of Akron has called for a review of some university policies concerning student discipline following a graduate student's suicide.

The student, Charles Plinton, 25, was suspended by the university after he was arrested on drug charges despite being acquitted in court.

Plinton, 25, was unable to pay an attorney to press his campus appeal and returned home to New Jersey in 2004. He killed himself along the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Dec. 12.

Proenza told employees in a written statement Wednesday that he has ordered a review of student discipline and law enforcement practices, including those of university police.

"Because we hold ourselves to the highest standards of fairness, transparency and service to students, we must take this opportunity to examine all practices that have been called into question by our students, faculty, staff and community members," Proenza wrote in his e-mail to employees.

Plinton was charged in 2004 with drug trafficking based in part on the allegations of a felon paid by police to set up drug deals with students. Plinton was acquitted in criminal court, but found responsible in a university disciplinary hearing and suspended for a semester.

A series published in the Akron Beacon Journal this week examined the investigation, which involved two university police officers who are no longer with the department, the lead detective and the arresting officer.

Proenza noted much of the response this week questioned the use of the confidential informant living in Plinton's dorm.

"The questions raised by many of you about the appropriateness of the confidential informant's presence there are important ones that merit full consideration," Proenza wrote.

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