In last month's decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the University's right to punish the fraternity, and said the punishment that was given was fair. Last year, the Psi U fraternity was found by the University's Judicial Inquiry Officer to bear collective responsibility for the kidnapping of a member of another fraternity. The University imposed one of its strictest sanctions, kicking the fraternity out of its center campus chapter house (known as the "Castle") and revoking its recognition indefinitely. "They did file a petition for an allowance of appeal with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania," said Frank Roth, the University's associate general counsel. "They had an appeal of right to the Superior Court -- this time they have to ask permission." If the appeal is granted, he explained, the University would have to look forward to a whole new round of court proceedings. "There would be a [new] briefing schedule and then you're talking months, a long time," he said. For the Court to accept the petition, Roth said the fraternity will have to raise a "particularly important issue, or a novel issue for litigation, [for which] no case law has been established." According to the fraternity's petition, the Supreme Court "has never addressed the issue regarding the standard for a fair disciplinary hearing at a university?[and] has never determined whether the concept of punishment pursuant to a theory of 'collective responsibility' is constitutional." The petition, submitted by Psi U attorney John Ledwith, also claims that "the Superior Court erred by drawing numerous conclusions of fact which were unsupported by the record and the trial court opinion." Roth said plans for the community service living-learning project planned for the "Castle" next year, will proceed, unless the fraternity asks the court to postpone the plan. Psi U made such a request during its appeal to the Superior court, but judges denied the motion. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, who is named in the suit filed by Psi U against the University, said that renovations and programs planned for the fall are underway. "I think the existing order stands," she said yesterday. "I believe the lower court and the Superior Court have upheld the University's right to proceed."Comments powered by Disqus
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