Petition Closed

Petition for redress of grievances as an amicus letter brief to the Supreme Court requesting it hear Zochlinski v Regents of the University of CA

This petition had 30 supporters


This case is a matter of securing property, liberty and due process rights for students and guaranteeing Academic Freedom (a First Amendment right) for both students and faculty.

In both its seminal cases on student rights, Regents of Univ. of Michigan v Ewing, 474 U.S. 214, (1985) and the earlier Board of Curators, Univ. of Mo. v. Horowitz, 435 U.S. 78, (1978), the High Court emphasized the faculty-student relationship, and “assumed, without deciding, that federal courts can review an academic decision of a public educational institution under a substantive due process standard” (Ewing, p222). In Ewing, Horowitz and several other cases (e.g. Board of Regents v Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972)), unfortunately, the High Court stated it had only assumed a university degree has property and / or liberty value, but did not make this the law of the land (see below).

 

An even earlier ruling provided a more powerful platform for defending both student and faculty rights than the property or liberty value of a degree: Academic Freedom was pronounced as a special concern of the First Amendment, consisting of the four “’essential freedoms’ of a university -- to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.'" Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 263 (1957) (concurring in result). The commitment of the Courts to defending these freedoms was reiterated most recently in Regents of University of California v Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 312-313; 98 S. Ct. 2733; 57 L. Ed. 2d 750; 1978.

 

Despite the High Court’s pronouncements, which seem clear to the layman and should have protected student and faculty rights, State Courts and Federal District Courts have refused to examine student expulsions if university officials claim the student was expelled for strictly academic reasons. This is because university officials and district courts have chosen to interpret these statements as dicta that not only can be ignored, but should be ignored. This situation exists because the High Court had stated it only assumed liberty and property rights attend awarding of a degree, and due process rights require more than an assumption. Even beyond these rights, the High Court did not make Academic Freedom clearly integral to our First Amendment Freedoms, so it, too, has been ignored as a basis for examination of student rights under a claim of academic expulsion.

 

Because of these oversights, since 1985 (Ewing), State and Federal District Courts have declared that university degrees have neither property nor liberty value, discounted Academic Freedom and have treated students with dismissive contempt, denying students have any due process rights in cases of alleged academic dismissal [i.e. Koumantaros v City Univ. of New York, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19530 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2007) (2cd Circuit)].

 

However, claims of an academic basis for student expulsions by officials is sometimes false or fabricated. Why?  

 

The reason is that, in contrast, if a dismissal is alleged to be for conduct reasons, students have full rights to due process [Goss v Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, (1975)]. Given this situation, University administrators and police have learned to manipulate student arrests on Free Speech or other political matters so as to appear to be or, worse, so as to cause an academic issue; thus enabling them to expel the student without due process or Court involvement.

 

Both the value and the cost of a university degree, to the individual student and the nation, has greatly increased in the 30 years since Ewing. Clearly, it is time for a re-examination of due process, the liberty / property value of a university degree and the Courts’ need to protect Academic Freedom.

 

Mr. Zochlinski’s case, an academic version of Les Miserables, is perfect for such a re-examination. In 1972, Mr. Zochlinski, and numerous other students, had been arrested on false and malicious charges by UC Santa Barbara Detective Jones and his partner as part of the University of California Regents efforts to quell student demonstrations after police had killed a student on the UC Santa Barbara campus (information on the demonstrations at www.islavista.org). Mr. Zochlinski was targeted as he had photographed incidents of police brutality during the demonstrations, including photos of Jones. In response, Jones fabricated charges leading to three separate arrests of “The Jewboy”, as Jones, a vicious racist, had called Zochlinski.

 

Despite threats, beating and intimidation by Detective Jones, Mr. Zochlinski still refused to plead out to the false charges. Jones, angered by Mr. Zochlinski’s recalcitrance, arranged to have him beaten and gang-raped in the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Mr. Zochlinski stood trial, a trial that ended half-way through when the Judge threw the case out, declaring Mr. Zochlinski not guilty. Jones made it evident to Mr. Zochlinski that this failure left him angry and hate filled.

 

Mr. Zochlinski went on to complete his B.S. at UC Berkeley. His graduate education, at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, and Johns Hopkins University, was unsuccessful due to the lingering effects of his experience in Santa Barbara, now called PTSD.

 

After time with an expert therapist in New York, he returned to graduate school at UC Davis in the 1985-86 academic year. Unbeknownst to Mr. Zochlinski, Jones moved to Davis at the same time, still in the UCPD, but demoted from Detective to Patrol Officer.

 

Officer Jones was fired from the UC Davis police over a racist incident in 1988. His own UCPD superiors had called a liar and a slacker in legal papers filed in the Court case that grew out of this firing (John W. Jones vs. Regents of the University of California, Yolo County Superior Court Case #92-70396, appealed to the Third Appellate District, #C016980; California Supreme Court Case # S041067). Unfortunately, the wrong UC Davis official signed the papers firing Jones – his firing was declared a Skelly violation and Jones was ordered rehired by the Court due to this technicality. Very shortly after Jones return to full duty, he found Zochlinski was on campus. In November, 1992, Jones arrested Mr. Zochlinski on false and malicious charges in an effort to fulfill his 20 year old vendetta.

 

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Zochlinski was completing his Ph.D. dissertation after years of research as the molecular biologist on the team that developed the first successful AIDS vaccine – the one for AIDS in cats. His research and career would have gone further if not for this arrest and its aftermath.

 

Mr. Zochlinski had been given an arbitrary deadline of January 1, 1993, to complete his thesis write-up (all research work had been completed). Due to the arrest, the Graduate Dean, Donald Curry, was told of Mr. Zochlinski’s history with Jones by Mr. Zochlinski, who stated he would review it with his attorney and raise in in Court as the charge was clearly false.

 

Dean Curry, anxious to protect the reputation of UC Davis and the UC system, engaged in a campaign to prevent any revelation of Jones UCPD history. This included undermining Mr. Zochlinski’s credibility, interfering in his relations with his Ph.D. dissertation committee, and preventing his completing his degree by the deadline - Dean Curry refused to grant Mr. Zochlinski an extension to complete the write-up while awaiting trial. Other UC employees then became involved. The Chair of Mr. Zochlinski’s graduate group, Prof. Scott Hawley, refused to allow Mr. Zochlinski to take his degree based on his co-authorship of three published papers (a three-paper rule Ph.D.).

 

Mr. Zochlinski, unable to work at the time, missed his deadline and was expelled by the Dean. Dean Curry then prevented a review of the circumstances of the expulsion by the faculty of the Academic Senate. After the expulsion was finalized, it was announced that the false criminal charges had been dropped.

Mr. Zochlinski complained of his treatment. To conceal their civil and criminal violations, UC police arrested him on another false and malicious charge, which was pushed to a jury trial.

 

As in his other arrests by UCPD, the “investigation” of this crime was actually a frame-up: there was no real evidence and UCPD officers manufactured identification using a rigged photo-lineup. With his attorney, Mr. Zochlinski found the man who was likely the real perpetrator – a research scientist, Carl Johnson, who was bringing in grant funding to the university.

 

The University police had been telephoned and given Dr. Johnson’s name as a suspect. However, they informed the District Attorney and Mr. Zochlinski’s attorney that neither Dr. Johnson nor the institute he worked for could be found. As was uncovered by the investigation by the Public Defender’s Office, the UC police had found Johnson’s workplace, the Biggs Rice Research Station (current URL: http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/ricestation/ccrrf_res-v35_005.htm), and, after interviewing Dr. Johnson’s superiors and learning of his value to UC Davis, had (deliberately - ?) misinformed the DA and Mr. Zochlinski’s attorney.

 

Carl Johnson was subpoenaed. In the courtroom, during trial, the victim who had the best view of the perpetrator identified Johnson, and not Mr. Zochlinski, as responsible. The other victim, having been prevented from viewing Dr. Johnson or even a photo of him, had stated that Zochlinski, whom she did see in Court, did not resemble the perpetrator when seen in person. The jury found Mr. Zochlinski not guilty, one juror even asking that Johnson be arrested. The UC police refused.

 

For years afterward, Mr. Zochlinski fought for his rights, demanding a proper due process hearing on his expulsion and a hearing before Student Judicial Affairs to clear his name. Both these requests were repeatedly denied. It took 13 years for Mr. Zochlinski to finally get a due process hearing before the Representative Assembly of the Academic Senate (report on it is available online at: http://dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=8165). The reason for this delay were the efforts by UC Davis administrators, particularly Dean Jeffrey Gibeling, to prevent a hearing, efforts which included a campaign of slander. This campaign had administrators, faculty sycophants and even an attorney deny that Jones on the UC Davis campus was the same Jones who had been on the UCSB campus, and claim that Mr. Zochlinski’s identification of Jones and the rape allegation were “schizophrenic delusions”.

 

In short, Mr. Zochlinski was treated like many universities treat female rape survivors – blame the victim. The slander campaign against Mr. Zochlinski, with racist allusions and allegations of psychological problems, echoed the campaign to smear James Meredith after he resisted the racism of administrators at the University of Mississippi in 1962 (Meredith v. Fair, 305 F.2d 343; 1962 U.S. App. LEXIS 4699 – see page 347)

 

It was only after an article on the case appeared in a Sacramento paper (available online at: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/howards-end/content?oid=6972) and showed that the two Jonses, the one at UCSB and the one at UC Davis, were one and the same that Mr. Zochlinski finally began building support among faculty for a due process hearing.

 

The hearing was held on February 28, 2005. All the facts were finally revealed and made clear by several distinguished faculty members testifying on behalf of Mr. Zochlinski. Their testimony included dispelling the slander campaign and discussions of the anti-Semitism exhibited by certain individuals in authority on the UC Davis campus who sought to harm Mr. Zochlinski, including the former chair of his graduate group, Prof. Scott Hawley, who had made the equivalent of a “blood libel” allegation against Mr. Zochlinski in an effort to protect his and the University’s reputation. Faculty members present voted 92% in favor of reinstating Mr. Zochlinski.

 

The administration refused. At that point it became a matter of Academic Freedom, of faculty rights to decide who was fit to attend a university. Mr. Zochlinski filed a Writ in Court to enforce the due process vote of the Academic Senate, with a faculty member and the vice president of the student government as co-petitioners. Unable to secure an attorney, or any organized backing, Mr. Zochlinski did all the legal research and writing himself. In the end, the local Courts sided with the University, agreeing that students have no due process rights and faculty have no right to decide admissions. The Appellate Courts have since agreed.    

 

Because of the slander campaign waged by the University, and illegal holds placed on his degrees and transcripts by the Dean’s Office, Mr. Zochlinski has been unable to find employment in his field or complete his degree at another University for the past 20 years. His liberty and property interests have been unfairly, and illegally limited by this continuing denial of due process. Academic Freedom had been buried by a university bureaucracy and police unwilling to admit wrongdoing.  

 

We asked the Supreme Court to hear Mr. Zochlinski’s case, clearly determine or recognize the liberty and property rights associated with a university degree, make Academic Freedom an intrinsic part of the First Amendment and grant students facing expulsion of alleged academic reasons full due process rights.

 

The importance to the nation is that this is not a case merely to award one student his degree - it is a case designed to insure this sort of thing does not happen to future generations of students, to insure that alleged academic failings are not used as a cover for expulsions based on politics, religion or race. This is a case for Academic Freedom, for both students and faculty as it will enable faculty to take back some of their authority, which has been eroded over the past 30 years.

This case also involves police misconduct and issues of rape. The UC police routinely ignored crimes against women and drug dealing on the UC campuses, unless they had a political or personal reason (including racism and religious prejudice) to go after the student involved. Narcotics agents at UC Santa Barbara in the 1970s ignored drug use and dealing on campus and in the dorms by those students who were acceptable to the administration, while attempting to entrap students who were politically active and / or posed a threat to the police by photographing their violent repression of student demonstrations. Crimes against women at that time were ignored entirely.

Today, police on the UC campuses pay lip service to enforcing laws on crimes against women, but, in reality, often ignore them or, worse, actively protect the criminal if there is a reason. And they will arrest innocent individuals on false and malicious charges if there is a political reason, using sexual-based crimes as it makes it appear that they are doing something about protecting women on campus while extensive evidence show they don’t – there had been a series of articles on the subject in the Sacramento Bee in 2000-2001 under the URL heading http://www.sacbee.com/news/projects/ucrape/, however, it has since been removed and only references to it in other articles are found (e.g. http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/stinging-the-bee/content?oid=2768

http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=205

http://campussafety.org/publicpolicy/courts/sacbee/index.html)

 

Mr. Zochlinski was deliberately arrested on false charges of stalking (1992) and, later, indecent exposure from a moving car (1993). The first charge was the one dropped, the Assistant District Attorney having falsified information on the affidavit for the warrant in order to have Zochlinski arrested (D.A.’s are protected by judicial / prosecutorial privilege from suit in such cases).

The second arrest, for indecent exposure, went to trial. The District Attorney had not bothered to investigate the allegation and had trusted the UC police, which reduced the trial to something of a farce. Mr. Zochlinski not only had been elsewhere at the time of the crime, but does not know how to drive a car – being a New Yorker, he had never learned and does not have a license – something neither the police nor the DA had bothered to check. Furthermore, the person identified in Court by the victim, Dr. CarlW. Johnson, had been telephoned in to the UC police as a suspect. The UCPD informed the DA and the Public Defender, in writing (document available) that they could not find him; yet it was revealed that they had found him and decided to drop their investigation of him after they found he was valuable to the University.

Another point is, while pursuing false and malicious charges against Mr. Zochlinski, UCD police and administrators allowed Robert Lugo (partial story: http://daviswiki.org/Robert_Lugo) to sexually assault women on the Davis campus, even attempting to protect him from prosecution by denying the DA access to his campus files. The police and UCD authorities allowed Alice “Chih-Wen” Sun to be stalked and threatened by another student (Ms. Sun was a friend of Mr. Zochlinski and had told him the story).

Mr. Zochlinski was arrested on false and malicious charges to both satisfy Jones racist vendetta and provide a fallguy for sex-crimes on the UC Davis campus so it would appear the UC Davis police and administration were doing something to protect women. In truth, all the while they allowed male students with the right connections, or who brought in money in terms of grants, to get away with crimes against women.

Thus, Mr. Zochlinski’s case not only involves student due process rights, Academic Freedom rights of faculty and students and the liberty and property value of a college / university degree, but threatens to reveal the corrupt practices by UC police and administrators that allow them to protect certain criminals while arresting innocent individuals on false and malicious charges for political, racial or personal reasons. Hearing Mr. Zochlinski’s case can make a difference on many fronts concerning student rights.

Another opportunity may not come along for decades.   



Today: Howard is counting on you

Howard Zochlinski needs your help with “To The Honorable John G. Roberts, Chief Justice, and Honorable Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Petition for redress of grievances as an amicus letter brief to the Supreme Court requesting it hear Zochlinski v Regents of the University of CA”. Join Howard and 29 supporters today.