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Published on March 19, 2000, GRAND FORKS HERALD


by: Glenda J Miskin, Grand Forks, ND

Author's Note:  While the reporter attempted to be objective, I wonder why he never contacted the five editors of the Web site for their version of the truth (Conflict surges on the Internet, Page 1A, March 3)?

Contrary to UND's statement to the Herald in the article, UND rejected the opportunity to permit a public airing of dismissed student Vivian Nelson's case. Nelson had been admitted to the UND Medical School where she earned very high grades. Suddenly after a personal incident with Associate Dean Judy Demers having nothing to do with academic matters, Vivian Nelson was dismissed as being unfit. When Nelson filed a lawsuit against UND to overturn the dismissal, she waived all rights of privacy regarding the case. UND instead of allowing the matter to be submitted to the world of public opinion and to the jury, asserted the then but no longer available, backward doctrine of sovereign immunity in tort. That discredited doctrine held that a political subdivision could not be sued without its consent for its negligent or intentionally harmful acts against victims, e.g. car accidents or rapes, and UND would not consent to the disclosures or to the determination of the jury. 

In other words, Nelson was willing to submit her position to the public and to the jury, but under the former law, UND could get the case dismissed on the technicality that it could not be sued. Now UND says hypocritically that ‘it' can't release its evidence or discuss the case because of Nelson's privacy. But the real reason of course is that UND is afraid of what people will see. So Nelson has provided the world with this page to show it all, and so have the other contributors to this site.

It is also noteworthy that a law professor (Jeremy Davis) may have written so incompetent a response (see the reply to the response that one of the editors of this page so cleverly put out) and was instrumental in the violations of due process in the mockery of an administrative hearing which UND calls a fair resolution.

In reference to the part where attorney Bill McKechnie is quoted as saying that he intends to sue the ISP of this site as early as next week. Good Luck! I don't recall whether it was a circuit appeal or a US Supreme Court precedent, but recently it has been held that an Internet Service Provider (for example an Internet site host) is not liable for the content of the site. This made national news not too long ago. It would appear that McKecknie must have been a student of this UND School of Law Dean Jeremy Davis!

Recall the New Testament; if the blind leadeth the blind, they shall both fall into the gutter.