Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Help A Brother Fight The Man

Hey you Law Professors and Lawyers!!

You know you want distractions during this exam period, because you haven't even gotten the finals back from the records' office yet.

Help a brother out:

Remember my unfortunate friend, Scott Eric Kaufman? The guy who survived cancer only to get hit by a car, watch undergrads have sex in his office, be accused of defamation, defamed himself, and then expelled after UCI Cashier's Office misapplied his registration fees as a donation to the UCI library?

Seriously, what can he do here?

He's without status and health insurance, and soon the Federal government will come knocking asking for loan repayment. That would suck. What can he do?

Why are his commenters, in particular esteemed blogger and professor of history Timothy Burke, telling him to seek legal representation? Does he have a case? And if so, a case for what?

UCI's bureaucracy is inept, that we know:

1. They took SEK's money.

2. The Library thanked him for his $2,000 donation.

3. UCI expells SEK for non-payment of his registration fees and letting his graduate status lapse.

Obviously, he wants is reinstatement of his status and benefits. The mis-allocated money should be re-allocated properly so that he gets his health insurance and student status back. But does he need legal representation for this? It seems that his department is trying to get the bureaucracy to correct this situation. The correct people to do this are the Cashier's Office and the Office of the Registrar. If this was more than inadvertant, then the Ombudsman could get involved. But do the lawyers?

Thus, I am puzzled why some are telling him to sue UCI, because I dont' know what he would sue them for: misappropriation of funds? Is this what this is? If Scott is not currently an employee (not currently teaching, grading, otherwise doing work for remuneration) but "merely a student," can he sue for wrongful termination of benefits? Can an organization steal from a student? When does a bureaucratic error give rise to a cause of action under tort or contract law?

In absence of that, is there some kind of due process claim? Oh wait, there is no constitutional right to education (Kadrmas v. Dickinson Public Schools, 1988), but there is such a right in the state of California under the CA constitution. Not sure that this pertains to a right to higher education though, and in particular graduate education. It seems that there is no denial of benefits or status based on illegal factors of race, gender, religion, or national origin. That UCI seems to just hate SEK for no particular discriminatory reason other than "You are SEK, what else do we need" and think that he deserves misfortune appears to be perfectly legal, if arbitrary.

Of course, I am a terrible person to ask about this. My program hates me as much as I hate it, which is why I'm considering transferring. Liberal College Law's Advance Degree Program Office mislabeled my re-admit student status, failed to register me in time for me to not get hit with student loan repayment, and took away $9,000 of funding, and I couldn't argue reliance or estoppel because I didnt' deserve the money to begin with.

But if I can help a friend fight The Man, I will.