Documentation incriminates director

Mike Wereschagin

New evidence in David Molohon’s expulsion appeal might prove Judith Reisman, occupational therapy program director, misled the President’s Student Body Review Panel, the University’s highest appellate court.
During the hearing, Reisman allegedly told the panel she never barred witnesses from testifying on Molohon’s behalf. However, in two documents written by Reisman, she expressly forbade such witnesses from appearing in Molohon’s original hearing.
Molohon, a second-year occupational therapy student, was dismissed from the program Jan. 10 for academic misconduct.
He and four of his classmates turned in a paper with improper citation. No other member of the group was charged, however, because the citation mistakes only occurred in Molohon’s portion of the paper.
Molohon has been attending classes on appeal since his expulsion.
Molohon’s appeal was heard last Thursday by the review panel.
During the hearing, Molohon and his student advocate, Rufaro Katedza, contended Reisman forbade Molohon from bringing witnesses to testify on his behalf.
Because of this, Molohon said he was never given a chance to properly defend himself or present his case.
Reisman allegedly told the four panel members during the hearing that Molohon could have brought witnesses forward at any time.
But two documents obtained by The Minnesota Daily tell a different story.
A handwritten note to Molohon, signed by Reisman, states he could not bring a classmate to the original hearing. The classmate, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was going to the hearing as a witness for Molohon.
Reisman also sent an e-mail to Molohon and Katedza the same day.
“As director of the program, I reserve the right to bar fellow students from a private meeting,” the e-mail states. “I am sticking to that right and do not wish to allow a fellow student to present information that Dave can do very well himself.”
Molohon said he repeated that quote to Reisman during the appeal hearing and asked her if she remembered writing it.
Reisman allegedly responded by asking Molohon if he had the documentation. When Molohon said he did not, Reisman reiterated she never barred witnesses from testifying for Molohon.
Reisman could not be reached for comment on the newest allegations against her. She has previously refused to comment on the situation in order to protect student-professor confidentiality.
After the appeal hearing, which ended at about 4:40 p.m. Thursday, Molohon went back to his apartment and spent four hours searching for the lost documents.
After finding the papers, Molohon sent an e-mail to University President Mark Yudof informing him of the new evidence. Though Yudof was not present at the appeal, he will make the final decision on Molohon’s case.
Yudof responded with an e-mail of his own stating that a member of his staff will look into possible misrepresentation of the facts by Reisman before the appellate panel.
Yudof is not the only one taking a closer look at Molohon’s case. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is looking into possible violations of Molohon’s rights by members of the occupational therapy program.
Because of state law, department officials were unable to comment on the situation.

Mike Wereschagin welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612)627-4070 x3226.