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A legal dispute that never should have been raised has now been settled

A University of Illinois student who earned, but was denied, an MBA degree will receive it after all.

No one should be surprised because the UI’s decision to deny an earned degree as punishment for a student disciplinary violation didn’t stand a chance of surviving legal scrutiny.

That raises a question: Why do President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Robert Jones permit such nonsense?

The UI gave up nothing by settling the case out of court, but it revealed plenty about its suspect disciplinary process.

It will surprise few people this case of disciplinary overreach stems from a political hot potato on college campuses — a man, a woman, excessive alcohol consumption and sex.

The details indicate the couple consumed alcohol and engaged in multiple acts of sexual intercourse that left the woman feeling distraught and ill-used.

Only those who were involved could know what really happened. But a UI disciplinary panel concluded that the woman was incapacitated during one sex act but could draw no conclusions as to her capacity on two others.

As a consequence, the UI dismissed the student from the university with leave to apply for re-admission in 2020. The only problem is that the student was cited for a disciplinary violation after he had already graduated.

That would seem to be a clear case of lack of jurisdiction. After all, UI discipline applies to UI students, not former students. The UI’s spiteful response — one that certainly had bite — was to deny the student his diploma, making it impossible for him to renew his visa so he could keep his job at the Boston firm where he worked.

The student has since returned to India. Who knows what’s next for him?

But everyone should know what’s next at the UI. Its sometimes farcical disciplinary process will continue to involve itself in alleged criminal cases — sexual assaults — for which its overseers have no expertise and that should be left to law enforcement officers who do.

The News-Gazette