The relationship between the college student and the university has assumed added dimensions in recent years. Historically, this relationship remained outside the scope of judicial scrutiny, and colleges and universities were left free to discipline and sanction students without a great deal of judicial restraint or interference. This judicial abstention was based for the most part upon theories of in loco parentis—wherein the courts viewed the university as acting in a fatherly, counseling function—or upon theories of contract law. In recent years several courts have repudiated or ignored these earlier theories, guaranteeing the student that, as a minimum, disciplinary action taken against him will conform to procedures strikingly similar to those observed in a criminal trial. Administrative officials of most colleges and universities and a rapid demise of disciplinary autonomy in today's institutions of higher learning seems to be occurring. This judicial stimulus is closely related to the numerous constitutional innovations of recent years, and it may in turn precipitate many more attacks against the "university establishment" by students who are dismissed for reasons which may seem, at least to them, completely arbitrary. Further conflict seems imminent in today's educational system in which students are striving for personal recognition in the complex academic environment, advocating both social reform and ever-increasing campus freedoms.
Roger M. Beverage,
Colleges and Universities—Section 1983, Procedural Due Process and University Regulations: Any Relationship? Esteban v. Central Missouri State College, 415 F.2d 1077 (8th Cir. 196),
49 Neb. L. Rev. 689
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