Attorney: Expelled York College student was a ‘scapegoat’ in hazing investigation

An attorney for an expelled York College student said his client became a “scapegoat” after an investigation into alleged physical assault and hazing.

Michael Pileggi, the attorney for Jeffrey Goldhagen, said Goldhagen and one other student were expelled.

“…(T)he other alleged ‘hazing’ violators received much more minor disciplinary action and in many cases, no disciplinary action at all,” Pileggi said in the letter, which he said was going in the mail this morning, to Joseph F. Merkle, the dean of student affairs.

The college earlier this month announced that,¬†following a one-week probe into allegations of hazing and physical assault surrounding its wrestling program, it lifted the interim suspension of the program. The college announced that disciplinary action for those student-athletes involved in misconduct ranged “from official warning up to and including expulsion.”

College spokeswoman Mary Dolheimer said 34 students appeared before the judicial board. Some did not end up receiving sanctions. The range of sanctions handed out included official warning, disciplinary probation, suspension and expulsion, she said.

Dolheimer declined to comment on the letter after being provided a copy Monday morning, saying the college does not discuss matters of student discipline because of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requirements.

In the letter, Pileggi asked the college to remove the disciplinary record of expulsion from Goldhagen’s student file, academic file or both.

Pileggi asked the college to consider a number of factors.

— Pileggi said Goldhagen informed his coach about the issues being investigated days before he was compelled to be interviewed by Campus Safety and before the college made its decision to place the team on disciplinary probation for the 2103-14 academic year.

— Pileggi said the college failed to implement and follow its own policies and procedures, that Goldhagen was not given a meaningful process to refute and respond to the charges against him, and that his adviser’s request for a brief adjournment at a hearing was denied.

— Pileggi said the college has not disclosed the identity of the witnesses who were allegedly hazed, the times and dates or locations of the hazing.

“Had this information been made available, my client would have had an opportunity to prove that he was not even at the scene of the hazing and had no involvement whatsoever in what the College has described as organized hazing,” Pileggi said.

— Pileggi said Goldhagen was the only wrestler not cleared to wrestle because of an injury from the previous wrestling year.

“The implication is that Mr. Goldhagen became an easy target and was made an example of because he was unable to wrestle anyway,” Goldhagen said.



About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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