UGA Philosophy Grad Student Cleared of Misconduct Charges


The University of Georgia (UGA) has determined that Irami Osei-Frimpong, a philosophy graduate student and teaching assistant at the school, did not violate the school’s code of conduct.

Irami Osei-Frimpong [photo by Joshua Jones, The Athens Banner-Herald]

As reported earlier, Osei-Frimpong was the target of complaints by Andrew Lawrence, a recent alumnus of the school, who objected to remarks Osei-Frimpong made about race at a meeting of the Young Democrats of UGA club. The University initially defended Osei-Frimpong’s free speech rights, but then, after Lawrence urged other alumni to withhold donations, it launched an investigation of the graduate student.

The university ended up accusing Osei-Frimpong with “failing to list on his application for admission that he had attended the University of Chicago and he had once been arrested, but not charged, in a political demonstration,” according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

The panel that adjudicated the charges found that Osei-Frimpong “had not furnished false information to the university and had not omitted ‘facts which are material’ from his UGA admission application.”

In an email Osei-Frimpong sent regarding his case, according to the Banner-Herald, he names five university administrators involved in the university’s investigation of him, and writes:

According to the investigative report, all of these people had the discretionary power to resolve this situation months ago; instead, they loaded down a panel of students and one staff person with the responsibility with presenting, adjudicating, and dismissing the Administration’s hastily contrived case. It strikes me that either each one of these people is very bad at his/her job … or their job was to hassle me and send a message about how the University Administration retaliates against political speech.

More here.


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Aaron V Garrett
Aaron V Garrett
2 years ago

That UGA put Osei-Frimpong through this and wasted so much of his time is outrageous. Report

kailadraper
2 years ago

Unbelievable that it was necessary to explain the difference between being arrested and being charged. Ridiculous affair.Report

mh
mh
Reply to  kailadraper
2 years ago

This actually trips up a lot of people on background investigations. A big one is arrests that lead to charges which are later dropped. A lot of people think that since the charges were dropped, that they can say they were never charged (they were). Years later people are asked a question and answer incorrectly based on their limited understanding of legalese. Shouldn’t be a big deal and a followup question or two should clarify everything – seems to have taken an unfortunate turn there though.Report

YAAGS
YAAGS
2 years ago

Another excellent demonstration of why those on the left shouldn’t try to limit speech they find problematic. It is ultimately the administrators who decide what is problematic and their definition is almost always “things that cost the university money”. Considering a lot of alumni are conservative–in fact, I’d guess most major donors are at least moderately conservative pretty much everywhere except maybe places like Berkeley–giving administrators more power to limit conservative speech is pretty much guaranteed to backfire massively.Report

Michel
Michel
Reply to  YAAGS
2 years ago

…but this is (another) case of conservatives trying to silence speech they don’t like, despite their protestations that they’re the champions of free speech. It seems to me that we should be drawing other lessons here, beyond just acknowledging that powers to curtail speech can harm anyone.Report

Justin Kalef
Justin Kalef
Reply to  Michel
2 years ago

Why draw a lesson about one side versus another, when one could draw a lesson about a matter of principle that applies to us all?

I’m curious what others here think about this one: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/us/ronald-sullivan-harvard.htmlReport

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Michel
2 years ago

How about “some people on the right are sincere about free speech; others on the right are hypocrites”?

Fortunately there are no hypocrites on the left.Report

Bill
Bill
Reply to  David Wallace
2 years ago

I’m sure that some people on the right are sincere in their support for free speech; but how does this case provide support for that claim?Report

YAAGS
YAAGS
Reply to  Michel
2 years ago

People generally try to wipe out their political opponents if they have a chance and attempt to signal their commitment to objective values at the same time. The people who are sincere in the latter regard are the minority. Not because everyone is Machiavellian, but because people are great at deceiving themselves and providing whatever post hoc justification they can for destroying their enemies and thinking of themselves as the hero of their own little story. This is why I prefer to use prudential reasoning rather than worthless tu quoques. Of course they’re out to destroy you. If you were being honest with yourself you would admit that you’re out to destroy them, too. Or at least their culture, religious beliefs, and value system. Don’t create a new battlespace unless you can be assured of victory. The lesson here is that, in this case, it is defeat that is assured.Report