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Iowa State player has school sanctions against him dropped

People in Iowa may have heard about the allegations brought against Iowa State University standout basketball player Yempabou Palo, who was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with another student back in May of 2012. The University, which is represented by the Iowa Attorney General, claims that Palo had non-consensual sex with a student, which is a violation of the University's code of student conduct. He was suspended from the basketball team, but he has since graduated from ISU, so the sanctions are more about clearing Palo's name than punishment at this point.

Palo's case came before the district court in Story County last November, which concluded that there was inadequate evidence to support the University's sanctions against Palo; the prosecutor also dropped the sex offense charges that had been filed against Palo. Palo may now safely put the incident behind him, but advocates of the student conduct code are not pleased with the outcome of the case.

University advocates are claiming that allowing the district court to apply criminal standards to a case that involves alleged student misconduct could allow the court to overrule University policy on student matters, which they say is not in the best interests of students and could violate federal laws pertaining to sexual violence in education. However, the flip side of this argument is that if students are not held to the same burden of proof in disciplinary proceedings as in criminal charges, they could be found guilty and face serious adverse sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from school, without sufficient evidence.

This controversy is not likely to end soon, but it illustrates the importance of having an experienced defense attorney to represent people in front of school tribunals and county and state courts alike. Any time there are serious consequences at stake, taking the proper steps to defend one's rights should always include seeking the counsel of an Iowa defense attorney.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "National group urges Iowa Supreme Court to uphold Palo sanctions," Jan. 2, 2015

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