United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Constitutional Law — due process
Even if a public university violated its own procedures in dismissing a medical student, it did not violate the Due Process Clause.
“Charleston seems to be claiming that the school promised him the procedures set out in the university’s disciplinary policy. See Complaint, ¶ 33 (‘Defendant failed to comply with its own policies and due process protections set forth in its Student Disciplinary Policy by forwarding a complaint of academic dishonesty, i.e., plagiarism to the [Student Progress Committee] without intermediate review of a Student Discipline Subcommittee.’); Complaint, ¶ 34 (‘Defendant failed to comply with its own policies and due process protections set forth in its Student Disciplinary Policy by failing to allow Plaintiff a hearing, to be present and defend himself from the allegations against him, to confront the witnesses against him or to address any of the evidence presented against him.’). We have rejected similar claims of an ‘interest in contractually-guaranteed university process’ many times, see, e.g., Park v. Indiana University School of Dentistry, 692 F.3d 828, 832 (7th Cir. 2012), but we will be clear once more: a plaintiff does not have a federal constitutional right to state-mandated process. See Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 250–51 (1983) (‘Process is not an end in itself. … The State may choose to require procedures … but in making that choice the State does not create an independent substantive right.’); Osteen v. Henley, 13 F.3d 221, 225 (7th Cir. 1993) (‘As we tirelessly but unavailingly remind counsel in this court, a violation of state law (for purposes of this case the student judicial code may be treated as a state law) is not a denial of due process, even if the state law confers a procedural right.’). Like other student-plaintiffs before him, all that Charleston alleges is that the medical school conferred on him certain procedural rights. It may have been unfair for the university not to follow its own procedures in Charleston’s case, but it was not unconstitutional.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Conlon, J., Flaum, J.