Veteran Jeffery Maxwell Deserves Equal Protection of the Law

OWVA Supports Maxwell’s Appeal
From Oregon War Veterans Association

Salem, Oregon — Today, Jeffery Maxwell, the marine veteran WOU suspended after learning that he was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon on campus, filed a petition with the Oregon Court of Appeals for judicial review. This petition starts an appeal of Western Oregon University’s (WOU) decision to suspend Maxwell and seeks to override the university’s requirements to be reinstated into the college. These requirements add an extra burden solely on Maxwell for his reinstatement to any university under the Oregon University System.

“This particular case encompasses much more than the Second Amendment right,” said Greg Warnock, the Executive Director of the Oregon War Veterans Association. “This case is about protecting this veteran’s rights. Our association is about placing veterans first for their service to our country, and we want to ensure that Jeff Maxwell receives that same courtesy.”

In January, Maxwell was arrested for carrying a concealed handgun on campus. The Polk County District Attorney’s Office later dismissed these charges when Maxwell confirmed that he had the necessary permit to carry a concealed weapon. However, the dismissal of his charges did not change the university’s disciplinary decision to suspend Maxwell until June 12, 2009. .

“This issue has become a matter of principle,” said Maxwell. “I should not be punished for something that is unwarranted. I’ve lost my educational benefits from the G.I. Bill, and have been publicly humiliated in front of my peers. The university’s suspension decision is no more supported by the law than was my false arrest for lawful possession of concealed handgun. I should be allowed to re-enroll under the same terms as anyone else.”

Without the appeal, Maxwell must complete a 10-page paper, with citations of authority to be reinstated into the university in June. Even with the completion of the paper, WOU still has the power and authority to accept or deny the essay, meaning it could further delay Maxwell’s re-enrollment. WOU does not impose this type of enrollment requirement on anyone but Maxwell.

“It will be several months until the court issues its decision, so time becomes a factor,” said Jesse Barton, Maxwell’s legal counsel and one of OWVA’s attorneys. “Our goal of the petition is to allow Jeff Maxwell, an honorably discharged Marine who compiled an excellent record at Western Oregon and at Linn-Benton Community College before that, and who is on the staff of the Mitchell Group Home in Albany, to continue his pursuit of his chosen professional field.”

The university now has 30 days to provide the Court of Appeals with the entire record of the university’s proceedings regarding this case. A court date is expected in the upcoming months.

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