Campus News

Alec Cook found responsible for crime of violence in university hearing, expelled

A non-academic misconduct hearing committee found former UW-Madison student Alec Cook “responsible for violating university student conduct policies related to a crime of violence.”

Image By: Courtesy of Dane County Jail

Alec Cook—a former UW-Madison student who will soon face trial on 21 criminal charges including sexual assault, stalking and strangulation—has been found responsible for a "crime of violence" in a university hearing and expelled from UW-Madison, according to university officials.

A non-academic misconduct hearing committee found Cook “responsible for violating university student conduct policies related to a crime of violence.” Chris Van Wagner, one of Cook's attorney's, said they would be appealing the decision to Chancellor Rebecca Blank before the March 24 deadline.  

Misconduct hearings at UW-Madison are tested against a preponderance of evidence standard, meaning the panel determines if it was more likely than not the student committed the reported violation. This is a much lower standard than what is used in criminal trials. 

Cook was previously placed under emergency suspension, meaning he was already barred from campus, because of “the severity of the allegations and the potential impact on the campus community,” according to Dean of Students Lori Berquam.

The former UW-Madison student was originally arrested Oct. 17, 2016, and since then, nearly a dozen women have come forward to file reports against him.

Van Wagner stressed that Cook was not given due process in the hearing, which was held Feb. 24 and resulted in a split decision. One of Van Wagner's major complaints was that he was not allowed to ask panelists about information they had prior to the hearing, as he said this would have shown potential biases.

No additional details were provided by a university spokesperson about the hearing, as the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act only allows the university to release three details: student's name, violation and sanction.

Van Wagner, who harshly criticized the university's announcement of the panel's vote, declined to provide the written decision for the hearing. 

Cook's next court date is March 31 for a hearing.

UPDATE March 14, 6:34 p.m.: This article was updated to include additional info.

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