Students at colleges and universities can face disciplinary actions for a variety of reasons, from issues like conduct code violations involving allegations of plagiarism or hazing to violations of Title IX following a finding of responsibility in a sexual misconduct case. If you are facing discipline from your college, it is critical to understand how you can protect yourself moving forward, what the process will involve, and how a lawyer who represents students can assist you with your case.
Hire a Lawyer Who Represents Students
Any student who is facing serious disciplinary action should hire a lawyer as soon as possible to help the student protect his or her rights and reputation. Disciplinary actions that include suspensions or expulsions are particularly serious, and it is particularly important to have an attorney on your side who can help you to prepare for a disciplinary hearing or to help you understand your rights under Title IX or other federal laws.
Understand the Allegations You Are Facing
Disciplinary actions from a college or university will often be linked to an alleged violation of the school’s Code of Conduct or the outcome of a Title IX complaint and investigation. It is critical to understand the specific allegations you are facing, what disciplinary actions the college may be able to take under its own policies or under state or federal law, and what defenses may be available to you.
Conduct code violations often result in disciplinary actions against students that can include a suspension or an expulsion from the college or university. Conduct code violations will be specific to the school and its particular code of conduct. You should learn more about your institution’s code of conduct in relation to the specific allegations you are facing, and you should seek advice from a lawyer about defending yourself in a disciplinary hearing. Even if you are not facing a suspension or expulsion, having a code of conduct violation on your academic record can result in significant repercussions later on, and you should do everything you can do to defend yourself.
Disciplinary actions are also taken when Title IX investigations result in a determination that a student is responsible for sexual misconduct. You should know that you have due process rights and that you are entitled to a fair investigation. If you are found responsible, you should also learn about your right to appeal. At most institutions, you must file a notice of your plans to appeal within a number of days after the decision, or else you can lose your right to appeal.
Prepare for the Disciplinary Hearing
When you are facing a disciplinary hearing, it will be extremely important to review your college’s or university’s rules for the disciplinary hearing and to learn about your ability to have a lawyer present. Regardless of whether you can have an attorney at the disciplinary hearing, you should work with a lawyer to develop a defense, which may involve gathering evidence and speaking with witnesses in support of your case.
If you are facing any kind of disciplinary action at your college or university, you should begin working with an attorney who represents students as soon as possible.