Facing School Disciplinary Action? You Need Expert Help Now.
It's the worst nightmare for students and parents alike: sitting down in front of a university disciplinary committee facing an uncertain future at the school. Colleges and universities take student misconduct very seriously, and punishment for alleged violations can be harsh and swift. A fun-filled night gone awry, an academic misstep, a misunderstanding on a date, or even a momentary lapse in judgment can throw your entire future career into jeopardy before you even realize what's at stake, let alone know how to defend yourself.
This is not a time to try and “go it alone.” You need an experienced attorney advisor who knows how student discipline proceedings work—someone who can provide expert advice, provide wise counsel, and help you quickly prepare an effective defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a nationally renowned expert in student rights and student defense, having helped hundreds of students navigate even the most challenging student defense cases in colleges and universities across the country.
Student Misconduct Hearings Can Jeopardize Your Career
When you face a student disciplinary committee, there's often a lot more at stake than just a “slap on the wrist,” so to speak. Penalties for violations of the school's Student Conduct Code or Honor Code can be as mild as a reprimand, but they can also result in probationary sanctions, suspension, and even expulsion from the school. These penalties can be extremely costly for parents and students alike because they can result in:
- Lost tuition
- Lost time
- Costly restitution requirements
- A permanent notation on your academic record, possibly hurting your chances of getting hired
- Difficulties resuming your education (if you're facing dismissal)
- A tarnished professional or personal reputation
- Depending on the offense, possible criminal charges
The real disadvantage for accused students in these situations is that they have neither time nor a clear understanding of the situation to defend themselves properly. Many university disciplinary committees will move quickly to sit the student down and deliver whatever punishment or sanction they believe fits the violation. The initiation of code of conduct or disciplinary proceedings usually takes place within mere days of whatever events transpired. Before they are even aware of what happened, students may find themselves on university probation, or worse, suspended or expelled.
In short, no one should take student misconduct allegations lightly. Without proper due process, and without expert advisory counsel, your (or your child's) entire professional future could be at risk—all due to one misunderstanding or misstep!
How the Student Disciplinary Process Works
Every college or university has its own established policies and procedures for dealing with misconduct allegations, but the process usually works similarly across the board. Here's a quick overview of how the process works:
- Someone files a complaint, alleging misconduct or some sort of violation on your part.
- The appropriate office reviews the complaint. You may be contacted for an informal discussion, especially if the allegation is a mild infraction, and in some cases, the issue may be resolved here.
- For more significant accusations, the school's disciplinary body will conduct an investigation. This may be a Dean, a Conduct Officer, an Honor Council, an Academic Progress Committee, etc.
- You are called to a formal hearing. You'll hear the complaints against you and any evidence, and you'll be invited to give your side.
- The disciplinary body (usually a committee or council) will review the events of the hearing and make a determination and recommendation of punishment, usually to a Dean.
- The student will be notified in writing of the punishment.
- The student will have a window of time to appeal, if applicable.
- There may be a separate appeals hearing, after which the decision will be final.
Why You Need an Attorney-Advisor
School disciplinary hearings often operate similarly to a court hearing or trial, with the exception that these hearings aren't legally required to abide by court protocols. Students aren't necessarily considered innocent until proven guilty, and although schools usually provide due process to the accused student in their policies, things don't always work that way in real life. An accused student is automatically at a disadvantage simply because the review board knows the process and the student does not. And because these schools face public pressure to maintain a pristine reputation, they tend to administer justice swiftly, often before a student can even find their bearings.
The good news for accused students and their parents is you have the right to an attorney-advisor to help guide them through the disciplinary process. Since it's not a courtroom or a legal proceeding, usually the attorney doesn't function in an official capacity, but rather in an advisory role. However, having this support system is crucial because the experienced advisor understands how student disciplinary hearings work. An advisor can help you gather witnesses for your defense, compile evidence in your favor, and advise you as to how best to respond to the charges. Furthermore, an attorney-advisor's presence helps keep the school accountable to its own policies, so your due process rights are better protected. The Lento Law Firm has an excellent track record in assisting students to obtain a better outcome in disciplinary hearings, often saving them from dismissal and rescuing their careers in the process.
How We Can Help
The Lento Law Firm can provide expert help for students navigating all types of student discipline cases and other school disputes. These include the following:
- Academic misconduct—e.g., if you're accused of cheating, plagiarism, falsifying data, unauthorized collaboration, impersonation, improper handling of research, or other related offenses.
- Code of Conduct violations—e.g., if you're accused of drug use, hazing, stalking, cyberbullying, threatening behavior, etc.
- Title IX issues—e.g., if you're accused of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
- Academic shortfalls/remediation—e.g., if you're facing remediation, probation, suspension, or dismissal for alleged academic failures.
- Professionalism violations—e.g., if you're training for a professional field like medicine or nursing and you are accused of professional misconduct by that specific school or department.
Whom We Can Help
As a widely experienced attorney advisor, Joseph Lento can provide expert student discipline help for college and university students, including those in graduate and professional programs, in almost any and every type of case. We commonly are called upon to help in the following areas:
- Undergraduate students
- Graduate students
- Medical students
- Nursing students
- Dental students
- Physician's assistant students
- Students studying abroad
- College employees accused of misconduct
Where We Can Help
Joseph D. Lento is licensed to practice as an attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and he is qualified to serve as an attorney-advisor at any college, university, graduate or professional program, K-12 school, or training institute nationwide. He has represented thousands of students at over a thousand colleges and universities across the United States from coast to coast, and has unparalleled expertise in the unique practice area of Student Discipline Defense. Click here to learn more about how we can help you regardless of your school's location in the United States.
If you or your child is facing any type of student disciplinary hearing, your academic and professional future may be at stake. Don't risk your future career and your reputation by entering such proceedings at a disadvantage. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has many years of successful experience helping students deal with unfair allegations, disciplinary processes, and other school-rights-related issues.
Help is just a phone call away! Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to discuss your case and your options.