Students at a higher education institution are required to comply with the institution's code of conduct. This code details school policy, disciplinary processes, and potential repercussions for violations. When a student does something that constitutes a violation of the code of conduct, schools are coaxed to take some sort of corrective action. Oftentimes, the college or university's disciplinary board reviews the complaint and schedules a disciplinary hearing to sort out the alleged misconduct.
Experience demonstrates that students at times tend to have fairly lax attitudes about disciplinary hearings. The same graduate student who would spend hours on end studying for an exam, or undergraduate student who would rehearse their presentation countless time before presenting, will whiz into a disciplinary hearing without making preparations. They seem to have developed a naive attitude about these processes, thinking that if they simply tell the truth, things will be fine. Or they may have shrugged off the charges, and have convinced themselves that the hearing and its outcome are not a big deal. This couldn't be further from the truth.
The reality is, if the charges are serious, there is a lot at stake for a student. Students have documented walking into a hearing unprepared and being bombarded with difficult questions that they weren't able to answer expressively or persuasively. Some students who believed that the “truth” was enough gave confusing accounts of events and saying things they shouldn't say out of frustration. And before they know it, they are facing repercussions that make continuing their education difficult, and that will impair their future.
This is why it's important for students to retain legal counsel. This false sense of security that students often adopt is not reality, as schools will not hesitate to expel you if they see fit. The skills that attorneys use to defend their clients in cases, are the same skills you'll need to effectively make your case. A skilled attorney will give you useful pointers, ensure that the hearing is fair, and preserve the rights you are entitled to by a school.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento handles cases of academic or disciplinary disputes involving:
- Academic misconduct
- Residential misconduct
- Underage drinking
- Unfair treatment
- Dismissals based on failing grades
- Title IX sexual misconduct
- Hazing, etc.
For the best hearing outcome, it pays for students to retain an attorney immediately when they receive word of the allegations. However, some students wait until they receive an unfavorable determination. Even in this phase of disciplinary processes, an attorney can help you score an appeal.
An appeal is a procedure that permits an institution to review a decision it has previously made. However, it cannot be granted on mere dissatisfaction, it must be based on valid reason or grounds. An attorney can help you include supporting evidence for these grounds and maximize your chances of being granted an appeal.
Pennsylvania & New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
Students have a right to a fair hearing, and they have a right to appeal a determination. In order for these efforts to be successful, it's important to have a knowledge attorney or advisor on your side. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping students in these predicaments come out on top, and he can do the same for you, whether in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Contact him today for help.