In Rhode Island, there are currently over 61,000 students attending a college, university or other postsecondary institution on a full-time basis. Leaders in higher education today place significant emphasis on maintaining academic integrity; therefore, actions such as cheating or other dishonest conduct is not tolerated. Schools all have written procedures outlining their student disciplinary process. In most cases, a hearing is held where all parties are present. Busy administrators may lose sight of an accused student's rights to due process. These matters can have difficult consequences for those in violation such as a suspension or expulsion from the school. The Lento Law Firm has the experience necessary to defend students facing such disciplinary actions and is also able to assist with the process of appealing a ruling.
Documentation of Misconduct
It is important to remember that college and universities maintain records and transcripts for all students. Having evidence of misconduct contained within these documents can create potential problems in the future. For example, if you were to apply to another college or a graduate school program the admissions staff may decide to deny you admittance. This is a truly legitimate concern for those seeking entrance to law or medical schools that perform more comprehensive background checks.
Reviews of Sanctions
Some schools allow students found to be in violation to request that the severity of the sanctions be reconsidered. Keep in mind that this sanction review process is not an appeals process; however, it may be an element that is potentially considered in an appeal. A sanction review merely asserts that the penalties imposed are too harsh for the violation that occurred. Many schools require you to submit a written request with supporting documentation explaining why the sanctions are excessive. In the appeals process, you are disputing the merit of the finding (ruling) of the actual violation. Having legal counsel that is familiar with this area of practice is strongly recommended. An attorney is likely to effectively manage the appeals process and also may negotiate sanctions on your behalf.
Understanding the Appeals Process
Schools typically allow students to appeal an unfavorable ruling in some form or another. Different schools have different policies which must be specifically followed for an appeal to be valid. The University of Rhode Island, for example, maintains a University Conduct System that contains provisions regarding appeals. The University Appeals Board on Student Conduct is responsible for hearing appeals. Students found to be in violation have only a three-day period to file an appeal. There are four potential grounds for appealing which include:
- That information was fraudulently presented or withheld during the disciplinary hearing process
- A student's basic rights were not protected in the process
- That a deviation from proper procedures occurred
- Newly discovered information has surfaced that was previously unavailable
Having Seasoned Legal Representation for an Appeal
To prevail in an appeal you must clearly present a written summary that justifies your appeal. Having help from an experienced attorney will likely result in a document that is highly impactful and worthy of consideration. At the minimum, the document may have enough merit to create some degree of leverage that warrants a potential negotiation. What makes this process more difficult is the short period of time in which an appeal must be submitted.
Attorney for Student Academic Disciplinary Appeals in Rhode Island
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney that understands how records of academic misconduct can be problematic in the future. He is experienced in how to counter allegations and ensure your rights are protected. Those in Rhode Island seeking aggressive student disciplinary defense are encouraged to call (888)535-3686 for a consultation.
- Brown University
- Bryant University
- Community College of Rhode Island
- Johnson & Wales University – Providence
- Naval War College
- New England Institute of Technology
- Providence College
- Rhode Island College
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Roger Williams University
- Salve Regina University
- University of Rhode Island
Regrettably, an academic misconduct finding of responsibility can derail an accused student's academic and professional goals and some students and parents do not recognize this concern until it may be too late. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct charges, in addition to the short-term consequences such academic and disciplinary sanctions, there will be long-term consequences. Internships, graduate school opportunities, and employment opportunities can all be adversely impacted by a finding of responsibility.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to properly address such concerns as early as possible in the disciplinary process. There are times, however, that it necessary to appeal an adverse outcome, and Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges in Rhode Island and throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Rhode Island and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected at all stages of the academic misconduct disciplinary process, including the appeal stage - Contact National Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.