Albright College governs its student body using its Student Code of Conduct. The Code itself is located within the Compass, the College's student handbook. The Code and its judicial procedures are located within the Social Responsibility section. Students who fail to uphold the Code of Conduct will be met with potentially harsh sanctions from the school.
The process begins once a complaint is filed against a student for a violation. Any College community member can file a complaint against a student. Once a complaint is filed, it is reviewed for merit, and if it is deemed necessary, an Informational Meeting will be arranged with the accused student.
Accused students are required to attend a scheduled Informational Meeting. The meeting is meant to inform them of their rights, charges and the sanctions they may face. It is also meant to provide an overview of hearing procedures. The student will be given a chance to review the information against them. At the close of the meeting, the student can accept or deny responsibility for the violations.
Albright College Hearings
There are two types of hearings: Administrative Hearings and Community Standards Board Hearings. Hearings will follow the same process for both types. Also, the person bringing the accusations forward will be known as the "complainant" while the student facing charges will simply be known as the "accused student."
Administrative Hearing: Administrative Hearings are used for serious offenses. A specific hearing officer will be assigned to the case. The hearing officer can also be known as the chairperson.
Community Standards Board Hearing: The Community Standards Board holds a hearing for the most severe offenses. It consists of faculty, staff, and administrators, who judge and oversee the case.
The hearing will be called to order by the chairperson, who will also read the complaint. The accused student will then enter a plea. The complainant will present their evidence and witnesses first. The accused student can question both the complainant and their witnesses afterward. Next, the accused student will present evidence and witnesses, and the complainant can question the accused student and their witnesses. Following the presentations from both parties, the chairperson or the board members can question the accused student. Finally, the complainant and accused student will make summary statements before the board or chairperson goes to deliberations.
Hearings are restricted to just the College personnel, students, and witnesses involved. Students may have an advisor with them during Board hearings, but the advisor must be a member of the College community. A College advisor will not typically possess the argumentative skills or level of dedication that an attorney can provide to the student's defense. Even without attending a hearing, an attorney is still able to assist students from behind the scenes. Attorneys can provide keen insight into methods of evidence presentation and witness questioning that are regularly used in the courtroom. The use of these tactics will make students feel more confident in their case and can strongly influence the outcome of the hearing.
Albright College Sanctions
Albright College will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student (or student campus organization) is found responsible for violating the College's Student Code of Conduct. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation; and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Although the following list is not exhaustive, possible sanctions include:
- Ban from Campus
- Campus Restriction
- Community Service
- Disciplinary Probation
- Educational Sanction
- Hold on Student Account
- Housing Probation
- No Contact Order
- Referral to the Health Center
- Referral for an Alcohol or Drug Assessment
- Removal from Housing
- Restrictive Probation
- Summary/Interim suspension
- Trespass Warning
- Withholding of Diploma or Grades
In addition to any of the above sanctions deemed appropriate, Albright College will impose academic integrity sanctions for academic integrity violations.
Trying to Mitigate the Damage After an Adverse Finding and Sanctions is a Mistake
Regretfully, some Albright College students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the College disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term. Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that Albright College imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious. The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.
(Albright College sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences. Albright College will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.)
An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Albright College Student
Albright College and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an advocate between Albright College, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Albright College. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the College may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Albright College in matters involving Student Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic integrity charges should not be confused with Albright College disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Albright College as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations. An experienced attorney will know how to defend against Title IX charges and can advise accordingly.
Albright College Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are given a chance to make an appeal. The appeal must be made within 5 business days of the decision and submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students. The grounds for appeal are either a procedural violation or new evidence.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Albright College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.