Caldwell University originated in 1939 and now has an enrollment of roughly 2,200. The administration has continued to develop its Code of Student Conduct to “safeguard the freedom to learn” and maintain the “safety of persons” throughout the campus community. The provisions state that those who fail to maintain the standards of behavior and integrity may be subject to “disciplinary action as deemed appropriate.”
How Can a Student Rights Attorney Help?
Students and their families are devoting significant time and resources to obtain a college education. Disciplinary matters can potentially disrupt your goals and your future and should be taken seriously.
Having a seasoned attorney will ensure the institution's guidelines and policies are interpreted. You will have an advocate to protect your rights. Often disciplinary matters involve various types of evidence that need to be closely reviewed and scrutinized. This individual will also provide you support and accompany you to hearings, interviews, and other events.
An attorney may enter into negotiations on your behalf. This may involve administration from a disciplinary office, the office of academic integrity, the Title IX Coordinator, and others. Although it is always recommended that students facing allegations retain legal counsel much sooner, an attorney may be a tremendous asset if appealing an adverse ruling.
Student Rights Lawyer
You are entitled to constitutional rights that allow you to seek legal counsel when faced with allegations of wrongdoing. At many educational institutions, the provisions specify that students can choose an advisor. You should consider retaining legal counsel to fill this role and be sure you are properly prepared.
In many cases, students and/or their parents take allegations such as academic misconduct too lightly. It may not be until the proceedings are well underway before it becomes apparent that the outcome may result in potentially long-term consequences.
Title IX Matters
Educational institutions across the country are responsible for maintaining compliance with Title IX. This was among several Education Amendments of 1972 implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is now responsible for enforcement.
Title IX protects individuals from forms of discrimination that are sexually-based. It applies to how schools manage their admissions, available benefits, athletic participation and more. Schools that fail to comply with these provisions risk losing eligibility for critical federal education funding.
The following are some examples of potential violations:
- Sexually-based harassment: May include requests for sexual favors and other unwanted advances.
- Sexual violence: Types of physical harassment that is committed against an unwilling victim. Examples may include sexual assault, coercion, and more.
- Gender-oriented harassment: These acts may be perpetrated through slurs or stereotypes “based on a student's actual or perceived sex.” Often these forms of harassment target those whose sexual orientation does not conform to societal norms.
They have a designated Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator that are responsible for compliance. The staff has created a comprehensive Title IX program that addresses discrimination, harassment, mutual consent, domestic violence, stalking, and more.
General Disciplinary Issues
There are many types of “general” disciplinary violations. At Caldwell University, these are contained within the Code of Student Conduct.
Violations may be drug or alcohol-related. Examples include underage possession or consumption of alcohol or possession of controlled substances.
Hazing is strictly prohibited. This form of misconduct in campus settings is most likely to involve athletic teams, fraternities, and sororities.
Those who live in college or university housing are also subject to disciplinary measures for certain violations. Examples may include excessive noise, disorderly behavior, smoking, etc.
Colleges and universities implement disciplinary procedures for acts of academic misconduct. At Caldwell University, all students must comply with their Academic Integrity Policy. These forms of misconduct are generally related to cheating and plagiarism. These are viewed as acts that demonstrate dishonesty and do not conform to the institution's core values. Some examples may include:
- Engaging in communication with someone else during an examination
- Submitting a paper or report for credit that was created by someone else
- Participation in a scheme to obtain an unauthorized copy of an examination
Schools have various processes in place to handle disciplinary actions; however, they tend to have many similarities. Many institutions conduct hearings where all parties convene to review and evaluate the evidence. The school may have a designated administrator, department head, or hearing panel that rules on these matters. These proceedings are not intended to mimic judicial matters.
At Caldwell University, they use a model that has a Student Conduct Board. Having legal representation is strongly encouraged for those defending against any allegations. Your attorney may assist you in preparing effective statements and responses to the questions that you are likely to encounter.
Penalties and Sanctions
If the allegations are proven, a student may face sanctions and penalties. These are likely to include suspension or expulsion from the institution. Keep in mind that disciplinary matters may be documented on a student's records and/or transcripts. This can pose problems if transferring to another school or applying for a graduate program.
Appealing a Ruling
The majority of schools allow parties to appeal an unfavorable ruling. At Caldwell University, a written request for appeal must be filed within five business days after a decision. Common grounds for appeal include a procedural error, the emergence of new evidence or that the penalty imposed is disproportionate to the violation.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is also available to defend against criminal charges. This applies regardless of whether the criminal offense was related to any student disciplinary actions. He recognizes what is at stake and provides aggressive representation in these matters.
Attorney Represents Students at Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
The Lento Law Firm has spent many years defending the rights of students in various types of proceedings. He understands how allegations that relate to sexual harassment, academic misconduct, or criminal wrongdoing can have adverse consequences that impact your future. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.