Centenary University was originally founded in 1867 in Hackettstown. The administration outlines the core values of the institution and the standards for behavior and integrity in their Code of Citizenship and Ethical Behavior. Those who fail to adhere to the provisions may “face action through the conduct process” and this may result in appropriate sanctions and penalties.
Retaining Representation to Protect Student Rights
Students recognize that their pursuit of a college education is an important step in their long-term goals and future aspirations. This is a multi-year commitment that can consume significant time and financial resources. College and universities are increasingly facing pressures to maintain a positive reputation. They hold students to high standards of conduct and academic integrity.
Allegations of wrongdoing are typically investigated by busy administrators who are focused on promptly resolving these matters. Under these circumstances, the rights of the accused may not properly be acknowledged. Those who are subject to disciplinary actions should consult with representation that will advocate for their best interests.
A seasoned attorney will properly interpret the school's guidelines and policies to ensure the process is fair and equitable. Depending on the circumstances, there may be deficient evidence that should be scrutinized. Your attorney can accompany you in hearing, interviews, and other events in the disciplinary process.
Your attorney may engage the appropriate university representation in negotiations on your behalf. This may involve officials from the academic integrity office, the Title IX Coordinator, and others responsible for disciplinary matters. Students must consult with an attorney promptly, as doing so after an adverse ruling has already been made places you at a disadvantage.
Student Rights Lawyer
Most schools allow parties involved in disciplinary matters to be accompanied by an advisor. Choosing experienced legal counsel to serve in this role is strongly recommended. This will ensure you have a better understanding of what to expect and that you are sufficiently prepared.
Three general types of disciplinary action exist in the post-secondary educational setting. These include “general” disciplinary issues, those of academic misconduct, and those that relate to Title IX.
Title IX Matters
The Title IX amendment was implemented in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education to address concerns related to sexually-based discrimination. Actions that may violate Title IX include sexual harassment, assault or intimidation. Educational institutions must ensure that individuals are not discriminated against or otherwise prevented from equal access to programs and benefits based on gender or sexual identity.
Institutions are required to adhere to Title IX provisions, as doing so is necessary to maintain eligibility for federal education funding. Complaints are to be promptly investigated and handled equitably. At Centenary University, the Title IX Coordinator is the Director of Human Resources and the Vice President for Student Life serves as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
At Centenary University, an investigation is conducted that includes gathering evidence and witness testimony. Your attorney will likely assist you in preparing effective statements and responses to questions. The administration uses a preponderance of the evidence standard when making its ruling.
General Disciplinary Issues
The University's Code of Student Conduct addresses what may be considered to be “general” disciplinary concerns. Some of the most common include the following:
- Hazing: The victims are most commonly those joining athletic teams or fraternity-type organizations
- Alcohol and drugs: Examples include drug possession, underage alcohol consumption, and using a false identification card
- Fire and safety-related issues
- Smoking in campus properties
- Improper computer usage
Students who live in college or university housing also are subject to various rules. At Centenary University, these are addressed in the Residential Living Community Standards (RLCS). Residents may be held responsible for the actions of their guests. Some examples of violations that may result in the termination of a housing agreement, suspension or expulsion include:
- Possession of weapons, explosives or illegal drugs or paraphernalia
- Tampering with fire safety equipment
- Theft or destruction of university property or property belonging to others
Acts deemed as those of academic misconduct are viewed as contrary to the principles of institutions of higher education. The majority of these acts are associated with dishonesty such as cheating and plagiarism. Examples may include:
- Unauthorized communication with others during an examination
- Submitting someone else's work for credit as if it were your own
- Involvement in schemes to access copies of examinations
At Centenary University, the Academic Standards Committee has established a detailed process for investigating incidents of possible academic dishonesty. Students found to have been involved in “cheating, plagiarizing or submitting non-original work” are issued a grade of zero and are likely to be “dismissed from the class”.
These matters are typically referred to the Academic Review Board for further review and sanctioning. This Board may work together with the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students to ensure violators are held accountable.
Sanctions and Penalties
Students that are found to have violated the provisions relating to general conduct, academic integrity or Title IX may be subject to suspension or expulsion from the institution. The majority of institutions have an appeals process in place. There are generally tight deadlines for filing an appeal following a ruling. Having assistance from an attorney is critical in these circumstances.
Students may have information that pertains to disciplinary history added to their records or transcripts. This may create difficulties with being admitted to another school or graduate-level programs.
Students that are charged with criminal offenses should also promptly contact the Lento Law Firm for effective defense. This applies regardless of whether the offense is related to any student disciplinary actions.
Experienced Attorney Protects the Rights of Students in New Jersey
Are you a student or the parent of a student that is faced with allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct at a local college or university? It is critical to obtain representation that is familiar with these institutional proceedings. Joseph D. Lento has been defending the rights of students faced with allegations for many years now. Please contact the office at (888) 535-3686 today for additional information.