East Stroudsburg University (ESU) initially was established as East Stroudsburg Normal School back in 1893. The current enrollment now exceeds 7,000 students. The student disciplinary process is largely dictated by the PA State System of Higher Education. Specifically, they follow the Student Disciplinary Due Process Requirements.
Ways That a Student Rights Lawyer Can Assist
Post-secondary institutions today are increasingly focused on their reputation. This is the result of a very competitive landscape and the ease with which negative information is circulated. They seek to maintain high standards of academic integrity and excellent campus safety.
Many administrators are increasingly pressured to hold students accountable for any violations. This can result in disproportionately harsh sanctions and penalties being imposed. These administrators are often overworked and may move hastily through the conduct proceedings without affording you due process.
University administrators are typically permitted to use their discretion in developing their disciplinary procedures and processes. There may be variations in the investigative process, the format of hearings, and more. Having a seasoned attorney to properly interpret your school's unique guidelines is very important.
Students and their loved ones are sometimes making significant sacrifices in time and money to pursue post-secondary education. An adverse outcome such as being suspended or expelled from the school may jeopardize these goals. In some instances, students and their parents may not initially realize the potential long-term consequences that can result.
It is strongly recommended that you choose an attorney that is familiar with this realm of practice. This should occur promptly after being informed of the allegations to allow ample time for preparation. Most schools do allow parties to select an advisor for support. It is important to have a lawyer function in this capacity. You will be better prepared to deliver effective statements and responses to questions.
Your attorney may potentially recognize opportunities to engage in discussions with administrators to negotiate a favorable resolution. Having legal representation will increase the likelihood that these lines of communication may exist. Your attorney may also accompany you to formal interviews, hearings, and other proceedings.
Student Rights Attorney
Student disciplinary matters typically fall into three different categories. These include “general” disciplinary violations, acts of academic dishonesty or misconduct, and violations of federal Title IX guidelines.
Understanding Title IX at ESU
All U.S. educational institutions must comply with federal Title IX guidelines. This was a civil rights amendment originally introduced in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education. The provisions prohibit all forms of sexually-based discrimination. Failing to properly adhere to Title IX may result in losing eligibility for federal funding. Ongoing information, guidance, and enforcement are handled by The Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
Colleges are tasked with designating a Title IX Coordinator who creates written procedures outlining how complaints are managed. Institutions are afforded some flexibility in creating their processes. One key is that fairness is maintained for all parties.
Title IX violations may involve impeding or otherwise precluding anyone's right to partake in programs or activities based on their gender or sexual orientation. Title IX also forbids acts of sexual harassment. These actions acts may occur by promoting false stereotypes, making unwanted sexual advances, and more.
Physical sexual violence such as assault is also deemed as a form of harassment. Here, the victims that have not given consent to participate in any sexual activity. This is also applicable to victims that are debilitated or cannot legally give consent.
The University will promptly “address acts of sex-based discrimination, harassment, or gender violence (collectively referred to as sexual misconduct).” This is executed through education and “identifying clear reporting requirements, investigating all alleged violations of policy, and as appropriate, disciplining members of the community found in violation.”
The Title IX Coordinator at ESU is located in the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services. In emergencies, individuals are encouraged to call 911 to reach a police dispatcher with Monroe County.
General Disciplinary Matters
Several possible actions that constitute a “general” violation. Some of the most common are as follows:
- Alcohol-related: Infraction involving underage consumption of alcohol or using false identification to purchase alcoholic beverages.
- Drug-related: May include unlawful possession of controlled substances
- Unauthorized solicitation: Using the school's property as a venue to sell or distribute products, services, or information without obtaining permission.
- Smoking in the school's buildings, residential halls, etc.
The ESU Hazing Prevention Policy prohibits hazing. The University states that acts of hazing are committed knowingly and with intent. These acts are coercive and commonly the victim is being initiated or otherwise admitted to some organization related to the institution. This applies to organizations including athletic teams, fraternities, sororities, clubs, and more.
In addition to being a disciplinary violation, hazing is a crime. Consent is not an acceptable defense in either the campus or criminal processes. The entire organization is potentially subject to harsh consequences when individual members commit these offenses.
ESU's disciplinary provisions emphasized that using technology for prohibited uses will not be tolerated. This includes viewing, sending, or downloading obscene or sexually explicit material. This also applies to communications that involve threats or sexual harassment.
Colleges and universities maintain high standards of academic integrity. Cheating is strictly prohibited. Common examples include having unauthorized communication with others during an exam or using phones or other mobile devices during an exam.
Plagiarism is another common form of academic misconduct at ESU. Students must cite or reference all sources used. Students that fail to give credit to a source may be subject to “failure in the course and for further academic discipline.”
Disciplinary Information Contained in Student Records or Transcripts
The University Policy for the Retention of Records operates in accordance with the requirements of the federal and state government. Unlike academic records, those regarding student disciplinary activity are typically retained for five years.
Student disciplinary matters may also coincide with criminal charges involving the local or campus police. Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience defending clients in criminal matters in courts throughout Pennsylvania. You will benefit from having aggressive defense on both fronts.
Attorney Represents College and University Students Accused of Misconduct
For many years now, the Lento Law Firm has defended the rights of students in various types of proceedings. Some examples include allegations relating to sexual harassment, academic misconduct, or criminal wrongdoing. Contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.