The New Jersey City University (NJCU) was established in 1927 and has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 6,100. Dr. Henderson, the president of the institution, says the school has “one of the most diverse student populations in the nation.” The administration has high expectations regarding student conduct, integrity, and strictly prohibits discrimination.
How a Student Rights Lawyer Can Assist
Are you a student or parent of a student that has been the subject of disciplinary allegations at a college or university? Those who have chosen to obtain a college education are making a multi-year commitment of time and financial resources toward this goal. In today's post-secondary institutions, acts of alleged misconduct are taken seriously. An unfavorable outcome in these matters can quickly shatter your long-term plans.
The majority of schools allow for parties to these actions to choose an advisor for support. It is very important to retain an experienced student rights attorney to serve in this capacity. Having seasoned counsel ensures your school's unique policies and rules are properly interpreted.
Your attorney will function as an advocate for your rights and best interests. He or she may view the evidence from a fresh perspective and challenge its strength. Your attorney may accompany you to hearings, interviews, and other events.
An attorney may enter into negotiations on your behalf. This may involve campus administrators responsible for disciplinary student affairs, the academic integrity office, a Title IX Coordinator, and others. Students facing allegations should secure legal counsel promptly, as doing so further along in the process places you at a clear disadvantage.
In today's college and university environment, administrators are increasingly asked to handle additional responsibilities. The majority of those handling disciplinary matters are doing so in addition to their primary functions. These individuals may move with haste and not properly consider the rights of accused students.
Student Rights Attorney
Disciplinary matters at today's colleges and universities are generally grouped into three main categories. There are “general” disciplinary matters, those involving academic misconduct, and those that potentially violate federal Title IX guidelines.
Title IX Matters
All educational institutions must adopt a policy of compliance with federal Title IX guidelines. This was a 1972 civil rights amendment established by the U.S. Department of Education prohibiting sexually-based discrimination. Failing to comply can result in losing eligibility for federal funding. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides current guidance and enforcement.
Institutions designate a Title IX Coordinator who develops written procedures outlining how complaints are handled. Schools are afforded some leeway in creating their processes, with the primary focus of maintaining impartiality and avoiding any conflicts of interest.
Violations may involve obstructing or otherwise preventing anyone's right to partake in programs or activities based on their sex or sexual orientation. Title IX also forbids acts of sexual harassment. These are acts that often promote inappropriate stereotypes or create a hostile environment for others.
Physical acts of sexual violence such as assault or coercion are also forms of harassment. These are actions that victimize someone that has not given consent to participate in sexual activity. A sexual assault may also involve a victim that is incapacitated or is unable to legally consent.
The University's Office of Student Affairs has developed its Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy Governing Students. These guidelines effectively comply with provisions related to Title IX and applicable state statutes.
General Disciplinary Issues
The NJCU Student Code of Conduct defines the behavioral expectations of the institution and potential sanctions (penalties) that may be imposed. There are various types of “general” disciplinary violations. Violations may be drug or alcohol-related. Examples include underage consumption of alcohol or possession of controlled substances.
Hazing is strictly prohibited. This is a form of misconduct in campus settings that is most common among athletic teams, fraternities, and sororities. Those living in college or university housing also must comply with many residential guidelines. Potential violations may include excessive noise, disorderly behavior, smoking, etc.
At New Jersey City University, the Academic Standards Policies relate to “intellectual and personal honesty” in the scholastic environment. Acts that violate academic misconduct are viewed as opposed to the standards for institutions of higher education. Most are acts that demonstrate dishonesty such as cheating and plagiarism. Examples may include:
- Unauthorized communications with another individual during an examination
- Presenting someone else's work for credit as if it were your own
- Conspiring to obtain unauthorized access to copies of examinations
NJCU guidelines define plagiarism as using “someone else's words, ideas, phrases, sentences or data” as if they were one's own. When a student uses information from a source, they are expected to properly cite or reference it. Statements used verbatim should be contained by quotation marks.
Potentially Imposed Sanctions and Penalties
Institutions do have unique disciplinary processes; however, the outcome will involve making a ruling or decision and possibly imposing penalties. These generally include suspension or expulsion from the academic institution. Most schools have an appeals process in place. Having help from your attorney if seeking to pursue an appeal.
Another consequence of disciplinary matters is that this negative information may be retained in their student records or transcripts. This can create long-term challenges when applying for admission to another school or graduate program.
To a much lesser extent, some schools require a Dean's Certification letter or a similar form for record verification. They are more commonly seen in graduate-level programs of law or business. Students must typically provide consent for this type of release.
Potential Criminal Charges
Depending on the circumstances, student disciplinary matters may also coincide with criminal charges. These may occur within the jurisdiction of a campus or local police department. Students charged with such offenses should be aware that the Lento Law Firm will aggressively defend you on both fronts.
Student Rights Lawyer Provides Representation in New Jersey
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney with a wealth of experience effectively defending the rights of students that are facing disciplinary or criminal allegations. He is very familiar with navigating these proceedings and creating a comprehensive strategy that seeks to best protect your future. To get started today, contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.