Ramapo College was founded in 1969 in Mahwah, New Jersey. The enrollment of the institution now exceeds 6,100 students. The Office of Student Conduct promotes responsibility, respect for the community, and prompt enforcement of potential violations. The disciplinary process is conducted in a “fair and impartial” manner that is “complemented by sanctions.”
The Benefit of Retaining a Student Rights Attorney
College and university officials are empowered to investigate, evaluate evidence, and issue rulings in student disciplinary proceedings. The process is not designed to emulate that used in a court of law. Comparatively, these institutional processes may lack many of the safeguards found in the formal judicial system. This could result in less emphasis being placed on the rights of the accused.
Students enrolled at post-secondary institutions (and their families) are likely making tremendous sacrifices to pursue future educational goals. If a student is the subject of a disciplinary investigation, the outcome may result in harsh penalties that adversely impact these plans. In some instances, accused students and their families make the mistake of underestimating the true potential consequences of these disciplinary proceedings.
Most schools allow all parties involved in disciplinary matters to choose an advisor. This is an individual that will support and accompany them in the proceedings. It is strongly recommended that an attorney is retained to serve in this capacity. Securing legal representation should be a priority after being made aware of any allegations. This is critical to ensure sufficient time for preparation.
Your attorney will interpret your school's unique procedures and guidelines. He or she may also work with you to deliver clear statements and effectively respond to questions. Your attorney may also potentially enter into discussions with institutional administrators to negotiate a favorable resolution on your behalf.
College and university leaders may be facing pressure to hold students accountable for misconduct. Busy administrators may hurriedly move through the disciplinary process without properly acknowledging the due process. These factors may lead to imposing sanctions and penalties that are disproportionate to the violation. Having an attorney that regularly works in this realm of practice ensures that your rights are well-protected.
Student Rights Attorney
Disciplinary violations can be categorized into one of three separate categories. These include “general” disciplinary violations, those that violate academic integrity and acts that violate Title IX guidelines.
Title IX Matters
U.S. educational institutions are responsible for sustaining compliance with federal rules associated with Title IX. This is a civil rights amendment established in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education. It prohibits all acts of sexually-based discrimination and noncompliance can result in losing eligibility for federal funding.
Ongoing guidance and enforcement is the responsibility of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Schools must designate a Title IX Coordinator who drafts written measures for handling related complaints. The administration is afforded some autonomy in creating their processes; however, they must preserve fairness to all parties and be free of conflicts of interest.
Title IX violations may involve denying or otherwise impeding someone's ability to partake in any programs or activities based on their sex or sexual orientation. The rules apply to acts of sexual harassment, which may be verbal or nonverbal. Often the victim is subjected to inappropriate stereotypes or is the target of unwanted sexual advances.
Violent acts such as sexual assault are considered types of harassment. These acts victimize someone that has not given consent to engage in sexual activity. Certain victims are considered to be incapable of legally consenting to participate, such as individuals that are heavily intoxicated or who have a mental impairment.
At Ramapo College, the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Compliance manages its Title IX program. The leadership has been focused on compliance in areas including admissions, financial aid, housing, athletics, and employment.
General Disciplinary Issues
The Ramapo College Office of Student Conduct is responsible for the Code of Conduct outlined within the Student Handbook. Examples of “general” violations include incidents of underage possession of alcohol, using fireworks, weapons possession, etc. Hazing is a serious violation that may abuse or degrade the victim.
Those who live in campus housing must adhere to policies and standards for conduct. Students may have their eligibility for university housing terminated for violations. Common examples of violations include creating excessive noise, smoking or creating potential fire hazards.
The Office of the Provost is responsible for the institution's Academic Integrity Policy. Ramapo College recognizes four different violations that relate to academic dishonesty.
- Cheating: Acts of academic dishonesty or deception. May include using unauthorized notes, devices or communicating with others during an examination. Other examples are having someone else take an exam in your place or conspiring with others to obtain copies of an exam.
- Plagiarism: Acts of misrepresentation are often considered as plagiarism. It typically involves using someone else's “ideas, opinions, phrases...” as one's own. When students use sources for the information they are to be properly referenced or cited. Statements that are copied verbatim must be contained using quotation marks.
- Fabrication: These typically involve acts of falsification or manipulation related to research. Examples include citing sources that do not exist or were not used or creating information that supports one's findings.
- Academic misconduct: This category contains dishonest acts that are not appropriate for any of the aforementioned categories. Examples include submitting the same work for credit on multiple occasions, falsifying transcripts, selling term papers, and more.
Standards of Evidence
The evidentiary standard used in evaluating allegations in student disciplinary matters is by a preponderance of the evidence. One exception exists in Title IX actions, where a clear and convincing evidence standard may be employed. The common penalties imposed for violations include suspension or dismissal from the institution.
Negative Information Contained in Records or Transcripts
Students with an unfavorable disciplinary record may encounter problems if applying for entrance to another school or graduate program. This stems from negative information that is added to the student's academic record or transcripts.
Criminal charges may coincide with disciplinary allegations involving the campus police or local law enforcement. Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience defending clients in criminal matters and will aggressively defend you on both fronts.
Representation for College and University Students Accused of Misconduct
The Lento Law Firm defends the rights of students in various types of disciplinary proceedings. They comprehend the potential long-term ramifications of allegations related to sexual harassment, academic misconduct, and others. Promptly contact the firm at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.