Rider University was founded in 1865 and now has locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey. Leadership at the institution has created high standards and “rights and responsibilities.” Those who violate disciplinary guidelines will be promptly “adjudicated by the appropriate hearing authority” and face possible sanctions.
How Can a Student Rights Attorney Help?
Students know that their pursuits in higher education are an essential step in their long-term goals and future aspirations. This is a commitment that consumes significant time and critical financial resources. Post-secondary institutions are now facing heightened pressures to maintain a positive reputation. They are seeking to hold students to high standards in terms of conduct and academic integrity.
Claims of misconduct are typically examined by administrators that are focused on swiftly resolving these matters. With their hectic schedules, the rights of the accused may not properly be recognized. Those alleged to have committed disciplinary violations should consult with representation that will represent their best interests.
An experienced lawyer will understand the school's guidelines and processes to ensure the matter is fair and equitable. Based on the circumstances, the evidence may be questionable. Your attorney may expose weak evidence and will accompany you to hearings, interviews, and other events in the process.
Your lawyer may consider engaging in discussions with the appropriate university administrators to negotiate on your behalf. This may include staff from an academic integrity office, the Title IX Coordinator, and others responsible. Students should promptly consult with an attorney because doing so after an adverse ruling has already been made places you at a significant disadvantage.
Student Rights Lawyer
Most institutions allow parties involved in these matters to be accompanied by an advisor. Choosing seasoned legal counsel to function in this capacity is strongly recommended. This will better ensure you have realistic expectations and that you are well-prepared.
Three types or categories of disciplinary action typically exist in these educational settings. There are “general” disciplinary issues, those of academic integrity, and those that relate to Title IX.
Understanding Title IX Matters
Compliance with federal Title IX provisions at Rider University is the responsibility of the Office of Community Standards. Title IX was introduced in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education. The requirements guide schools in managing allegations of sexual discrimination. All parties should be treated fairly. The primary focus of Title IX is that no person will be “excluded from participation in, be denied benefits, or be subjected to discrimination.”
Schools that fail to comply may have their eligibility for federal education funds quashed. Acts of discrimination may potentially occur in admissions, accessing benefits, and participation in athletics or other campus activities.
Some of the common examples of actions that may constitute a violation include:
· Sexual violence: Physical acts committed against a victim that is unwilling or incapable of granting consent. Those who are unable to consent include minors, those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the mentally impaired. Common examples are sexual assault or coercion.
· Gender harassment: Inappropriate slurs or false stereotypes may be made “based on a student's actual or perceived sex.” Often those who identify as having an alternative sexual orientation are targeted.
· Sexually-oriented harassment: Some examples are unwanted sexual advances or appeals for sexual favors.
General Disciplinary Issues
Some disciplinary issues are classified as “general.” At Rider University, they are addressed in the Student Code of Social Conduct. Some of the most common include the following:
- Hazing: Victims are often those joining collegiate athletic teams or fraternal organizations
- Alcohol and drugs: Examples include possession of drugs, underage drinking, and using a false identification card
- Violating fire safety rules
- Smoking on a campus property
- Improper computer usage
Students living in college or university housing also are subject to various rules. Residents may be held responsible for the actions of their visitors. Some common violations that may result in dismissal from campus housing include:
- Possessing weapons, using fireworks, or having illegal drugs or paraphernalia
- Tampering with smoke detectors or fire extinguishers
- Theft or damage to university property or items belonging to others
What Qualifies as Academic Misconduct?
At Rider University, issues concerning academic misconduct are outlined in the Code of Academic Integrity. Dishonest acts may involve submitting an assignment that was done by someone else. Many times these violations involve conspiring with someone else to cheat.
Cheating may be demonstrated by willingly receiving or giving assistance to another student during an examination. This may also apply to the use of unauthorized notes, technology devices or other materials for reference during an examination.
Plagiarism is something that may lead to serious disciplinary action. This may involve using someone else's ideas or words in a paper or report that is submitted for credit. All sources of data and information used should be properly cited. When information is used verbatim, it should be contained within quotation marks.
Sanctions and Penalties
A preponderance of the evidence standard is typically used in evaluating whether these allegations have merit. Schools will ultimately need to issue a ruling or decision and possibly impose sanctions. They are likely to be suspension or dismissal from the institution.. The majority of schools allow for appealing a ruling. Always consult with an attorney if considering an appeal.
One additional consequence of disciplinary violations is that information regarding the disciplinary matter may be documented in student records and transcripts. This may cause lingering problems when applying for admission to a graduate school or other program.
Potential Criminal Charges
Campus disciplinary issues may coincide with an arrest based on criminal allegations such as from a campus police department or other local agency of law enforcement. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced criminal defense lawyer. He will represent you both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Experienced Attorney for Students in Campus Disciplinary Matters in New Jersey
College students facing disciplinary allegations of misconduct should seek assistance from an attorney that is familiar with this area of practice. The Lento Law Firm aggressively represents clients facing these and many other challenging concerns. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.