Case Studies: Role of Remedial Plans

Undergraduate Student Avoids SAP Dismissal and Regains Good Standing Based on Remedial Study Plan

The undergraduate psychology program at a major public university located in a Midwestern state capitol notified our client, starting her junior year, that she was on academic probation and at risk of dismissal for a declining grade point average below the university's graduation standard. With the support of her parents, both of whom worked in the psychology field, our client retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to prepare an SAP appeal that would improve her chances of persevering in and completing the program. Our experienced SAP team promptly discerned from our client's interview and review of her academic work and study habits that our client lacked the study skills and discipline to persist in a rigorous college-level program. Her grades would have likely gotten worse, not better, as she progressed, even if she increased her study hours. Our team further determined that the psychology program lacked the instructional support services that would help our students acquire the necessary study skills. We thus helped our client identify university support services outside the psychology program, study groups within the psychology program, and private resources, including skilled professional tutors and mentors. Our investigation and recommendations formed the basis for our client's required SAP recovery plan. That plan was so detailed, comprehensive, and insightful that it not only invigorated and inspired our client but also drew glowing compliments from the university's SAP appeal officials as a model plan. Our client resolved her academic probation, regained her satisfactory academic progress, and continued with her psychology education toward graduation. The key to our winning representation was the depth, detail, and insight of our team's recovery plan.

Fraternity Student Avoids Discipline on Assault and Possession Charges With Alcohol Abuse Recovery Plan

Disciplinary officials at a large private college along the Gulf Coast charged our client, a fraternity student in his junior year, with assault and alcohol possession. The disciplinary notice threatened to suspend or dismiss our client, or alternatively terminate his fraternity privileges or restrict his other college privileges. Our client promptly retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to address the charges. Our team learned that the charges arose out of two incidents. In the first incident, our client threatened a fraternity brother with physical harm over a personal property dispute. Although the two fraternity members were friends, our client's intoxication caused him to act out of character and in a way that caused the fraternity brother to report the threat to disciplinary officials. No charges resulted when our client apologized. In the second incident, our client both threatened and shoved, and some witnesses said he also tackled and injured, a student guest at the fraternity house. Again, our client was intoxicated. Our client was of legal age to purchase and consume alcohol, and the college did not enforce its alcohol policy against fraternity houses. But the two incidents resulted in disciplinary charges. When our client and his parents admitted our client had an alcohol abuse problem that affected his mood and emotional control, our team helped our client identify a recovery program that the college's disciplinary officials respected. Our client's parents also arranged private counseling and treatment. We then helped our client document his recovery plan and early participation in it, to the satisfaction of disciplinary officials. Those officials dismissed the charges when the fraternity brother and assaulted guest accepted our client's apologies and recovery plan as evidence of our client's rehabilitation.

Doctoral Student Avoids Program Dismissal for Drug Charges on the Basis of Treatment Program

A doctoral program in medical biology, located at a major public research university in a Western state, charged our client with unlawful possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia on campus and with attendance under the influence of drugs. The charges arose after our client had admitted to laboratory supervisors with whom she had grown close that she had a drug problem. Supervisors had noticed our client's altered demeanor on several occasions and observed personal items and hygiene issues, causing them to suspect drug abuse. Our client's admission in a meeting with supervisors initially caused them to accept our client's assurances that she was getting help, but when she continued to appear to be under the influence, they initiated disciplinary charges. Our client then retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to avoid program dismissal. Our team helped our client identify the premier recovery program nearest the university, staffed by university adjunct faculty members, recommended by disciplinary officials, and with other close university ties. We further helped our client choose a recovery program and adopt a recovery plan that would allow her to continue her doctoral work without significant interruption, although the plan required other substantial lifestyle and personal changes. Finally, we helped our client document her plan and changes in a presentation we helped our client make to disciplinary officials at an informal resolution conference. The officials complimented our client on the sophistication, detail, and documentation in her plan and on her evident commitment to the program. The university held the charges in abeyance for an extended period and then dismissed the charges based on our client's showing of continued plan compliance.

Graduate Student With Psychiatric Disability Avoids Discipline After Showing New Medication Regimen

Our client, a graduate student in a computer science program at a major West Coast private university, had a diagnosed and treated psychiatric disability that our client had learned to manage well before entering the graduate program. Well into the program, though, our client began to experience hallucinations and other symptoms that his medication was no longer controlling his psychiatric disability. Our client attributed the issues to study stress and pushed on, rather than seeking medical or psychiatric review. When our client increased his medication on his own in an attempt to control his emerging symptoms, he had an episode of hallucination on campus that resulted in the private university's assault and drug abuse charges. Our client retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to address the charges. Our team reviewed our client's medical history, medical reports, and prescription history with a consulting expert whose report helped our client consent to new evaluation, medication, and treatment. Our consulting expert's report relied in part on studies showing changes in adult physiology over the years that affect drug reactions. Our consulting expert's report and the plan that our team helped our client and his new treating and examining medical professionals develop and document, became the core of our presentation to disciplinary officials at an informal hearing. By the time of the hearing, our client had already begun his medication adjustment plan, convincing the officials that protective orders, removal, or other conditions for dismissal of the charges were unnecessary. The keys to our winning defense were the sensitivity and insights of our client's medical plan, supported by our consulting expert's report.

Undergraduate Student Avoids Title IX Discipline After Accepting Remedial Education

A major public university located in the Northwestern United States charged our client, a sophomore in an agricultural sciences program, with Title IX sexual misconduct. Our client promptly retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team on the recommendation and with the support of his parents. Our client's parents ran the farming business, to which our client expected to return with his university degree and new skills after graduation. Our team discerned after client interviews and other investigations that the charges arose out of our client's consistently awkward and culturally insensitive attempts to date female undergraduates in an effort to find one to marry to take back to the farm. Our client clearly appeared to lack awareness of the university's progressive culture and the prevalent attitudes of female undergraduate students who were consistently rejecting our client's increasingly confused and desperate romantic advances. We helped our client and his parents develop a presentation for the university's Title IX coordinator that included these contextual insights and explanations along with our client's offer to include in his curriculum courses that would broaden his cultural perspective and deepen his personal awareness. Our plan further included our client's commitment to restrict his campus interests to academics while working with a sociology professor mentor to identify off-campus social opportunities to meet women working in the agricultural sciences who may be marriage interested and eligible. The Title IX coordinator dismissed the charges without the objection of any complainant on that basis. The key to our plan's success was addressing the root cause of the issue in ways disciplinary officials respected rather than addressing only symptoms.

Finance Student Avoids Discipline on Gambling Charges by Demonstrating Addiction Recovery Plan

The finance department at a popular business school at an Upper Midwest public university charged our client with gambling and misuse of computers in violation of the university's student code of conduct. While university disciplinary officials did not ordinarily pursue gambling charges against the school's students, the finance department had convinced those officials that gambling was a peculiar risk for finance professionals worthy of using discipline to teach and guide finance students. Our client, a junior in the finance program, had organized student pools around major sporting events on a regular basis before changing his major to finance, with the knowledge of university faculty members and without any admonition. Our client had not realized that finance professors would respond to his activities differently. Our client retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team when our client learned from the disciplinary officials with whom he communicated about his charges of the finance department's commitment to discipline gambling finance students. Our team encouraged our client to reexamine his gambling habits for signs of addiction, putting our client in touch with a gambling addiction consultant with whom our team had worked on other cases. Our client's consultation resulted in a report and recommendations that our client authorized us to use in negotiations with the university's disciplinary officials for dismissal of the gambling charges. The recommendations included our client's further evaluation by a psychologist addiction specialist whom our consultant recommended, near our client's university and whom the disciplinary officials knew and trusted. Our client completed that evaluation promptly, resulting in a list of recommendations and resources that both our client and the disciplinary officials accepted. The finance chair agreed with the dismissal of all charges. The key to our winning representation was our consulting expert's skill in promoting and coordinating our client's sensitive evaluation.

International Student Avoids Plagiarism Discipline After Accepting Scholarship Instruction

A master's in business administration program at a large public university in a Central Northeast state charged our client with plagiarism in a research paper on marketing theory. Our client was a first-year international student attending the university on an F-1 educational visa. Our client, an English second language speaker, was unfamiliar with American academic citation standards, having never previously submitted a writing assignment of any kind in English in any college program before this occasion. Our client and his parents retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team when disciplinary officials indicated to our client that plagiarism charges at the graduate level routinely resulted in no less than a one-semester suspension. A suspension of any significant duration would have threatened our client's visa status and risked deportation. Our team communicated with the disciplinary officials to see what other university departments offered for instruction in scholarship and for citation training. We identified a department willing to allow our client to participate in their ongoing citation training unit and enroll the following semester in their one-credit scholarship course. Although the business program's dean was reluctant at first, the disciplinary official convinced the dean to accept the plagiarism charge's dismissal conditioned on our client's completion of both the training and one-credit course. Our client gladly approved the proposal for more education and training to develop our client's writing, English language, and scholarship skills. The key to our winning representation was the creative use of educational resources from other departments to address an issue our client's program could not resolve.

High School Student Avoids Alternative Placement After IEP Review Adjusts Services Plan

A large metropolitan area high school in a suburban region of the Northeastern United States charged our client, a junior at the school, with disorderly and disruptive conduct. The school principal indicated his intent to reassign our client to the district's alternative high school. Our client and his parents retained the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to challenge reassignment and preserve our client's traditional high school placement. Our research confirmed that state law and district procedures required the school to conduct an IEP review before alternative placement for any student under an individualized education plan. On our inquiry, our client and his parents revealed that our client was attending high school under an IEP. We then guided our client and his parents in requesting that the principal convene an IEP review. Our team further recommended that our client and his parents advocate for retention in the traditional high school based on our consultant's preliminary review and standard recommendations. Our consultant further suggested adjustments to our client's limited support services under our client's current IEP so that our client had the services he would need to reduce his anxiety and emotional dyscontrol. Our team also helped our client and his parents obtain an updated evaluation and recommendations from our client's treating psychiatrist. The high school's IEP team accepted most of the recommendations our client and his parents proposed. The IEP team then advocated successfully with the principal for our client's retention in the traditional high school. Our client remained in the traditional high school, meeting his goal. The key to our winning services involved consultant guidance in adjusting support services plans.

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