Centenary College has its student body operating under a Code of Student Conduct, or COSC for short, as it is referred to in their student handbook. The COSC establishes and emphasizes four "core values" that determine how the student body should function. These values are: integrity, community, innovation, and quality. The core values are meant to inspire and encourage a healthy and safe learning environment for the students. Students who do not adhere to the COSC will be subject to Centenary College's disciplinary process. The College will seek to hold them responsible for the violations they have committed.
The disciplinary process begins when a complaint is filed against a student for committing an alleged violation. Complaints must be filed the Office of Student Life. Once the complaint has been filed, a meeting will be arranged with the student to discuss the complaint and meet with the staff that will be overseeing the disciplinary process. The staff member assigned to the case may try alternative methods of resolution, such as mediation between the two parties or immediate suggestions of sanctions to reach a quicker resolution without escalation.
If the situation must go to a Centenary College Conduct Hearing, students may be assigned an Advocate. An advocate is a member of the College community who is meant to assist them in the Conduct Hearing process. Conduct Hearings will be decided on the basis of a "preponderance of evidence" and the standard of "more sure than not" that the student had committed the violation. Students who fail to attend hearings, present false information, or otherwise endanger or disrupt the College's judicial process will be held in contempt of the judicial process. These charges can be issued during the actual hearing itself, or within 72 hours of the hearing.
Conduct hearings are typically kept between College personnel, and the student accused of a violation. Even though a student is assigned an Advocate, it is important to remember, that Advocates are members of College personnel, and are meant to ensure the process goes smoothly, and will not necessarily be working strictly in the student's favor. An attorney is able to lend a hand from behind the scenes, and will be on the student's side of the issue no matter what. Legal counsel will help a student feel confident and capable when the time comes for a hearing.
Centenary College will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct. When appropriate, Centenary College follows a process of progressive discipline, although the severity of the violation may preclude this progression. Prior violations of the COSC will be taken into account in the sanctioning process. Subsequent violations are likely to result in more significant sanctions. Prior violations are not, however, used to determine responsibility for disciplinary charges under consideration.
Factors considered in the sanctioning process are: 1) the prior history of the student involved in the incident; 2) the severity of the incident and its impact on individuals and the Centenary College community; 3) the demeanor of the student during the disciplinary process; 4) the student's acceptance of responsibility and cooperation with Centenary College officials throughout the disciplinary process; and 5) other mitigating and / or aggravating factors deemed applicable. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Disciplinary Warning
- Education / Work Assignment
- Loss of Privileges
- Disciplinary Probation
- Residence Hall Suspension
- Residence Hall Expulsion
- Campus Suspension
- Campus Expulsion
- Revocation of Degree
In addition to any of the above, the College will impose additional sanctions for academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate.
Regretfully, some Centenary College students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the College disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term. Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that Centenary College imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious. The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.
Centenary College sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences. Centenary College will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.
Experience Matters - An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Centenary College Student
Centenary College and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Code of Student Conduct disciplinary violations and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an a liaison between Centenary College, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Code of Student Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Centenary College. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the College may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Centenary College in matters involving Code of Student Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with Centenary College disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Centenary College as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct and sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Centenary College.
In the event of an unfavorable hearing outcome, students are given an opportunity to make an appeal. The due date for a Centenary College appeal is 72 business hours from receiving the letter than notifies the student of the sanctions they are facing. The notification letter will actually have the option to choose to make an appeal on it for a student's convenience. It is then up to the Office of Student Life to determine whether or not it is necessary to hold an appeal hearing. If the Office decides to have an appeal hearing, the student will be given the date and time. If students do not attend this hearing, their appeal is forfeited and their sanctions will remain imposed. After an appeal hearing, the student will receive the final decision in writing.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Centenary College, contact college student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today.