College Code Of Conduct Defense Advisor - Nevada

In our culture, college is built up as the apex of the educational experience; it's often portrayed as a time of unparalleled freedom that allows students to “discover themselves.” From the dorm room experience to weekend parties, and more, college is widely portrayed as a really fun time. Amidst these opportunities for fun and growth, it's the first time many students may have to face the sole responsibility for their behavior, both academic and otherwise. It can be easy with so many extracurriculars to choose from to forget to pay attention to academics. It can be easy to make mistakes (or misinterpret behavior) in close relationships. It's a time of exponential growth, and with that opportunity also come potential consequences.

Although it's probably the last thing you want to do, it's important that you take time to examine your Nevada university or college's Student Handbook and the accompanying code of conduct. Schools may have different names for the documents/regulations. However, their goal is the same: to detail expectations and serve as an agreement between student and school. These documents usually offer guidance as to what your school expects of you, as a student, and what you can expect from them/faculty members. Additionally, the schools usually include the processes for handling code of conduct violations, whether it's for instances of sexual misconduct/Title IX violations, academic dishonesty, or disciplinary charges. Be sure to review this document on an annual basis, as regulations or procedures might change from year to year during your tenure as a student.

Another thing to consider is that many colleges and universities in Nevada (whether public or private) include the need in their handbook a requirement that students follow any applicable local, state, and federal laws. Although they will handle them at the collegiate level (which isn't a criminal proceeding in a court of law), they will still usually have repercussions, and severe ones at that.

In this overview, we'll take a closer look at academic dishonesty, college sexual misconduct and Title IX allegations, and disciplinary violations. As we explore these, you'll get a better sense of what allegations you might be facing at your school, what to do about them, and how to get help. We'll also dive into the hearing/disciplinary process, in a broad sense, so that you can understand how proceedings may take place.

What Behaviors Does Your Nevada College or University Consider Academic Misconduct?

Academic honesty, or integrity, is a high value for most universities and schools nationwide. Some schools codify it into their mission; others list it in their values.

Each college or university in Nevada usually has its own list of behaviors that might count as academic dishonesty. The basis, however is often the same—schools are built on the foundation of academic integrity, and actions that veer from that may be treated as academic dishonesty. Your school may also have an Honor Code; these are not usually synonymous with the academic misconduct policy, although in rare cases, they are.

University of Nevada at Reno (the oldest college in the state), for example, has a broad definition of academic dishonesty: “cheating, plagiarism or other attempts to obtain or earn grades under false pretenses.” In this instance, there is a wide amount of room for interpretation as to whether or not one's behaviors might fall under this definition.

You can usually find the definition of academic dishonesty in each school's code of conduct (often found in the student handbook). To continue with the example from University of Nevada at Reno, they define plagiarism and cheating underneath the above excerpt. Some of the behaviors that they include within the sub-definitions are:

  • Helping someone plagiarize
  • Your standard fare plagiarism (using someone else's ideas, words, processes, etc., without proper attribution)
  • Submitting something that wasn't developed specifically for the course at hand (including ideas, words, processes, results, etc.)
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Changing test answers after turning them in for grading
  • Altering academic records
  • Changing grades after they've been given
  • Having someone else take an exam in your place (or taking the exam in someone's else's place)
  • Acquiring unauthorized information while engaged in anything related to coursework

Other behaviors that your Nevada college or university might consider academic misconduct could include:

  • Attempting to bribe a faculty member
  • Any unauthorized assistance (help from anyone that the professor doesn't explicitly condone)
  • Fabricating information (this usually applies in situations that involve research, although not always).
  • Destroying or altering someone else's work, research, or results
  • Self-plagiarism, i.e., multiple submissions
  • Cheating on any assignment, test, or exam.

Another noteworthy thing to remember is that many colleges and universities have distinct handbooks for their undergraduate population and their graduate students. And, even within graduate programs, different colleges at your university might have different guidance or regulations. If you are looking at your school's policies, make sure that you're exploring the correct ones that apply to you and your status as a student.

If you are taking classes online, whether your school is online-only (such as University of Phoenix) or not, you should also make sure that you're aware of whether or not your school uses software such as Honorlock or Proctorio. Often, these software programs have inherent concerns that are built-in, such as spying on students, biases, and even entrapment in some instances.

Overall, academic issues are serious, and you should address allegations (and get assistance) as early as possible.

Code of Conduct Disciplinary Violations at Nevada Colleges and Universities

In the same way that each university or college delineates its own violations of academic integrity, each school has its own guidance for disciplinary violations.

At University of Nevada, Reno, for example, the code of conduct lists 50 unique types of conduct. They derive their conduct guidance from their core values of “integrity, community, accountability, and mutual responsibility.”

The behaviors that they list include issues that fall under academic misconduct, as well as Title IX/sexual misconduct. However, the bulk of the listed behavior deals with disciplinary violations. Here are some examples from it:

  • Disorderly or disruptive conduct
  • Unauthorized use of University technology
  • Hazing
  • Alcohol (use, distribution, possession, underage, use in any manner prohibited under law or institutional policy),
  • Marijuana (use, distribution, possession, underage, use in any manner prohibited under law or institutional policy—including for medical purposes),
  • Voter fraud
  • Stalking
  • Contempt of any disciplinary proceedings
  • Verbal abuse, intimidation, coercion, or bullying that's “sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive” so as to limit another student's ability to participate
  • Smoking or tobacco use; use of any sort of e-cig, rolled cigarette, pipe, or vapor products in any part of campus, at any event, facility, or in areas where the use is prohibited
  • Failure to comply with sanctions that are imposed
  • Threats or violence against a faculty or staff member (or their family)
  • Occupying any property that belongs to the University, after the President/Chancellor, or their designee has ordered you to leave
  • Possessing or using explosives or weapons
  • Residential misconduct
  • Bullying or cyberbullying
  • Failure to follow the University's UAM policies on use of animals and service animals
  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Lewd or indecent conduct
  • Use of skateboards and rollerblades, “or similar types of equipment” (except for use of them as transportation) is prohibited

Other charges that aren't necessarily listed at University of Nevada at Reno, but are common:

  • Public urination or defecation
  • Residential misconduct
  • Retaliation
  • Unauthorized presence
  • Destruction of property
  • Violation of federal, state, or local laws
  • Possessing or using explosives or weapons

The vastness and comprehensiveness of this list hopefully demonstrates why it's critical that you take time to familiarize yourself with your school's specific code of conduct and disciplinary violations. Again, as we mentioned earlier, these allegations aren't handled in a typical courtroom. Rather, they're addressed by the university according to the guidance and processes that they've determined. We'll explore an overview of the disciplinary process right after we take a look at Title IX and college sexual misconduct allegations.

What You Need to Know About Title IX and College Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Title IX allegations and college sexual misconduct allegations can put your academic career and your professional future in grave danger. If you're currently facing these types of allegations, you may be feeling afraid, overwhelmed, angry, confused, or a plethora of many other emotions. It's important that in such an emotional time, you do not forget to pay attention to how to best address and fight these allegations.

Title IX refers specifically to the use of sex as the basis of “exclusion” or the “denial” of any “benefits” for any institution that receives federal funding. As presidential administrations change, so too can the guidance on how to implement Title IX. What's most key to understand, about the distinction between the two, is that each school is responsible for its own guidance about sexual misconduct. Title IX guidelines however, are determined at the federal level.

Currently, the latest updates include:

  • A narrower geographic scope — only activities on campus qualify;
  • Sexual misconduct is defined much more narrowly;
  • Schools can now choose a higher standard of proof (“clear and convincing evidence” rather than the previous “preponderance of the evidence”).

Your school will have its own list of what is included in Title IX, and/or their own sexual misconduct codes.

At University of Nevada, Reno, this includes:

  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Fondling
  • Incest
  • Statutory rape

Make sure to familiarize yourself with what is in your school's code of conduct/handbook.

How Might Your Nevada College or University Address Allegations of Code of Conduct Violations?

Although the specifics of how each Nevada college or university handles code of conduct violations may differ, the general structure is usually fairly similar. The process is often:

  1. An investigation after a formal complaint or report has been filed
  2. A committee hearing or disciplinary procedure
  3. A decision of responsibility for (or not responsible for) the alleged behavior and the recommended sanctions
  4. Appeals

Let's take a closer look at each of those stages.

Investigation

The investigation can take place in several ways. Most frequently, however, the school will have a third party who is not involved in the allegations investigate them. This investigation could be formal or informal, and it could take a few days or sometimes several weeks. It depends on the severity and complexity of the allegations. The investigation may or may not include speaking with outside witnesses, the faculty member, and/or students who're involved, any campus security, etc. Prior to an investigation taking place, you should receive notice of the allegation. Most universities or colleges in Nevada will send either an email or campus mail letter with return receipt to ensure that you are aware of the accusation and what your options are.

Hearing Committee or Disciplinary Process

Once the information has been gathered, your allegation may go to a hearing committee. This committee is frequently comprised of folks from within the university—a mix of faculty and students. If you are facing expulsion or suspension, most schools automatically include a hearing. In some circumstances, you can waive your right to a hearing if you admit responsibility for the alleged behavior. This is unadvisable. Your school's handbook will detail the exact specifics for what to expect in a hearing, however the bottom line is that you should consult with an attorney-advisor who can help you prepare for the hearing. Sometimes attorney-advisors can also speak during the hearing. Even if they cannot, though, it's beneficial to speak with one and follow their guidance so that you can protect your academic career and your future. After the hearing concludes, the individuals on the committee will usually remove themselves for conference about what decision they are going to make.

Decision and Assigning Sanctions

If the committee finds you responsible for the alleged behavior, they will usually also select sanctions based on the severity of the offense. In most instances, you will receive notice within a certain timeframe after the hearing. The notice will be emailed in an official capacity, usually, with information about what the process is for an appeal.

Appeals

There are two main types of appeals that you can usually consider. First, you can potentially appeal the sanctions. Second, you may be able to appeal the actual finding. Frequently, however, Nevada colleges and universities have very specific guidance around the grounds for an appeal.

Sanctions Your Nevada College or University Might Assign

Once the Disciplinary Process (investigation, hearing, decision) is complete, a decision regarding sanctions will be made. Sanctions can vary in severity, and they usually depend on the severity of the alleged behavior (and sometimes the frequency, i.e., a first offense might not be treated as severely as a subsequent one). As we mentioned above, many schools have a process for appealing sanctions, and this is something you can pursue. Your school's handbook will have more information around who is responsible for choosing sanctions, whether it's an individual or a committee.

  • Grade reduction for assignment
  • Failure of the course
  • Formal reprimand
  • Failed grade for assignment
  • Change or loss of housing
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of Academic Degree
  • Probation
  • Temporary ban from extracurricular activities
  • Loss of financial aid and/or scholarships
  • Educational Assignments
  • On-campus restrictions

What Steps Should You Take When Facing Code of Conduct Violations?

When you have code of conduct allegations, there are several steps you can/should take.

  1. Read your Code of Conduct or Student Handbook closely: each school handles these cases differently.
  2. Research and hire an attorney-advisor who can help you. You don't have to, nor should you, try to navigate this alone.
  3. Keep silent about the allegations. Don't speak with people on campus about them. If you need to discuss your feelings or concerns, do so with people who are off-campus.
  4. Document, document, document. Record everything you can and share it with your attorney-advisor. Keep track of conversations, potential witnesses, etc.

Get Help for Code of Conduct Violations from the Best Nevada Attorney-Advisor

When you've worked tirelessly over the years, facing allegations that could put your college (and future) career at risk can be overwhelming. With so much at stake, you may feel paralyzed and unsure of next steps. The good news is that you don't have to face these allegations on your own. Whether you or your loved one is facing allegations of code of conduct violations, the Lento Law Firm can help you navigate this stressful time. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully assisted countless students across the nation, as they addressed allegations that could've led to serious consequences. Mr. Lento is passionate about students' rights and everyone's right to due process. He will negotiate and fight on your behalf and can advise you of the best steps to take for the best possible outcome. Call today to see if we can help you: 888.535.3686 or contact us online to share more about your situation.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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