College Code of Conduct Student Defense Advisor – Michigan

If you're a college student in Michigan, you no doubt want your academic experience to be a good one, to help open doors and career prospects for you later on. You have the reasonable expectation that you'll achieve your degree without any adverse complications. Unfortunately, some college students encounter code of conduct issues with their schools, leading to sanctions and disciplinary action.

Your school should have a document that states what is considered prohibited behavior in a university context. This policy should also state what happens if you are accused of committing one of these prohibited behaviors, including investigation, adjudication, and potential sanctions. This document is your school's code of conduct, which your school likely requires you to follow in order to be a student. You should be able to freely access the code of conduct, typically on your school's website.

The code of conduct includes student rights and responsibilities. You are obliged to follow the school's rules, but the school is also obliged to guarantee certain rights to you during a disciplinary process. As a student attending or planning to attend a Michigan school, it's vital that you read and fully understand your university's code of conduct. Unfortunately, claiming you “didn't know” an action is a violation of the code is not considered a legitimate defense by most colleges.

As a Michigan student, what do you need to know about code of conduct violations, and how can you protect your rights if you are accused?

Michigan Code of Conduct Issues: Academic Misconduct, Sexual Misconduct, and General Disciplinary Charges

Your Michigan school likely has several types of violations listed in the student code of conduct. These actions tend to fall into three categories: Academic dishonesty, sexual misconduct, and general disciplinary charges (e.g., alcohol or drug violations). Michigan schools take code of conduct infractions very seriously, and if you are accused, your administration will not hesitate to launch formal disciplinary procedures.

Academic Misconduct

Violations relating to dishonesty in your courses fall under academic misconduct. Your school may also refer to them as academic honesty or academic integrity issues. Common examples include:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Destruction of school property
  • Disrupting the classroom
  • Fabricating data
  • Unauthorized collaboration

Many Michigan schools allow instructors to deal with academic dishonesty issues directly. You may receive a failing grade, have to do extra work, or even retake a course. In more severe or repeated cases of academic misconduct, you could face suspension or dismissal from the university.

Sexual Misconduct

Most schools consider any sexual activity that occurs without the direct, freely given consent of all persons involved as sexual misconduct. Michigan colleges and universities do not take allegations of sexual misconduct lightly. If you are accused and found responsible for sexual misconduct, you could face severe penalties. Generally, sexual misconduct includes the following:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking
  • Domestic violence
  • Dating violence
  • Incest
  • Rape
  • Sexual exploitation

US colleges and universities must follow federal Title IX rules if they want to be eligible for federal funding. Title IX policies also cover sexual misconduct, and schools may have a Title IX policy in addition to a student code of conduct. Some schools even create two separate policies regarding sexual misconduct, with one reflecting Title IX standards and the other reflecting the school's standards. If your school chooses to adjudicate a sexual misconduct allegation against you under a non-Title IX policy, you may not be able to benefit from the increased protections Title IX offers to accused students.

Depending on how your Michigan school deals with your sexual misconduct case, you could be at risk of receiving severe sanctions.

Other Types of Code of Conduct Issues

Academic dishonesty and sexual misconduct infractions are serious concerns for students at Michigan universities, but they aren't the only categories of misconduct. Other issues that don't fall under one of these two umbrellas may be considered code of conduct violations or general misconduct. These behaviors vary between schools, but in general, there are universal behaviors that most Michigan universities do not allow.

Possession of alcohol

Students who are under 21 years of age are prohibited from possessing alcohol on Michigan college campuses. At some schools, even students who are legally old enough to possess or consume alcohol may not do so on university property.

Possession of drugs

Most university codes of conduct prohibit the use, distribution, and possession of controlled substances—even if those substances are legal to use in the state of Michigan.


Hazing refers to performing introductory rituals for new members of teams, fraternities and sororities, or other organizations that may cause embarrassment or pain. These harmful initiation ceremonies have resulted in bodily injuries and even death for some students. Many schools across the country, not just in Michigan, take a hard stance against hazing.

Residence hall misconduct

For those college students who choose to live in university-provided housing, the campus is their home. It's where they sleep, eat, study, socialize, and decompress from the challenges of college life. To facilitate the safe sharing of residential space, many Michigan schools include rules pertaining specifically to living on campus. These rules cover disruptive behavior, protection of personal property, fighting in residence halls, and general safety. Students who do not follow these codes for community living may face harsh penalties, including suspension or expulsion.

Hate crimes

Hate crimes are offenses related to another student's gender, color, religion, race, religion, age, or sexual orientation. Many Michigan universities take disciplinary action against hate crimes. Students found responsible for a hate crime may also suffer reputational damage that can follow them later in life.

The above list of code of conduct offenses isn't comprehensive, and your school may prohibit other behaviors as well. It's important to familiarize yourself with your school's code of conduct so you know which actions may lead your school to launch disciplinary procedures.

How Do Michigan Universities Handle Code of Conduct Issues?

If your college or university receives information about you connected to a code of conduct violation, it will likely launch a process to determine if you are responsible for the violation. Most Michigan schools have a formal process for handling allegations of misconduct involving an investigation, hearing, and sanctions.

The Investigative Stage

The first part of the disciplinary process at most schools is an investigation to learn more about the allegation. You want the investigation to go smoothly because it's possible that the university's investigator will decide there isn't enough evidence to take the case further.

During this phase, it is vital that you do not speak to anyone about the case other than the investigator and your student defense advisor. Facing an accusation of misconduct can feel stressful, and you may be tempted to confide in a friend or trusted professor, but you must not do so. Giving anyone else at the university information related to the allegation could ruin your defense strategy.

Instead, speak about your concerns to your advisor. By working strategically with a student defense advisor early in the process, you can gather evidence, produce witnesses if needed, and ensure your meetings with the investigator go smoothly. Once the investigative stage is over, your school may notify you of a formal meeting or hearing that you must attend.

What Happens at a Disciplinary Hearing?

A hearing is an important part of a disciplinary process at most schools, as it will determine if you are responsible for your accused behavior. The hearing may also end with recommendations for disciplinary action.

The hearing board or panel usually consists of faculty members, administrators, or even fellow students. This panel will listen to your arguments, examine your evidence, and may pose questions. At your hearing, you will also have an opposing party who represents the school and tries to prove you are responsible for the code of conduct violation you're accused of.

Some schools do not allow you to have an attorney or external advisor present with you at the hearing, and some do. Even if you cannot have an advisor at your hearing, it's still a good idea to work with one throughout the disciplinary process. You have rights defined by law and your school's regulations, and an attorney can help you defend those rights.

With no attorney to help you understand your defense, your college or university is more likely to neglect those rights or ignore procedural issues that might help your case. An attorney working on your defense with you will make your school take you more seriously.

Sanctions a Michigan Student Can Face

If the hearing panel determines that you are responsible for a code of conduct violation, it will recommend a sanction. The panel may also refer the case to a disciplinary board that decides on a sanction. What kinds of punishments can Michigan college students face for code of conduct infractions?

  • Prohibiting participation in extracurricular activities
  • Loss of scholarship
  • Ban from student housing
  • Academic or disciplinary probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Some sanctions don't seem quite so severe, but it's important to consider these punishments in both the short- and long-term. A suspension may not seem like a big deal, as it's only temporary. However, a suspension will produce a gap on your college transcript, which you will have to explain to future employers, internship managers, and graduate schools. You will have to disclose that your suspension was the result of a code of conduct violation, which could prevent you from landing the job or getting into the program.

For this reason, it's crucial that you build a strong defense early in the process. You may be able to negotiate a reduced sanction to keep your record as clean as possible.

How Should Michigan Students Handle Code of Conduct Charges?

If you want to improve your chances of a favorable outcome with your code of conduct accusation, you should conduct yourself properly at each stage of the process. Saying or doing the wrong thing at any point could jeopardize your entire case.

After the Accusation

You will most likely learn about a formal accusation against you via official notification from your school. As soon as you know about an allegation, don't talk to anyone about it. Any statements you make to faculty, administrators, or fellow students could be used against you later. The only people you should discuss the matter with are your parents and your student defense advisor.

Prior to and During the Hearing Process

Before the hearing, work with your attorney to provide as much information as you can. This stage of the process is for gathering evidence and building a defense. Try not to delete or throw away any information related to the code of conduct allegation, as it could be integral to proving you are not responsible for the infraction.

Filing an Appeal

Most schools have an appeal process that lets you contest the results of a hearing or recommended sanctions. Usually, you have only a few days to submit an appeal following the panel's decision, so you and your student defense advisor must act quickly. Once your school receives your appeal, an administrator will review it and make a final decision.

If your appeal is denied, you still have a few options left:

  1. File a complaint with the Michigan board of education
  2. Have your lawyer speak to your school's general counsel
  3. Consider litigation against your school

Rely on the Expertise of the Student Defense Specialists at the Lento Law Firm

If you are accused of a code of conduct violation, it shouldn't jeopardize your entire future. At the Lento Law Firm, attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team don't believe a mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication should prevent you from pursuing your degree or your future career goals. Also, by working with an experienced student defense legal advisor, you don't have to handle the process on your own.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of students in Michigan and across the country in code of conduct cases and he and his team know how to handle your school's disciplinary procedures if you've been accused. Contact the Lento Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686 to help put your mind at ease and protect your future.

Michigan colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's code of conduct defense advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:

  • Adrian College
  • Albion College
  • Alma College
  • Alpena Community College
  • Andrews University
  • Aquinas College
  • Baker College Center for Graduate Studies
  • Baker College of Allen Park
  • Baker College of Auburn Hills
  • Baker College of Cadillac
  • Baker College of Clinton Township
  • Baker College of Flint
  • Baker College of Jackson
  • Baker College of Muskegon
  • Baker College of Owosso
  • Baker College of Port Huron
  • Bay de Noc Community College
  • Bay Mills Community College
  • Calvin College
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cleary University
  • College for Creative Studies
  • Compass College of Cinematic Arts
  • Concordia University Ann Arbor
  • Cornerstone University
  • Davenport University
  • Delta College
  • DeVry University Michigan
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Ferris State University
  • Finlandia University
  • Glen Oaks Community College
  • Gogebic Community College
  • Grace Bible College
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Great Lakes Christian College
  • Henry Ford Community College
  • Hope College
  • International Academy of Design and Technology Troy
  • ITT Technical Institute Canton
  • ITT Technical Institute Dearborn
  • ITT Technical Institute Swartz Creek
  • ITT Technical Institute Troy
  • ITT Technical Institute Wyoming
  • Jackson Community College
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Kettering University
  • Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
  • Kirtland Community College
  • Kuyper College
  • Lake Michigan College
  • Lake Superior State University
  • Lansing Community College
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Macomb Community College
  • Madonna University
  • Marygrove College
  • Michigan Jewish Institute
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Mid Michigan Community College
  • Monroe County Community College
  • Montcalm Community College
  • Mott Community College
  • Muskegon Community College
  • North Central Michigan College
  • Northern Michigan University
  • Northwestern Michigan College
  • Northwood University Michigan
  • Oakland Community College
  • Oakland University
  • Olivet College
  • Rochester College
  • Sacred Heart Major Seminary
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • Sanford Brown College Dearborn
  • Sanford Brown College Grand Rapids
  • Schoolcraft College
  • Siena Heights University
  • South University Novi
  • Southwestern Michigan College
  • Spring Arbor University
  • St Clair County Community College
  • The Art Institute of Michigan
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  • University of Michigan Dearborn
  • University of Michigan Flint
  • University of Phoenix Metro Detroit Campus
  • University of Phoenix West Michigan Campus
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Wayne County Community College District
  • Wayne State University
  • West Shore Community College
  • Western Michigan University
  • Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Detroit

Contact Us Today!

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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