Students don't attend college seeking to engage in misconduct. However, hardworking young adults sometimes land themselves in front of college disciplinary boards and are threatened with their academic careers. The grievance process is intimidating, and a student may believe that once the school levies sanctions and is suspended or expelled from school, there are no options to redress the situation.
While students and their parents often wait until a separation from studies begins to hire professional assistance, that doesn't mean they have crossed the final threshold. You can obtain prompt, comprehensive, negotiated relief that gets you back towards completing your degree. If you or someone you love faces suspension or expulsion at a Louisiana college or university, contact college dismissal advisor Joseph D. Lento immediately to preserve your educational and professional future.
Appealing Disciplinary Sanctions
When disciplinary boards hand down punishments like suspension or expulsion over academic misconduct or other code of conduct violations, the student can appeal the decision. As part of the grievance process in Louisiana colleges and universities, students will receive notice of when they can file an appeal and the guidelines governing the process following the disciplinary board's decision to determine responsibility for alleged misconduct.
The codes of conduct supervising student life at institutions of higher education in Louisiana and elsewhere will explain the few circumstances under which appeals are allowed. Louisiana State University (LSU) details that students can file requests for appeals for the following reasons:
- Excessive sanctions: The appeals board may consider appeals if the punishments handed down by the University Hearing Panel (UHP) are unreasonable based on the findings during the investigation and subsequent determination of responsibility.
- New evidence: In matters appealed on the grounds of new evidence, such evidence must have been undiscoverable during the review process.
- Due Process: The accuser (Complainant) or accused (Respondent) must demonstrate that the adjudicatory process lacked conformity with the procedures outlined in the school's code of conduct. LSU's Student Advocacy & Accountability Policy explains that appeals are warranted if there was a "significant departure" from the procedures and standards outlining the code of conduct's stated grievance process or a "substantial disregard" of the findings or information presented to the UHP.
- Conflict of interest or bias: If there is evidence of bias on the part of the Dean of Students, Hearing Officer, UHP officials, Complainant, or Respondent, the sanctions imposed will be subject to appeal following a student request.
Students and their advisors have little time to waste after the school administration has determined responsibility regarding the allegation to appeal the decision to suspend or expel. Although LSU states they give 14 calendar days from the decision date, the timeframe is usually shorter.
For example, the University of the Holy Cross allows appeals five business days from the date of the decision, and the Centenary College of Louisiana provides ten calendar days from the decision. Typically, students have between two and ten days to file an appeal, but it varies from school to school.
This scenario may make students feel overwhelmed as their academic careers, and future opportunities are suddenly at risk. They may be asking themselves:
- How do I know if the disciplinary board adhered to due process?
- How can I determine if the sanctions can be proven excessive given the findings?
- How can I find new evidence that emerged?
- How can I prove there was a clear bias against me?
Most, if not all, students aren't prepared to handle these critical situations, especially when their main concern is their studies. Hiring a college dismissal advisor will ensure that you are familiar with all facets of the appeals process and how to find the best outcome.
Separation From Studies
Your Louisiana college or university may seek to separate students from their studies for failing to achieve minimum academic standards to qualify for full-time enrollment—known as "satisfactory academic progress" (SAP). Each school establishes its particular SAP policy, including specific criteria for minimum Grade Point Average (GPA), semester course load, and completion requirements. Institutions of higher education throughout Louisiana will have similar quantitative and qualitative standards outlined in their codes of conduct.
At Tulane University, a student that fails to meet its minimum SAP requirements will be placed on a warning for a semester. If that student experiences an additional semester of academic hardship, culminating in a probationary semester, they will lose their financial aid eligibility and may be subject to disciplinary action.
In another instance, suppose someone alleges that you have committed misconduct that warrants the school to temporarily but immediately remove you from campus? At many Louisiana schools, including Louisiana Tech, a student may be suspended before or during university disciplinary procedures through an "Administrative Suspension."
Schools in Louisiana sometimes make errors in applying these policies and dismiss students without good cause. Students can be subject to extenuating circumstances that drop their grades or target them for misconduct allegations.
These circumstances can include many unfortunate but relatively common life events like:
- Death of a family member
- Emotional instability
- Tough transition into student life
Considering the immense pressure colleges and universities are under to promote an amicable public perception, students of good character are at risk of being punished unfairly. Disciplinary boards may also act on false or exaggerated accusations that serve interests other than managing misconduct on campus. It's important to understand that the grievance process isn't a court of law. A school isn't governed by the U.S. Constitution and isn't required to grant a student Fourth Amendment due process rights.
Just because your Louisiana school has thrown you out, that doesn't mean you should sit idly by while your future academic career is endangered. Students have the opportunity to retain professional guidance to preserve their education and future career opportunities.
Even if your school has already sanctioned you, there is a route toward relief. You must contact college dismissal advisor Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm. They have proven experience defending students against severe disciplinary sanctions in Louisiana and across the country.
What Are The Consequences of Suspension or Expulsion?
Students separated from their students may think they go home and get a job for a semester and then walk back into the school fully enrolled. However, that isn't the case.
At Grambling State University, an expelled student may be indefinitely trespassed from the school and any off-campus activities and become ineligible to re-enroll. Moreover, some institutions of higher education may not allow students with a suspension or an expulsion on their record to matriculate.
Southern University requires transfer students to:
- Be eligible to return to the institution from which they are transferring
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.0
- Submit an official transcript(s) from any attended colleges and universities
Unless effectively challenged by a college dismissal advisor, a separation from school ends the student's opportunity to complete their degree.
Terms of separation significantly impact a student's financial aid eligibility. If a student receiving financial aid through a federal grant is suspended or expelled, they must reimburse the government. Students will have to pay back thousands of dollars to federal loan providers, and it can indeed ruin a young adult's credit score, cause them to be unable to apply for other loans for school or homes, and even lead to bankruptcy.
Afterward, students must also disclose disciplinary sanctions on various applications like:
- Louisiana State Board of Nursing applications
- Federal clearances
- Law enforcement applications
- Behavioral counseling licenses
- Government internships
What Can Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Do For You?
When you face a suspension or expulsion from school, you may believe that a local Louisiana lawyer is your best option. They may try to persuade you by a shock-and-awe strategy of threatening lawsuits. However, that isn't a practical approach. Although a formal suit is a possible course of action, in many instances, Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have brokered beneficial resolutions on behalf of the student with the institution's Office of General Counsel (OGC).
Countless experiences engaging in meaningful negotiations have led Lento and his team to form valuable relationships with internal OGC representatives in Louisiana schools and others acting on behalf of the school retained from outside law firms. He and his team know how to help school administration officials view positive options that benefit the student and the institution over suspension, expulsion, or other severe punishments. The Lento Law Firm's unique offer is an agreement that the school accepts and preserves the student's education.
For expert advice from a college dismissal advisor defending students in Louisiana and throughout the U.S., call 888-535-3686 to discuss how Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can protect you or visit the online consultation form. Your academic and professional future depends on it.