Dismissal from college or university is a traumatic experience, and those who've been subjected to their school's dismissal process often believe there's nothing they can do about it. If you or someone you love has been dismissed or suspended from a college or university in Massachusetts, you should absolutely fight the school's decision. Securing a collegiate education isn't just an expensive endeavor, but it's also an investment that ultimately allows for long-term professional success. Your standing within your school should be protected and fought for. National academic attorney Joseph D. Lento will fight tirelessly for your rights if you've been dismissed from your college in Massachusetts.
Student Misconduct Dismissals in Massachusetts
Student misconduct is often considered a behavioral issue. Depending on your school, the misconduct policies may vary, but these rules typically concern accusations, including:
- Sexual misconduct/Title IX violations
- Classroom disruption
Public schools and private schools in Massachusetts will severely penalize a student for student misconduct violations, often to shield themselves from liability. School misconduct policies also frequently place a burden on other students or faculty to report suspected instances of student misconduct. In fact, if you're attending a state school in Massachusetts, like UMass Boston, the federal government will require reporting of sexual misconduct constituting a Title IX violation to the school's dedicated Title IX office.
Due to the onerous misconduct policies, as well as the mandatory reporting requirement often imposed on students and faculty, many students are unjustly or too harshly punished. Sometimes the students accused of misconduct are victims of discrimination, and their efforts to advocate for themselves go unheard by the school's administration. These disciplinary actions can quickly go south, and the student may find they've been dismissed or suspended before they're able to mount an adequate defense.
Time is of the essence after you've been dismissed from your MA college, and it's critical you speak to an experienced student discipline defense attorney before it's too late. Mr. Lento and his skilled team understand how important it is to you and your loved ones that quick, efficient, and effective communication be rendered to your school as well as to you and your family.
If the time for appealing your dismissal has already passed, know that you aren't alone. You may feel overwhelmed and defeated, but there may still be options available to you through negotiation with your school's general counsel. Through skilled and strategic negotiation, Mr. Lento continuously helps students regain good standing with their academic institutions. Contact the Lento Law Firm right now to learn how he can help you.
Academic Misconduct Dismissals in Massachusetts
Another type of misconduct that often leads to dismissal is academic misconduct. Academic misconduct concerns conduct that directly relates to coursework. Frustratingly, academic misconduct accusations are often fraught with vague policies and unintended violations. Most academic integrity policies address cheating, plagiarism, or unauthorized use of course materials, to name a few, but each school will have its own separate policies. For example, Boston University specifies that acts of academic dishonesty may include “altering or destroying another student's work or records” and “failure to sit in a specifically assigned seat during an examination.” It's easy to see how an accident could lead to disciplinary action.
Allegations of academic misconduct will result in an investigation and possibly a hearing before your school's committee. Punishment can range from a simple reprimand to dismissal, depending on the severity of the accusations against you. Once you've been dismissed, you still have options. Boston University allows a student to appeal a decision to dismiss or expel, but the appeal must be made within 14 days of the Dean's final decision. It's difficult for parents and students to meet these short deadlines if they haven't already retained legal representation. If the deadline has passed, you shouldn't just throw up your hands and give up. You should absolutely speak to a dismissal attorney with experience negotiating re-entry into your school after the time for appealing a dismissal has passed.
Academic Progression Dismissals
Dismissals from a Massachusetts college because of academic progression issues are devastating. Often, circumstances outside of a student's control will lead to academic performance difficulties, and colleges and universities sometimes care more about performance metrics than they do a student's hardships. Unfortunately, this cold treatment of a student's performance can boil down to federal funding requirements. For example, federal regulation requires students to meet and maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards before the school can issue federal loans to the students. For instance, Harvard provides the following regarding SAP:
"meet the minimum academic requirements in any term: a student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 and satisfy academic degree requirements as determined by the academic department/program and the Registrar's Office."
In addition to the cumulative GPA requirement, students must also meet certain quantitative standards which dictate how much time a student has to complete a course or program. Types of academic progress issues that might instigate a performance or SAP review can include:
- Low grades
- Failing a course
- Withdrawing from a course
Students will be notified of their financial aid loss and, in most cases, can appeal the decision. Losing financial aid is a big blow, but it's not as devastating as being entirely dismissed from your program. Dismissal or suspension from a MA college because of your grades may seem extreme, but colleges and universities do it all the time. Amherst College, for instance, provides the following description of students who could be dismissed:
- “Those who in any semester fail in two or more courses. Withdrawal from a course while failing it shall count as a failure.”
- “Those who in any semester fail a course and receive an average of less than C in courses passed.”
- “Those who in any semester pass all courses but receive an average of less than C-.”
- “Those who have accumulated delinquencies in three or more courses during their college careers.”
- “Those who have been on probation and have failed to meet the conditions of their probation.”
If you're dismissed from your program for academic progression issues, you need to speak to a student discipline defense attorney who can help you communicate your situation to your school. If your grades are already suffering, chances are you're going to have difficulty focusing on your own defense and appeal strategy.
If you've already missed the time to appeal your dismissal, you're probably still experiencing the emotional fallout. Don't hesitate to call the Lento Law Firm to discuss strategies for regaining admission into your program, even after the dismissal seems final.
The Long-Term Impacts of Dismissal From a Massachusetts College
If you've been dismissed from your school, or are facing dismissal, you're probably experiencing several emotions. It can be difficult to stay calm when your future is in jeopardy. Students and their parents understandably experience anger and even panic during such situations. It's important, though, that you try to stay calm and keep in communication with your school professional. Ultimately, patience and persistence can pay off, and you can overcome the short-term and long-term impacts of college dismissal with the help of an experienced defense attorney-advisor.
Overcoming dismissal from your Massachusetts college or university may seem impossible at first. Many are discouraged by the process, but it's important to keep the long-term implications of dismissal in mind. The average annual cost of a four-year degree in Massachusetts is nearly $14,000, according to Business Insider. Higher education is a huge investment, but that investment only pays off if you graduate. The hardships that result from dismissal from your collegiate career far outweigh the difficulties of fighting against the dismissal.
Appealing a School's Decision to Dismiss a Student
Those facing dismissal from their college or university will have an opportunity to appeal the decision under most circumstances. If you've been dismissed or worry you will be dismissed, you need to act fast. Fighting or appealing a dismissal from your university begins as soon as the decision is made by the disciplinary body. It's important to understand the window for giving notice of your appeal is short. Ideally, you'll retain legal help right away, but all too often, this just doesn't happen. Ultimately, the adage “better late than never” rings true, and even when you feel it's too late, you should still speak to an attorney-advisor.
Some of the most valuable qualities you can seek in a defense attorney-advisor include:
- Tireless advocacy
- Negotiating experience
- Prioritizes communication with clients
A successful appeal can mean different things, depending on the circumstances surrounding the disciplinary action. Sometimes students see a complete reversal of the accusations against them, while others will still need to meet probationary standards. The most important gauge of the success of your appeal is whether you're allowed to return to school and complete your degree after a dismissal decision has been rendered against you.
Speak to an Experienced College Dismissal Attorney-Advisor
Joseph D. Lento and his dedicated team work across state lines to bring a skilled and communicative strategy to your student discipline defense strategy. Mr. Lento understands how critical communication is, not only with his clients but also with the school's general counsel. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you, contact us online or call 888-535-3686 today.