When young adults leave the safety of their parents' homes to embark on a four-year college experience, the journey can be fraught with academic stressors, a tough acclimation to campus life, and sometimes misconduct charges. Even honest, hardworking students can find themselves in front of their school's disciplinary board and faced with the termination of their academic careers.
College and university students confronting disciplinary boards must endure stringent, fast-paced grievance proceedings that can quickly lead to a suspension or expulsion, effectively ending the opportunity to obtain a degree. While the disciplinary process at Hawaii institutions of higher education is complex and can be emotionally overwhelming, that does not mean the chance to defend yourself has passed.
Many students and parents do not retain professional assistance until it is late in the process and the school administration hands down sanctions. Even so, addressing the situation at this stage is still possible to keep you or a loved one in school. College dismissal advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can fulfill your timely desire for collegiate punitive relief. They have represented students in Hawaii and across the U.S. in school grievance proceedings and have worked to keep their clients in the classroom where they belong.
Appealing Disciplinary Sanctions
The code of conduct at any Hawaii college or university will list the various charges—academic misconduct, non-academic misconduct, Title IX violations— for which a disciplinary board can suspend or expel a student. That same set of guidelines that govern the college experience will also explain the procedures for filing an appeal of the school's decision to levy a suspension or expulsion.
Most institutions of higher education in Hawaii and elsewhere explain in their codes of conduct the few circumstances under which appeals are allowed. The University of Hawaii at Manoa details that students can file requests for appeals for the following reasons:
- New evidence: Considering novel information or other relevant facts sufficient to alter a decision that was not known to the appellant during the original investigation.
- Procedural error: Determining whether the investigation was conducted fairly in light of the complaint and evidence in conformity with prescribed procedures.
- Substantive facts: Understanding whether the decision reached regarding the accused was based on information sufficient to establish that a code of conduct violation occurred.
Students have little time to waste after the administration has determined responsibility regarding the misconduct charges to appeal the decision to suspend or expel. Typically, the timeframe is between two and ten days, but it varies from school to school. At Hawaii Pacific University, for example, have between seven and ten calendar days to file an appeal.
Upon reviewing the appeal, the school's governing body will hand down a decision that cannot be reversed. According to Brigham Young University - Hawaii, the appellate authority can do the following:
- Affirm the finding
- Deny the appeal
- Modify the consequences
- Remand the matter to the disciplinary board to reopen the case
- Reverse the finding
Nevertheless, a student experiencing their academic career and future opportunities threatened may become overwhelmed. This can leave them believing there is nothing to fight for and depart the school. They may also be asking themselves:
- Do these punishments fit the charge?
- Has new evidence emerged?
- How can infringements on due process be proven?
Students are not prepared to navigate these situations. Consequentially, they need a professional to help them through the process.
Separation From Studies
School administration officials may move to impose punitive measures on students for failing to achieve "satisfactory academic progress" (SAP). At the University of Hawaii – West Oahu, if a student does not maintain a 75 percent completion rate among their course load, they will be academically suspended. Even if they return to school, they will be ineligible for financial aid.
At the University of Hawaii - Hilo, a student can be temporarily suspended indefinitely pending formal grievance procedures to maintain the "orderly business" of the school. An interim suspension is also not appealable, and this is yet another reason you need a professional college dismissal advisor like Joseph D. Lento on your side. He knows how to negotiate with college administration officials for a better outcome for their student clients, preserving their chances of gaining the education they desire.
Just because your Hawaii college or university has given up on you, that does not mean you should. Do not sit idly by and let them ruin your academic career and future opportunities with unfair discipline.
Schools in Hawaii sometimes make errors in applying these policies. They can place burdensome consequences on students unfairly dismissed because they did not consider extenuating circumstances that may have led to their grades dropping or being targeted for misconduct allegations. Chaminade University of Honolulu lists multiple unfortunate but relatively common life events that may affect disciplinary outcomes like:
- Injury, illness, or death of an immediate family member (parent, spouse, sibling, child) that required an extended recovery time for the student
- Tough transition into student life
- Trauma that impaired a student's emotional or physical health
- Second degree or double major sought, or a change of major
- Withdrawal due to military service
Hardworking and honest students of good character are at risk of being disciplined and losing their opportunity to obtain four-year degrees and begin the future careers they desire. It is important to remember that the grievance process is not a court of law, and a school is not required to uphold student due process. Nevertheless, even if your school has handed down sanctions, there is a path leading to relief. You must contact college dismissal advisor Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm. They have prudent, practical experience defending students against harsh disciplinary sanctions in Hawaii and across the country.
What Are The Consequences of Suspension or Expulsion?
When a Hawaii student faces suspension or expulsion for lack of academic progress or misconduct allegations, a separation from school ends their opportunity to complete their degree. It can also prohibit a student's transfer to or enrollment in other schools.
For instance, a student suspended from the University of Hawaii at Manoa will have any records of their disciplinary actions retained by the institution for a minimum of five years following the final decision. If a student is expelled, the school will hold their disciplinary records permanently. Considering schools require prospective students to disclose other colleges and universities they attended, that could mean they will be less attractive as potential pupils to admissions personnel.
Terms of separation can also impact a student's financial aid. If a student is suspended or expelled and has to reimburse the government for any unearned portion of federal financial aid, it will cause long-lasting economic consequences. This could derail a student's chance to:
- Apply for home loans
- Maintain good standing with credit reporting agencies
- Obtain educational scholarships
Suspended and expelled students must also disclose disciplinary sanctions on various forms like:
- Counseling licenses
- Federal clearances
- Financial certifications
- Civil internships
- Graduate school applications
- Law enforcement and first responder applications
What Can Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Do?
It is common for local Hawaii lawyers to begin defending students with aggressive strategies like litigation against the school. They may tout their experience in a court of law, but courtroom competency does not often translate into the finesse needed to negotiate with school administration officials for a more positive outcome for the student. You may lose your opportunity for a much-needed college degree just because you did not know where to turn when the grievance process left you suspended or expelled.
A student's goal should not be to engage their school in legal proceedings that could last for months or even years. The proper intention should be to gain prompt mitigation from harsh sanctions and continue with your studies. Therefore, it is imperative that you contact college dismissal advisor Joseph D. Lento immediately to preserve your academic and professional future.
Instead of shock and awe approaches, Joseph D. Lento can broker beneficial resolutions on behalf of the suspended or expelled student with the school's Office of General Counsel (OGC). He relies on the relationships he and his team have built with representatives with schools' internal OGC and those retained by the school from outside firms. Lento and his team know how to speak with school administration officials so they can understand more positive options that serve both the student and the institution far better than suspension, expulsion, or other harsh punitive measures.
For expert advice from a proven college dismissal attorney defending students in Hawaii and throughout the U.S., call 888-535-3686 to discuss how Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can defend you or seek relief through the online consultation form. Your academic future and professional depend on it.