Students at the College of St. Elizabeth must adhere to the College Conduct clause set forth in the Student Handbook. The College Conduct policy sets forth standards and rules that both promote a safe and positive learning environment for students, and also promotes the religious values of a Catholic school. The policies and standards rely on morality and safety of the learning environment. On top of this, violations of any state law or municipal code are also simultaneously College Conduct violations. Any student exhibiting behavior that jeopardizes these values is subject to the College's Judicial Process.
The Judicial Process
The philosophy behind the College of St. Elizabeth's Judicial Process is meant to foster personal growth and internal reflection within any students found responsible for violations. Instead of an adversarial process such as that found in the criminal justice system, the College encourages students to accept responsibility so that they may grow as individuals; however, some particularly egregious violations and actions can and most likely will result in an individual's expulsion. The overall authority on judicial matters is the Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students.
The Judicial Process begins once a student under suspicion of a violation has a complaint filed against them. Any member of the College community is able to file a complaint; they do not need to be in a position of authority. From this point, the appropriate office will determine whether or not a hearing is necessary.
If a hearing is necessary, a student will be assigned an administrative hearing officer, who will conduct the proceeding. A College of Saint Elizabeth hearing will be an effort to determine what transpired and what consequences, if any are necessary. The administrative hearing officer is responsible for questioning, investigation, making appropriate decisions of responsibility, and finally assigning appropriate sanctions. Decisions will be made upon the standard of a preponderance of evidence. Hearings are closed events, limited to the student and their assigned administrative hearing officer.
Although the College prefers to limit attendance to hearings to students and staff, an attorney is still able to assist from behind the scenes. Help from an attorney will inspire confidence and security for students who may be facing potentially harsh sanctions from their school. Additionally, an attorney who is experienced in dealing with collegiate judicial proceedings can offer critical advice to a student on testifying and presenting evidence.
The College of Saint Elizabeth will impose disciplinary sanctions if an accused student is found responsible for violating the College Conduct policy. Disciplinary penalties or sanctions are imposed by the College for two purposes: 1) to protect the College of Saint Elizabeth community from behaviors that are detrimental to the educational process; and 2) to assist students' growth in identifying acceptable parameters of their activities and consequences of future behavior. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include:
- Social Suspension
- Termination of Privileges
- Restitution and/or Fine
- Disciplinary Encumbrance on Student Records
- Warning or Probation
- Work-Related or Community Service
- Parental Notification
- A Referral to the Counseling Services
- Other Penalties, as Deemed Appropriate
In addition to any of the above, the College will impose additional sanctions for academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate.
Regretfully, some College of Saint Elizabeth students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the College disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term. Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that the College of Saint Elizabeth imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious. The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.
College of Saint Elizabeth sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences. The College of Saint Elizabeth will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.
Experience Matters - An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a College of St. Elizabeth Student
The College of St. Elizabeth and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before College Conduct disciplinary violations and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an a liaison between the College of St. Elizabeth, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after College Conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of the College of St. Elizabeth. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the College may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at the College of St. Elizabeth in matters involving College Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with College of St. Elizabeth disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and the College of St. Elizabeth as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct and sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at the College of St. Elizabeth.
The College of St. Elizabeth also offers an appeals process to students who are found responsible for violations. College of Saint Elizabeth appeals must be made on the grounds of evidence of a procedural error, overly severe sanctions, or new evidence. Successful appeals can result in a new hearing altogether, or an amendment to the existing sanctions. Appeals must be filed with the Assistant Dean of Students, and students can meet with the Assistant Dean for further instruction on an appeal.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from the College of St. Elizabeth, contact college student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today.