As a sure sign of the times, an article in the well-known Chronicle of Higher Education argues that colleges and universities should abolish campus police. Whatever may happen to campus police far in the future, though, students, for now, must instead deal with campus police. How should you do so?
Rely on Your Rights
We discussed your rights and their responsibilities in the previous post.
Rely on those rights. You may not interfere with or hinder the campus police in their work, but you are not obligated to help them either.
Your school may have a cooperation clause, requiring you to cooperate with university staff, and may attempt to punish you for not assisting the police by answering questions or offering access to your dorm room. If your school gives you any such trouble for relying on your constitutional rights, then promptly retain national college and university defense attorney Joseph D. Lento. Don't let your school make you relinquish important rights, to your harm.
As the above Chronicle of Higher Education article highlights, campus police sometimes go far off campus to patrol and respond to calls. But you should know that the boundaries of their jurisdiction and the limits of their authority are very specific, and the officers themselves may not even know exactly which side of the street they should stop on. Any university disciplinary action resulting from an off-campus police interaction should be closely examined for jurisdiction.
School Misconduct Investigations
Campus police will generally only investigate student violations of the school's conduct code when those violations could violate the law. When the investigation is complete, they may, or may not, have enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. But even when they do not, they almost always will send their report to the university, who will adjudicate any code of conduct violations it contains. And the university has looser standards of evidence, a lower burden of proof, and the power to issue life-changing punishments.
If you avoided an arrest and criminal charge but now face a school investigation, then it's no time to relax. The intricacies of when and how to respond to allegations is best left to your attorney advisor, but If a school official such as a professor, RA, or Title IX investigator asks you to explain what happened, then you may have to explain, or the school could use your refusal to cooperate against you—you don't have the same constitutional rights as in a criminal investigation. Preserving your constitutional rights while cooperating with your school can get confusing. Student misconduct accusations can place your education and career at risk.
Rely on Expert College and University Defense Counsel
If campus police knocked on your door, and now you face a college or university misconduct investigation, then take the matter seriously. Your education and career are at risk. Retain national college and university defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your defense. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.