National Attorney-Advocate for Students at For-Profit Institutions
When you decided to pursue a higher degree at East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) University, you likely had big plans for your future. After all, achieving a college or university degree opens many doors, providing a wealth of different opportunities to help you find success, however you may define it.
When you decided to become at student at ECPI, a for-profit institution with campuses in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas – as well as a strong online program – you were happy to become part of a university that provides such a strong student-centered learning environment and a commitment to its core values. Those values, as well as the school's code of conduct, or the university, academic, and technology policies, are detailed in the student course catalog. Violations of those rules can put all of your dreams – and hard work – at risk. It's important to be aware of ECPI's specific ethical, legal, and professional standards for members of its greater community – and to know what to expect if you are accused of breaking one of those regulations.
Rights and Expectations
Upon enrollment at EPCI, all students are mandated to sign an honor code. That honor code states that you will refrain from “any form of academic dishonesty or deception, such as cheating or plagiarism,” as well as turn in any suspected violators of said code. Those who do not follow that code will be summoned to a judicial review board for investigation and adjudication.
EPCI has also published detailed policies regarding everything from eating in classrooms to student grievance procedures. The university states clearly, in its student responsibilities, that they expect all students to “conform with ECPI policy, procedures, and regulations.” Ignorance of those rules is no excuse – and those who engage in student misconduct should expect to be penalized. As stated in the catalog's Student Conduct Policy, students may be subject to disciplinary action “up to and including withdrawal/termination” for infractions including but not limited to plagiarism, illicit drug use, gambling on campus, defacing EPCI property, or sexual misconduct.
Processes and Procedures
While ECPI states it believes in progressive discipline, starting with a verbal warning and escalating up to permanent expulsion, more serious conduct allegations may impact the way it conducts its investigations, hearings, and judicial decisions. Any ECPI decision affecting a student, including expulsion, may be appealed at the student's request. In that case, a review board hearing will take a look at the allegation, the evidence, and the process to determine whether the university's actions were fair and appropriate.
Too often, students who have been accused of an honor code or policy violation assume they will receive due process in the same way they would a local courthouse. You likely expect that you have certain Constitutional rights that will protect you during investigations and adjudications. While ECPI does have published judicial processes in place, they have remarkable leeway in how, exactly, they maintain their judicial processes and proceedings. In fact, while ECPI's student handbook has detailed entries about what is expected of students, what's missing is a clear outline of what students should expect if they are accused of an honor code, university policy, or another type of violation. It is exceedingly common, especially at for-profit schools, that standards are relaxed, especially in sexual misconduct or drug use allegations. Simply stated, the more serious the allegation, the more likely a school's judicial norms and standards will be rushed or even ignored to come to a quick resolution. This is rarely, if ever, in the student's benefit. In fact, most for-profit schools work quite hard to keep your hard-won tuition dollars in such cases, while you find yourself out a degree – and now need to move forward with a black mark on your academic record.
That said, generally speaking, students usually first learn of an allegation when they receive a notice of violation. This may be a written notice you find in your student mailbox or an email sent to your school account. This first notice usually provides some details about the allegation, as well as outlines next steps for resolving the matter. It may involve restitution for damaged property – or provide the time and date of a disciplinary hearing.
If you have received a notice of violation at ECPI, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney-advocate. A lawyer with many years' experience defending students at honor code or university code of conduct hearings can ensure that you put your best foot forward – mounting a strong defense and protecting your hard work, tuition investment, and future degree. Even if ECPI tells you that you are not permitted representation at hearing, having an experienced advisor can help you understand your rights and what to expect from the school's judicial proceedings. They can also assist, if and when needed, in the appeals process.
Trusted Advice, Favorable Outcomes
If you or a loved one have been charged with an honor code or policy violation at ECPI, your first move should be to contact an experienced attorney advocate. With potential penalties as severe as permanent expulsion – something that will forever be a part of your academic record, you want to ensure you leave nothing to change. While it may be tempting to leave the situation to chance, a trusted advisor will guide you throughout the entire disciplinary process to lead you to the most favorable outcome, helping to ensure you protect what is most important to you: your reputation, your hard work, and your future.
Joseph D. Lento, of the Lento Law Firm, has experience representing students who have been accused of university policy violations at schools across the United States. That includes for-profit universities like ECPI. Having a trusted advocate who knows the ropes of university judicial proceedings, from the notice of violation to the appeals process, can help you protect your rights, mount a thoughtful defense, and, ultimately, help you come to a favorable outcome.
Attorney-advocate Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are here to fight for you – and your future. If you have been accused of an ECPI violation, Lento and his team of experienced attorney-advocates can help you favorably resolve any allegations made against you. To schedule a confidential consultation, call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online.