Facing Dismissal from Boston University

Graduate from Boston University and you can be fairly certain a successful career awaits you. Sounds easy, right? The fact is, most of us experience some bumps and bruises along the way to earning a college degree. Maybe it's that eight AM class you were forced to take that you just can't seem to wake up for. Maybe it's an ugly breakup with that person you were absolutely sure was “the one.” Maybe you're just struggling with the whole “adulting” thing.

Whatever challenges you face and whatever mistakes you make, you don't have to let them define you. BU may try to dismiss you, but there are always ways to fight back. Joseph D. Lento wants to help you in that fight. Joseph D. Lento is a National Student Defense attorney-advisor who's represented hundreds of students just like you. He knows how colleges and universities operate, and he's experienced at negotiating with faculty and administrators. Whatever problem you may be facing, you owe it to yourself to find out just what Joseph D. Lento can do for you.

Reasons for Dismissal at Boston University

For the most part, if you're facing dismissal from Boston University, it's probably for one of four reasons.

  • Academic Performance: BU expects you to excel as a student, and if you should fall short of that expectation, you can certainly find yourself facing expulsion. For example, you're required to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester. You're also required to earn at least a 2.0 GPA every semester and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA as well. Failure to meet these standards can result in probation, suspension, and, yes, dismissal.
  • Academic Misconduct: You're expected to excel at BU, but you're also expected to do so honestly. The school publishes a long list of prohibitions designed to ensure you don't gain any unfair advantage in completing your coursework. These include everything from cheating and plagiarism to “failure to sit in a specifically assigned seat during an examination.” Particularly egregious or repeat offenses can result in dismissal.
  • Disciplinary Misconduct: BU maintains an equally long list of disciplinary infractions to avoid, known as the Student Code of Conduct. Bringing an animal on campus can get you into trouble. So can copyright violations and pulling fire alarms when there's no fire. Some of these rules—such as those concerning hazing, drug possession, and physical assault—are so serious that breaking them often leads to expulsion.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Another kind of disciplinary misconduct—sexual misconduct—almost always garners dismissal from the university. Sexual misconduct isn't just a matter of school policy; federal law dictates that all schools must investigate any reasonable allegation and includes a set of guidelines for how investigations and hearings should proceed.

The Adjudication Process

Knowing why you can be dismissed by BU is important. Equally important is knowing how to go about fighting dismissal. How you fight is largely dependent on what kind of dismissal you're facing.

  • If you've been accused of academic misconduct, the process normally begins with your instructor. If the charge is serious enough to warrant dismissal, though, it will be handled by the dean of your college and you'll have a chance to formally defend yourself before the college's Academic Conduct Committee. At the hearing, you can present evidence and call witnesses. Importantly, you may be accompanied by an advisor, who may be an attorney.
  • Disciplinary misconduct allegations are normally in the hands of the Dean of Students. This sole individual is responsible for investigating the matter, determining whether or not you are responsible for a violation, and assigning any sanctions as necessary. You can appeal the Dean's decisions, though, to the University Board on Student Conduct (see below)
  • Again, sexual misconduct is actually governed by federal law—Title IX—and thus procedures in such cases are dictated by that law. BU's designated Title IX Coordinator processes any complaints and assigns an investigator and decision makers to pursue them. As in the case of academic misconduct, you also have the right to defend yourself at a formal hearing.

Appeals Processes

Any time you're sanctioned with dismissal, you have the right to appeal that decision. However, how you go about appealing it will depend on the nature of the dismissal itself.

  • Academic misconduct dismissals may be appealed to the dean of the college where the alleged misconduct occurred. The dean's decision may be further appealed to the university's provost. In both cases, appeals must be filed within 14 days of learning of the outcome and are only heard in instances when procedure may have been violated.
  • The Dean of Students makes decisions regarding disciplinary matters. However, the Dean's decisions may be appealed to the University Board on Student Conduct. This board then holds a hearing into the matter, where you have an opportunity to present your case in its entirety. Because a board hearing is technically an appeal, its decisions are final.
  • Sexual misconduct dismissal decisions may be appealed to the Provost. Appeals must be filed within 10 days of learning of the hearing outcome and may only be filed in the case of new evidence, a procedural error, or bias on the part of a Title IX official.

Academic Dismissal Cases

You may have noticed that we haven't yet dealt with dismissals for academic deficiencies. That's because there is no formal process for challenging or appealing such decisions. Typically, those decisions are based on numbers—how many courses you complete each term, and what GPA you earn. In other words, they aren't subject to review.

However, each college's Academic Standards Committee does have some leeway in how it assigns penalties. A committee can, for instance, allow you two semesters of probation rather than just one if it believes you are making significant progress toward meeting standards. It can also grant students extra time to complete work in cases of extenuating personal circumstances.

There are other ways to respond to these types of dismissal as well. You can, for instance, appeal directly to a professor and ask them to either reevaluate your work or allow you to complete extra credit assignments. A single grade change can often be enough to save you from a sanction.

Joseph D. Lento knows all of your options and can recommend the one that will work best in your particular situation. In addition, he can offer advice on negotiating and can help you collect evidence to support your arguments.

Fighting for Your Future

Fighting dismissal can be a daunting proposition. Developing a defense strategy, collecting evidence, and talking to witnesses—these take time and energy. Many students don't do both. They simply accept their fate and move on.

Keep in mind, though, that you don't have to handle this situation all on your own. Joseph D. Lento built his practice helping students just like you handle all types of charges. He's dealt with everything from plagiarism allegations to rape charges. He knows how to put together a water-tight a