Facing Dismissal From Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon is one of the premier institutions of higher education in the country. A degree from Carnegie Mellon virtually assures you of personal and professional success in life.

They don't just give those diplomas away, though. Courses are rigorous, and professors are demanding. Even beyond the classroom, you're expected to uphold the highest standards of personal conduct. There are a number of reasons why you might be dismissed from the school before you manage to graduate, and each year many students are.

Joseph D. Lento wants to keep that from happening. Joseph D. Lento is a national student defense attorney-advisor who has dedicated his career to helping college and university students find success. He knows how school bureaucracy works, he's practiced at talking with faculty and administrators, and he's helped hundreds of students just like you get their academic careers back on track. If you're facing dismissal or any other serious sanction, you owe it to yourself to find out just what Joseph D. Lento can do for you.

Reasons for Dismissal at Carnegie Mellon University

For the most part, the various reasons for dismissal at Carnegie Mellon can be grouped into four categories.

  • Academic Performance: First, you're expected to succeed as a student. If you can't keep up academically, you're subject to academic probation, suspension, and even dismissal. Beyond fulfilling the requirements of each course, the university evaluates students after each semester, and you're expected to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and to complete between 45 and 49 credits each semester.
  • Academic Misconduct: You can be sure that Carnegie Mellon will hold you to the highest standards of integrity as you complete your degree. The school's policy on academic integrity expressly forbids cheating, plagiarism, and “unauthorized assistance,” but any action that might tend to give you an unfair advantage in completing your coursework qualifies as misconduct and can be punished with dismissal.
  • Disciplinary Misconduct: Carnegie Mellon also holds all students to strict Community Standards. In other words, expectations don't just end when you leave the classroom. Trespass, vandalism, and even making too much noise can get you into trouble. Some violations, though, are almost always punished with dismissal. Hazing, drug possession, and assault can all lose you your place at Carnegie Mellon, as can being convicted of off-campus crimes like DUI and domestic abuse.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Finally, you can also be dismissed for sexual misconduct. Such offenses technically fall under the larger umbrella of disciplinary misconduct but are treated separately because they are subject to federal law.

The Adjudication Process

Fighting dismissal starts with understanding how Carnegie Mellon investigates and adjudicates dismissal cases. That can depend on what kind of dismissal you're facing.

  • Decisions about academic misconduct usually begin with the classroom instructor. However, if the allegations are serious enough to warrant dismissal, you have the right to defend yourself before the university's Academic Review Board. This affords you the opportunity to call witnesses and to draw attention to evidence, though you may not present any new evidence during the hearing itself.
  • Disciplinary misconduct allegations are heard by the University Disciplinary Committee, which consists of 1-2 faculty members, 1-2 staff members, and two students. As in academic misconduct hearings, you are allowed to present evidence and suggest witnesses. Again, however, proceedings are strictly controlled. For example, only committee members may actually ask questions of the witnesses.
  • Sexual misconduct cases are also adjudicated through a formal hearing process. In this case, though, the rules of that process are governed by Title IX. Generally speaking, this means you have more rights in these cases. For example, you have the right to cross-examine the complainant and any witnesses against you.

Unfortunately, there are no formal processes for deciding matters of academic standing since these are usually based on objective criteria like GPA. Even so, there are options if you are facing dismissal for academic deficiencies. For instance, you can always contact a professor and ask them to reconsider your coursework from the semester

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to higher education. That's especially true of campus judicial procedures. Whatever type of dismissal you're dealing with, you can expect the process to be grueling and the rules difficult to navigate. As an attorney, Joseph D. Lento is trained to handle judicial procedures. As a student defense attorney, he's particularly skilled when it comes to handling campus judicial procedures.

Appeals Processes

Even if a hearing panel should find you responsible and recommend you be dismissed from the university, you still have one final option: appeal. Again, who you appeal to will depend on your specific circumstances.

  • Academic misconduct violations may be appealed to the university provost.
  • Disciplinary misconduct violations may be appealed to the university president. They are handled by an appeals officer appointed by the president.
  • Sexual misconduct violations appeals are heard by a Title IX Appeals Officer.

You should know that appeals in any of these cases must be filed within seven days of learning the hearing outcome. In addition, grounds for appeal are strictly limited to

  • The discovery of new evidence that might impact the outcome
  • Procedural error that might have affected the outcome
  • An outcome that does not meet the preponderance of evidence standard
  • A sanction that is disproportionate to the nature of the offense

In addition, you should know that appeals don't involve open hearings. Appeals officials typically only consider written statements and documentary evidence. Here again, Joseph D. Lento's experience crafting legal documents can be invaluable in support of your defense.

Fighting for Your Future

Fighting dismissal can be a daunting proposition. Developing a defense strategy, collecting evidence, and talking to witnesses—can all be time-consuming. You're a student, and your time is already at a premium.

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 appeal; he knows how to formulate witness questions; he knows how to negotiate with faculty and administrators. Most importantly, no matter what problem you're facing,