Facing Dismissal From Emory University

Nobody said college would be easy. You're suddenly surrounded by people you don't know; your parents are putting all kinds of pressure on you to decide what you want to do with your life; and, oh yeah, there are classes to get to when you have free time.

Here's a very real fact you need to know: not everybody makes it to the end. Emory University is a prestigious school, and every year it dismisses dozens of students for all sorts of reasons.

What do you do if, despite your best efforts to study hard and keep your nose clean, you suddenly find yourself facing dismissal? You fight it. That's not always easy. You're going to need to know how to defend yourself, and that can depend on what kind of dismissal you're facing.

Here's the good news: you don't have to take on this fight alone. National Student Defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento knows what you're going through, and he's here to help. He's helped hundreds of students protect their rights and salvage their futures. You owe it to yourself to see what he can do for you.

Reasons for Dismissal at Emory University

Emory can dismiss you for anything from buying a paper from an online paper mill to streaking in the quad and dozens of other offenses in between. For the most part, though, the reasons for dismissal can be grouped into four categories.

  • Academic Performance: First and foremost, you're a student. You don't have to be perfect, but you do have to meet certain minimum academic requirements if you're going to make it through Emory. For one thing, you're going to have to keep at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Failure to reach this mark can get you put on academic probation, and failure to pull your grades up while you're on probation can get you dismissed from the university altogether.
  • Academic Misconduct: High grades are hard to come by at Emory, but you still have to earn them honestly. The school's Honor Code forbids cheating and plagiarism, of course, but also misusing electronic devices, violating testing policies, and dishonesty in general. Multiple or egregious offenses can certainly get you dismissed.
  • Disciplinary Misconduct: Just as you're expected to exercise integrity in the classroom, you're expected to abide by certain rules of behavior outside of it. The Student Code of Conduct contains a long list of potential violations, including theft, underage drinking, and disorderly conduct. Any violation can get you dismissed, but some, like drug possession, hazing, and assault, are almost guaranteed to get you expelled.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Finally, Emory also has a policy against sexual misconduct. While sexual misconduct is technically a form of disciplinary misconduct, it is subject to government law (Title IX) and so is dealt with using a separate set of rules and procedures. You should also know that it is perhaps the quickest way to be dismissed from Emory. The minimum penalty in such cases is usually suspension, but expulsion is far more likely.

The Adjudication Process

Dismissal isn't a foregone conclusion just because you've made a mistake. In most cases, you have the right to defend yourself. Though how you do that can vary based on what kind of dismissal you're facing, the process is roughly the same in any case.

  • Cases usually begin when someone makes a complaint against you, whether that complaint is made to the Honor Council, the Office of Student Conduct, or the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Once a complaint is evaluated, one or more investigators are assigned to collect evidence. In some cases, the evidence may be your own coursework. In others, it may be statements you made to investigators. It can also include physical evidence and witness testimony.
  • The material investigators collect becomes the centerpiece of a formal hearing, whether that hearing is before the Honor Council, the University Conduct Council, or a Title IX Hearing Officer.
  • At the hearing, you may present evidence and call witnesses to help support your arguments. If there is a Complainant (an accuser or alleged victim), they will have the right to do the same.
  • At the end of the hearing, decision makers must decide whether or not you are Responsible for (guilty of) a violation. To do this, they use a legal standard known as “preponderance of evidence.” In simple terms, they must find you Responsible if they are more than 50 percent convinced you committed an offense.
  • If you are found Responsible, decision-makers then assign a sanction or punishment.

While all cases follow this basic outline, there are some important differences in how they work. For example, the Honor Council, which decides academic misconduct cases, is made up primarily of students. The Conduct Council contains students, faculty, and staff. Title IX cases are decided by a single Hearing Officer.

In addition, you'll find that some of the specific procedures differ between different kinds of investigations and hearings. At a Title IX hearing, for instance, you must have an advisor, and only this advisor may cross-examine witnesses.

It's not always easy to navigate the complexities of an investigation and hearing, especially when there are three separate processes you might have to contend with. You do have rights, but they won't do you much good if all they do is confuse you. Joseph D. Lento knows Emory's judicial systems, and he knows how to use them to your advantage.

Appeals Processes

Cases don't necessarily end with a hearing decision. You also have the right to appeal decisions. Again, who you appeal to will depend on the nature of the charge against you.

  • Academic misconduct appeals are heard by a special appeals panel appointed by the dean of the school.
  • Disciplinary misconduct appeals are heard by a standing Appeal Board.
  • Sexual misconduct appeals are heard by a Title IX Appeal Panel.

You should also know that there are limits to filing appeals. They must be filed within a certain amount of time—usually between 7 and 10 days, and they must be based on very specific grounds, including,

  • The discovery of new evidence
  • A procedural error in the investigation or hearing
  • A sanction disproportionate to the offense
  • A finding not based on the facts of the case

Academic Dismissal Cases

You may have noticed there's been no mention so far of how to respond to dismissals for poor academic performance. That's because there's no formal process for handling such dismissals.

That does not mean, however, that you don't have options. Even professors make mistakes, and sometimes getting a higher GPA is simply about convincing yours to recalculate your scores. Instructors have also been known to assign extra credit or makeup work to help you bring up a grade.

These options can sometimes be tricky because they involve subtle negotiation tactics. Joseph D. Lento can offer you important advice on just how to approach faculty and administrators.

Fighting for Your Future

Most students find fighting dismissal a daunting proposi