Facing Dismissal From Georgetown University

You made it into Georgetown, one of the most prestigious schools in the country. All you have to do now is graduate, and you're almost guaranteed a successful career. Sounds easy, doesn't it? The reality is you can expect to experience your share of bumps and bruises along the way to earning a college degree, no matter where you're enrolled. At Georgetown, where the pressure is on, you might experience more than your fair share.

The challenges you face and the mistakes you make don't have to define you, though. Yes, there are lots of things that can go wrong and lots of reasons why Georgetown might try to dismiss you. You have the power to fight back, though, and you have a powerful potential ally in that fight: National Student Defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento. Joseph D. Lento has dedicated his career to helping students just like you demand their rights and reclaim their futures. If you're facing dismissal, Joseph D. Lento is on your side and here to help.

Reasons for Dismissal at Georgetown University

You can be dismissed from Georgetown University for a number of different reasons. However, they can all be loosely grouped into four categories.

  • Academic Performance: First, you can be dismissed for your academic performance. The school requires all undergraduates complete—not enroll in, but complete—12 hours each semester. In addition, you must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. In fact, some schools and colleges at the university require higher or additional standards.
  • Academic Misconduct: You can also be dismissed for violating the school's Honor System. In simple terms, this means any action or behavior that might tend to give you an unfair advantage in completing your coursework. Examples include cheating on exams and assignments, plagiarism, contract cheating, using false citations, and manufacturing data as part of an academic assignment.
  • Disciplinary Misconduct: You can be dismissed for violating university and community rules as outlined in the Georgetown Code of Student Conduct. Anything from throwing objects from a building to operating a hibachi can get you into trouble. Some violations, though, such as drug possession, hazing, and weapons possession, carry heavier penalties than others.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Finally, as per federal law, Georgetown has a strict policy against all forms of sexual misconduct. Under Title IX, all colleges and universities are required to investigate all reasonable allegations of sexually-based discrimination and harassment. Suspension is typically the minimum sanction in such cases. Most Georgetown students found responsible for a violation are expelled.

The Adjudication Process

You can and should fight any attempt to dismiss you from Georgetown. How you go about doing that, though, will depend on the specific nature of the dismissal you're facing.

  • Academic misconduct allegations are handled by the Georgetown Honor Council. All accusations are forwarded to the council, which assigns an Investigating Officer to review them and collect any relevant evidence. If this officer believes there is good cause to believe a violation occurred, they forward the case to a five-member hearing board made up of at least one faculty member, at least one student, and at least one representative from the Dean's office.
  • Disciplinary misconduct allegations are under the purview of the Georgetown Office of Student Conduct. Initially, this office assigns a Conduct Officer to review the charges. Ultimately, however, cases are heard by a hearing board made up of two students and three faculty members.
  • As mentioned before, sexual misconduct cases are governed by federal law, which includes a set of guidelines for how investigations and hearings should work. The administrative officials in these cases are all selected by the Georgetown Title IX Coordinator.

All three types of cases work essentially the same. They begin with an investigation followed by a live hearing at which you may present evidence and call witnesses. In all cases, you may choose an advisor to accompany you, and this advisor may be an attorney.

Academic misconduct cases are decided by a legal standard known as “preponderance of evidence.” The hearing board must believe it is more likely than not that you committed an offense in order to find you “Responsible” (guilty). Disciplinary and sexual misconduct cases are decided by a more stringent standard known as “clear and convincing.”

In addition, sexual misconduct cases provide you with special due process rights, such as the right to cross-examine the Complainant and any other witnesses against you.

No matter what type of procedures you're facing, they can be complex and difficult to navigate. Joseph D. Lento gives you your best chance of making sense of it all.

Appeals Processes

Finally, Georgetown allows you to appeal any dismissal decision. Again, though, how you go about doing this depends on the nature of the dismissal.

  • Academic misconduct dismissals may be appealed to the Honor Council.
  • Disciplinary misconduct decisions are in the hands of the Office of Student Conduct's Appeals Committee.
  • Sexual misconduct appeals are directed to the Title IX Appeals Officer.

In all cases, you have just seven days from notification of the hearing outcome to file your appeal. In addition, grounds for appeal are limited to a procedural error, new evidence, or a sanction disproportionate to the nature of your offense.

Academic Dismissal Cases

Dismissals for academic performance are not normally subject to a hearing since they are generally based on objective facts. If you fail to earn enough credits or a high enough GPA in a semester, you face probation. If you do not improve while on probation, you face suspension. If you do not improve following suspension, you face dismissal.

However, the Georgetown Academic Standards Committee does have some authority to make decisions. For example, it can assign one or two semesters of suspension as a sanction. Additionally, this committee hears appeals of suspension or dismissal based on any extenuating circumstances that may have led to poor academic performance.

There are additional options for dealing with these types of dismissal. Some professors, for instance, are willing to reconsider your work over the course of a semester or to assign extra credit or makeup work to help you raise your grade. Joseph D. Lento knows all the options that are open to you and which ones will be most appropriate in your specific case.

Fighting for Your Future

Most students find fighting dismissal a daunting proposition. Developing a defense strategy, collecting evidence, and talking to witnesses—takes time and energy that most students don't have. So, they wind up simply accepting their fate and moving on.

You're never any worse off fighting and losing, though, than you would be giving up. And 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, Joseph D. Lento and his Education Law Team are on your side and will do ever