The imposition of disciplinary sanctions against you can really throw a wrench in your plans to obtain your degree. Perhaps you failed to maintain a certain GPA and were dismissed or maybe you were caught consuming alcohol while under the legal age. Or worse, maybe you were wrongfully punished for allegations of Title IX sexual misconduct. Whatever your unfavorable circumstance is, it is important you take advantage of your college or university's appeal process. When disciplinary actions result in suspension or expulsion, it's important that you appeal to either salvage your reputation and good standing in the community, or at least reduce the severity of disciplinary sanctions. Remember, every disciplinary action carried out against you by the school will go on your disciplinary record - a file that potential future employers and other higher education institutions will have access to.
What is an academic or disciplinary student appeal?
When a student files an appeal, they are challenging the decision of a college or university. The appeals process typically takes place after they are found responsible for a violation of a school's code of conduct. For example, an academic appeal may be submitted after a school decides to put a student on academic probation. A disciplinary appeal, however, may be submitted by a student who was accused of cheating on an exam or for being caught with drugs in their dorm room. Both types of appeals and their procedures are outlined in your college or university's handbook or online.
What a student can and cannot argue within an appeal varies based on the school. Some schools specify that only certain issues can be appealed, while the vast majority of colleges and universities usually bar students from re-arguing their case in an appeal. If you are debating appealing a decision made by your school, here are a few tips that may help you write an appeal that will be effective and accepted by your school:
Your letter must include a grounds for an appeal
You must have a good reason, or grounds, for wanting to challenge a college or university's decision. The grounds for disciplinary and academic appeals commonly are:
- The sanction administered as a result of a violation of the code of conduct is unjustified in its severity
- The evidence presented did not justify the school's finding or responsible or not responsible
- The principles of due process were omitted, ignored or violated
- New relevant evidence was unobtainable at the time of the original hearing
You may want to consult an attorney
When facing disciplinary action, consulting a skilled attorney could maximize the likelihood of a successful appeal. Each school's policy on the presence of an attorney varies, however, the mere advice and guidance of an attorney who has helped other students appeal disciplinary and academic decisions could be very valuable.
Thoroughly follow your school's appeals process deadlines
Every school has its own individualized appeals process, which means that each school has its own unique deadlines. Some schools give you ample amounts of time after a determination to file an appeal, while others may give you a short time frame to do so.
Student Appeal Attorney
The stakes are high for students who are found responsible for violating their code of conduct. This is why it may pay off to retain an experienced lawyer to give you legal advice for appealing a school's decision and possibly representing you at a school hearing. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has experience successfully guiding students through their school's appeal processes and helping them score successful appeals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the nation. Contact him today for help.