If you're an Idaho college student (or the parent of one), you've got a lot going on. Whether you're in your first or fourth year, your plate is full: You've got friends to make, classes to take, exams to ace, and a future to get ready for.
In short, while college is a fun and full time in your life, you're not really open to surprises. (Or, if you are, you certainly don't have any room for unpleasant ones.) Especially if one day your school decides to slap you with a sanction that could endanger your college career, your sought-after degree, and even your reputation long-term.
While you might think that you're probably not in danger of that ever happening, it may be time to think again. Every college student is just one mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication away from an allegation of misconduct that could change their lives forever. Worse, you don't even have to do anything, sometimes, to receive an allegation of prohibited behavior — or to have your educator express concerns about your performance in school.
Even if they're wholly unwarranted, allegations of misconduct or failure to progress academically can be a dramatic issue in a student's life. In the matter of just a few surprising, stressful emails, you could go from focusing on:
- New friends
- Figuring out who you are
- Taking interesting courses
- Deciding what you want to do with your life
- Working towards your degree
- …to hoping that you don't get kicked out of school
The laundry list of prohibited behaviors you need to remember can vary and even change, making your situation even more confusing. Fortunately, whether you're dealing with academic failure to progress scenarios to code of conduct issues, tense negotiations, reputation repair, you don't need to handle the processes before you alone. In fact, you shouldn't. The Lento Law Firm is here to use the power of our years of expertise to help you work towards a more successful outcome.
In this helpful guide, we'll start by discussing some of the most famous colleges and universities in Idaho and then briefly cover some of the academic laws in your state. We'll discuss the typical types of prohibited actions at most Idaho schools and, finally, review your options in the event that you're facing allegations of misconduct or failure to progress at your Idaho school. Bookmark this page for later reference, and let's dive in!
What Schools Are in Idaho? What About Both Private and Public Idaho Academic Institutions?
Whether you attend a private school in the Gem State or a state-funded academic institution, you're in good company. Idaho has many excellent schools, not limited to but including the following:
Public schools in Idaho
- University of Idaho
- Boise State University
- Idaho State University
- Lewis-Clark State College
- College of Southern Idaho
- Boise State University Online
The University of Idaho is by far the largest school system in the state, with almost 12,000 students. Since this is the case, the University of Idaho's code of conduct, in many ways, sets the standard for due process and prohibited behaviors in the state of Idaho. We'll reference the University of Idaho's code of conduct in this guide whenever we feel it would be appropriate, but remember that it's always a good idea to reference your own school's materials just in case there are specific regulations in place at your school.
Private schools in Idaho
- The College of Idaho
- Northwest Nazarene University
- Brigham Young University - Idaho
- New Saint Andrews College
- Boise Bible College
It's important to remember that even if a specific school happens to be a private one, they still need to follow the vast majority of the state and federal regulations that public schools are governed by. Why?
Even if a specific private school doesn't take a cent of federal funding, they'll likely want to remain eligible to do so, just in case a catastrophe happens (or something similar). In addition, many of the federal rules have become so standard that schools will want to follow them in order to provide a safe, consistent experience for their students. For example, most schools will follow Title IX regulations to help combat sexual misconduct.
That said, let's take a moment to look at some of the state-specific education laws and overseeing entities in the state of Idaho.
Statewide Higher Education Laws and Government Bodies in Idaho
- The Idaho State Board of Education oversees all public institutions of higher education, maintaining regulations about the way they handle everything from financial aid to educator tenure. While many of these laws may not directly influence private schools, they do set the statewide standard.
- Title 33 of the Idaho State Legislature contains language regulating the way many schools in the state can operate, including specific sections for most of the state's public schools.
- In addition, Idaho is in the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. From time to time, this court will hear cases that could influence the way your school's able to run, so it's worth keeping an eye on the decisions coming out of the Ninth Circuit.
Now that we've discussed which schools are in Idaho and some of the ways they're overseen let's discuss the types of actions that can garner negative school attention.
What Does “Failure to Progress” Mean at My Idaho School? Is There Anything I Can Do About It?
Yes, there is—though it might not feel like it at first! If your educator or your school has accused you of failing to progress quickly or well towards a certain academic standard, you might feel confused, heartbroken, and stressed. You might wonder if there's anything you could have done to avoid this happening—or if there are any support systems your school has in place in order to help you at this time.
Many schools do indicate that some level of aid is available, such as tutoring, extended deadlines or testing modifications, or even mental health and therapeutic support. However, when the rubber meets the road, many students find that they're left to fend for themselves when their school accuses them of not being good enough.
Wondering what “failure to progress” means, exactly? You're not alone. It's a vague phrase. Many educators and schools will consider a student failing to progress if they are:
- Failing to take an adequate or minimum number of credits for either your program or your specific student status
- Failing to do the background reading for your courses
- Failing to do everything that is required for your course (e.g., as denoted in your course curriculum)
- Failing to prepare specific (required) materials for courses or labs
- Repeatedly withdrawing from courses
- Repeatedly or consistently low grades in your coursework
- Repeatedly earning incompletes in courses
This list itself is likely not complete. Your school may ask your teacher to decide what types of actions (or inactions) should be investigated as “failure to progress.” This can result in tough situations, particularly if your teacher has specific students they like—and specific students they don't like.
To add to the stress surrounding this type of academic concern, the consequences associated with failure to progress can be significant. On the one hand, your educator could just decide to slap you with a series of failing grades. That would be enough of a big deal, but your teacher could also decide to recommend a suspension. This could end up on your permanent student record, cause a gap on your transcript, and torpedo your academic reputation.
Unfortunately, failure to progress scenarios can go from one disappointing conversation with your teacher to a very concerning investigation and sanction in no time at all. That's why it's critical that you retain a student defense advisor as quickly as you can if you feel that an academic concerns investigation could be in your future.
What Are Code of Conduct Infractions? What Does My Idaho School Consider Punishable?
While failure to progress scenarios can be pretty vague and poorly defined, your school's code of conduct processes and specifically prohibited behaviors should be easy to find.
As we mentioned above, your school has a code of conduct document that lists out all of this information (albeit confusingly). You may have received a copy of this document at orientation or as a part of your school's student handbook. If you need to locate a new copy now, it should be easy to do so. Your school's code of conduct should be on your school's website; Googling your school's name plus the term “code of conduct” should lead you right to it
Even though this document will likely be very hard to read, it's worth at least glancing through it. If you're worried about a specific type of misconduct investigation, reading that section, in particular, is a good idea. Your student defense advisor can help you wade through the legalese and determine which parts are worth your time.
To help give you an overview of what you can expect to find, we'll go through the information found in the University of Idaho's student conduct guide. We'll start with the main types of prohibited behaviors and then discuss what might happen if your school decides to learn more about what you have (allegedly) done.
Sexual Misconduct at Your Idaho School
Sexual misconduct is a big deal at most American schools. Your school in Idaho will be no different. There's actually a federal regulation that requires all United States schools to take sexual misconduct very seriously, but we'll get a little more into that later.
Sexual misconduct is a blanket term that can mean a lot of things. Several of the most common prohibited actions won't surprise you. They include actions like:
- Sexual exploitation
- Domestic violence
- Dating violence
It may be a little more surprising to learn about how your school deals with allegations of misconduct — and the widely-varying actions that can merit an allegation. You see, all it takes is one concerned bystander, one frustrated ex, or one person involved in one misunderstanding at a party to reach out to the administration. When that happens, under Title IX, it doesn't matter if the allegation is untrue or if the act of sexual misconduct itself was the result of a miscommunication. Your school will need to handle it quickly in order to avoid losing its federal funding (again, due to Title IX).
This can result in life-changing sanctions for the allegedly guilty parties. Sexual misconduct tends to follow you around, even (perhaps) more so than a notation of academic misconduct. Worse, depending on the environment and traditions at your school, you may not need to be involved in one of the more serious types of sexual misconduct for someone to file concerns about you. For example, there are some schools at which simply telling a lewd joke or sharing intimate photos with the wrong people could cause somebody to make an allegation of misconduct against you.
Your school may have two policies that it could decide to investigate your case with, a general sexual misconduct policy or a specific Title IX policy. Many schools have this dual-policy system to ensure that they can easily update the Title IX policy to be current with the often-changing government interpretation of this regulation. Depending on which policy your school ends up using, your experience could be wildly different.
Reaching out to a student defense attorney well-versed in sexual misconduct and Title IX cases will be a game-changer for you. To avoid having sexual misconduct on your permanent school record, reach out to a professional as soon as you can.
Academic Misconduct at Your Idaho School
While we've already talked about the types of academic issues and concerns that could result in an allegation of “failure to progress,” there's another type of academic conduct that could attract adverse attention from your school's administration.
Academic misconduct occurs when a student specifically breaks a rule in the classroom (or when completing academic activities) instead of simply failing to measure up to some kind of academic standard. For example, the following actions are very typical inclusions on lists of academic integrity infractions:
- Fabrication of Data
- Collaborating with Other Students (at inappropriate times)
- Accessing Unauthorized Materials
While your educator could decide to recommend a failing grade as an appropriate punishment in these cases, they could also escalate your case to the administration, resulting in similar reputation-harming repercussions as sexual misconduct and failure to progress situations.
Are there other types of misconduct at my Idaho school?
Yes, there are! Sexual and academic issues are some of the most clear-cut and commonly known code of conduct concerns, but there are certainly others. This final “general” category of misconduct is a good thing to look up in your school's code of conduct, as there may be specifically called-out actions that are unique to your school.
However, here are some common inclusions in this final category:
- Drug or alcohol use: Those 21 and under will likely not be allowed to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol while on the school campus. (Depending on local laws, this will very probably not be allowed off-campus, either.)
- Residential misconduct: If you live in the dormitories at your Idaho school, you'll likely be expected to follow a long list of rules that will enhance the safety of living on campus. For example, there might be a ban on theft, violence, or destruction within the residence halls.
- Hate crimes: Hate crimes can be difficult to define, but they can have significant long-term damage to a young person's career. If your recent misconduct — e.g., theft, destruction, violence, or even a prank gone wrong — can be tied in any way to the victim's gender, race, religion, orientation, or any other aspect of their person or personality, that misconduct could be labeled a hate crime.
- Hazing: Recently, particularly severe types of hazing (e.g., those that involve destruction, violence, or significant embarrassment) have been sweeping through the national media and giving some schools a really hard time. As a result, more and more schools are cracking down on some types of hazing, even handing out sanctions for students involved.
Regardless of the specific allegations against you, your school's due process will start once your school receives information about your allegedly concerning behavior and decides it needs to learn more. We'll talk about what could happen next in this upcoming section.
What Will My Idaho School's Due Process Be Like?
After your school learns about your alleged transgressions, it will first decide whether it's worth learning more about — or not. As mentioned above, your school won't have a choice in a sexual misconduct dispute: Under Title IX, your school will need to launch into action straight away.
Once your school decides that it wants to learn more, it will send you a notification and launch an investigation. When you receive this notification from your school, open it! Putting this off won't help your case. This notification should include more information about the specific allegations filed against you, the part of your school's code of conduct relevant to your case, and the next steps your school recommends following.
When you receive this notification, you need to do three things right away:
- Stop talking. You might feel like a rant would be therapeutic; you might feel compelled to defend your name, especially if the allegations are untrue. You might just feel like you need to confide in a friend or even a trusted academic mentor. While this might help your mental health, it will not help you. Later, you might find that anything you say could be twisted and held against you. Try not to speak publicly about what's happened. If you need to vent or speak with someone, turn to a family member or mental health professional.
- Start gathering information about your case. As your school is starting to investigate you, launch an informal investigation of your own. Pull together as much evidence as you can supporting your side of the story, write down everything you remember happening, consider who you could ask to back up your story, and put together an accurate timeline of events. This will really come in handy when you're putting together your case — and you'd be surprised at how much of this information you'll forget a week or two down the road.
- Reach out to a student defense advisor. The time to do this is as soon as is humanly possible after receiving the allegations against you. This might feel premature; you may wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to wait until there's a hearing on the calendar. Here's the truth: These types of cases are often won or lost in the investigative phase. You need to get your attorney briefed and strategizing from the very beginning of your adjudicative experience.
After you've completed these actions, you'll be as ready as you can to take on your school's disciplinary processes. You'll likely experience some version of these events:
- A meeting between you and a representative from your school. At this meeting, you may have an opportunity to review the evidence against you.
- A formal hearing, which may happen in front of a full panel of representatives from your school.
- A decision from your school concerning your responsibility for the allegations
- Recommendations for proper sanctions
One quick note: Your school may have rules in place regarding who you can bring to a hearing. If your school doesn't allow advisors to participate in hearings directly, that's okay — your advisor will carefully coach you in what you need to say, so you're comfortable in a tense, stressful situation.
Wondering what sanctions might be on the table? We'll take a quick look at what's possible in the next section.
What Sanctions Am I at Risk for After an Investigation by My Idaho School?
There's a difference between the sanctions your school has listed in your school's code of conduct and the types of sanctions you might actually have to experience.
For example, if you turn to your school's code of conduct's section on sanctions, you might see a long list of punishments. These might include:
- Loss of privileges
- Loss of scholarships
- Written warnings
- Mandated course changes
- Monetary fines
- Behavioral contracts
- Housing changes
This can be a lot to take in.
There's good news, and there's bad news. We'll start with the good news, first: As we noted above, you likely aren't at risk of having to undergo most of these sanctions. Suspensions are by far the most common sanction meted out for the vast majority of student discipline cases.
You may have just breathed a sigh of relief. A suspension, after all, might seem relatively easy to weather, instead of being forced to change your educational path or a sudden expulsion from your school.
Remember, though, that it's important to remember the long-term consequences associated with suspensions. If you get suspended, that information will show up on your transcript. Later on in life, when you're interviewing for an internship, further school, or even your dream job, your interviewer will notice that gap on your transcript. When they ask you about it, you'll suddenly find yourself needing to explain away a sexual misconduct note on your record. That won't be a good look. Very likely, you won't end up getting the opportunity you were interviewing for, no matter how well you were otherwise qualified for the position.
This can follow you through your adult life, making interviews and job opportunities much harder to navigate than they need to be.
That's why it's vital to work now to make sure that you can negotiate for lesser sanctions and more successful outcomes. After hiring a student defense attorney, filing a strategic appeal might be your next step.
At My Idaho School, How Do I File an Appeal?
When your school provides recommendations for sanctions, they should also provide you a written summary of the case against you, written confirmation of your responsibility, and some indication of the next steps. One possible next step is filing an appeal or formally asking your school to reconsider the sanctions in your case.
Here are a few things to know about appeals:
- You'll only have a very short amount of time (days) after your case to file an appeal.
- You'll only have one shot at an appeal, so it's in your best interest to make sure it's a good one.
- If you haven't already retained a defense advisor, now's a good time to do so!
You'll file an appeal by putting together a strategic argument, filling out all the necessary paperwork, and sending all required materials to your school's designated representative (often the Dean of Students). You'll then wait for a reply from that office.
If your school indicates that it's amenable to further negotiations, your student defense attorney can assist. If not, it may be time to consider escalated action.
What if It's Time to Sue My School in Idaho?
Litigation against your school will, doubtless, be effective — but it can also be extremely expensive, frustrating, and relationship-ending.
At the Lento Law Firm, we will help you file a lawsuit if need be. However, we've seen great success pursuing negotiations first. Before you file a lawsuit, have your defense attorney reach out to your school's office of general counsel. This type of lawyer-to-lawyer conversation can often smooth over tense scenarios without the necessity of a lawsuit.
Are There Other Idaho Laws I Should Know About?
Yes! Here are a few laws worth remembering, including Idaho's statute of limitations laws:
- In Idaho, it's illegal to drink and drive.
- If you live off-campus in Idaho, you must pay your rent on time and follow your tenant agreement.
- In Idaho, it's illegal to show a fake ID to a police officer or use a fake ID to purchase alcohol.
Statute of Limitations Laws in Idaho
- Injury to Person: Two years
- Libel: Two years
- Slander: Two years
- Fraud: Three years
- Injury to Personal Property: Three years
- Trespassing: Three years
- Collection of Rent: Five years
- Contracts: Five years
We get it: This is a lot of information to take in! Fortunately, you don't need to handle all of this on your own.
Idaho College Students, Contact Joseph D. Lento for Timely Defense Assistance
Whether it's you or your student who's in need of support, you're likely stressed, frustrated, and confused. Academic or sexual misconduct is a tough accusation to swallow. Failure to progress academically may be even more heartbreaking.
While it's easy to get dejected and assume there's little you can do to move forward, there's actually one vital thing you can do to work towards a more successful outcome: You can hire and work with an experienced student defense attorney.
Think about it: While you and your family are fighting to preserve your student's reputation and academic career, it'll be hard to remain as objective, strategic, and even aggressive as you may need. Code of conduct disputes can also be very tricky and complex. There are even some scenarios, such as Title IX cases, in which your school may have motivations other than really figuring out what really happened.
That's why you need to hire a defense attorney who has years of (successful) experience in this unique field. Joseph D. Lento has spent years helping students both in Idaho and across the nation as they protect their futures and their degrees. Whether you need help with your school's investigation, negotiations with your school, speaking with your school's lawyers, or even dropping a lawsuit, Joseph D. Lento is the attorney for you. He can assist by helping you formulate strong arguments, getting you ready for tense meetings, and more.
Call the Lento Law Firm today to learn more. The number is 888-535-3686, or, alternatively, you can contact us online to receive a timely response.
Are you a student at an Idaho college or university facing a school-related issue? Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Click on the following links as applicable for more information: