Lafayette College governs its student body through the use of its Student Code of Conduct. The Student Code of Conduct is located in the College's Student Handbook. When a student exhibits behavior that violates the Code, they will be subject to the College's Conduct Process. The Conduct Process is overseen by the Office of Student Conduct. When a student is found responsible for violations through the Conduct Process, the College will impose sanctions.
The Conduct Process
The Conduct Process begins with the Complaint and Investigation phase. When a complaint is forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct, the Director of Student Conduct will review the complaint. If necessary, there may be an investigation conducted into the matters in order to get more details on the events. If there is sufficient evidence to hold a student responsible for a violation, the process will continue. Students being charged with violations will be known as the "respondent." The person bringing the complaint forward will be known as the complainant.
The next step in the Conduct Process is the Case Administrator Meeting. This is a brief meeting with an assigned Case Administrator, who holds the decision-making authority in the meeting. At the meeting, the Case Administrator will explain charges to the respondent, as well as their procedural rights. The Case Administrator will review the available facts with the respondent, and make a decision using the standard of "more likely than not." The respondent can also accept responsibility during this meeting. If the respondent is found responsible or accepts responsibility, then the Case Administrator will assign the sanctions they deem appropriate. The respondent will have the option to dispute the decision or just the sanction, and move the case to a Student Conduct Hearing. If the sanction is a Formal Warning or Warning Probation, the student may not appeal the decision, nor move the case forward.
Student Conduct Hearing
When a respondent disputes the outcome of the Case Administrator Meeting, the matter will go to a full hearing. The Student Conduct Committee selected for hearings will be three (3) faculty members, three (3) students and the Vice President for Campus Life, or if not enough members are available, two (2) faculty members, two (2) students, and the Vice President for Campus Life. The College will act as the complainant in most hearings. At hearings, the respondent can question committee members. The respondent can also question any witnesses and challenge the credibility of any information presented in the hearing. After all of the relevant information has been heard, committee will make a decision by majority vote after deliberations. The committee will deliberate using the standard of "more likely than not."
At hearings, students are entitled to the presence of an adviser. The adviser must be a member of the College community, and is allowed at both the Case Administrator Meeting and the Student Conduct Hearing. While students may want someone with them at their hearings for support, one who is simply a member of the community may not have the necessary skills and experience necessary to properly assist students with their defense. An attorney can help students from behind the scenes by instructing them in proper courtroom techniques they can use to strongly influence the outcome of their hearing.
Lafayette College Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students have a chance at an appeal. Appeals must be submitted by 5 PM on the third business day after the official outcome. Letters of appeal must directly address the action desired from the Appeals Committee. Appeals must also be on the grounds of procedural error, new information, or inappropriate sanctions. Students seeking an appeal may have to attend a case review meeting with the Appeals Committee to discuss the appeal. Students can have a secondary appeal to the President of the College only if their sanctions are expulsion, suspension or loss of College recognition of an organization.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Lafayette College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.