Los Angeles Community College District Misconduct Charges

Community college is a door to the future. Many students attending community college are making a very smart choice. Community college students can earn college credits and perhaps an associate's degree nearer home and at a lower cost. A community college education can be the launching pad through which those students make the next big leap in their higher education, life, and career. Yet community college students can face academic deficiencies and discipline and behavioral and sexual misconduct charges. And when community college students face suspension or dismissal, the impact on their future can be dire, closing doors to colleges, universities, graduate schools, and even vocational programs. If you face academic or misconduct dismissal as a student at a Los Angeles Community College District college, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team to defend and defeat those charges. Your education, career, and future are worth defending.

The Los Angeles Community College District

The Los Angeles Community College District is the nation's largest community college district and one of the world's largest. The Los Angeles Community College District has nine colleges spread across 882 square miles. Those colleges include East Los Angeles College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Southwest College, L.A. Trade-Tech College, Los Angeles Valley College, and West Los Angeles College. The Los Angeles Community College District provides an enormous educational benefit, enrolling over 200,000 students. The District also has an enormous economic impact on the region, deploying an annual budget of about $5.8 billion. No matter the Los Angeles Community College District college you attend, national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available to help you defend and defeat those charges at your school.

The Value of a Los Angeles Community College Education

If you face discouraging disciplinary charges, don't let those charges make you doubt the value of your Los Angeles Community College District education. Los Angeles Community College District graduates go on to do great work and great things. Famous graduates of Los Angeles City College, for instance, include architect Frank Gehry, economist Lawrence Klein, artist Kerry James Marshall, author Carolyn See, and choreographer Alvin Ailey, among many others. Los Angeles Community College District colleges offer so many innovative and valuable programs that the potential benefits are measureless. As the oldest of the District colleges, Los Angeles City College, for instance, offers more than one hundred vocational and professional programs leading to degrees, certificates, or transfer opportunities. Don't underestimate the potential value of your Los Angeles Community College District education when deciding whether and how to fight disciplinary charges. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm to help you defend and defeat those charges. Keep your doors to further education and a rewarding career and future open.

Los Angeles Community College District Governance

If you face academic or misconduct discipline at a Los Angeles Community College District college, District policies will determine the disciplinary standards and procedures. The District has a governance structure through which the District adopts, modifies, and reviews the implementation of those policies. A single chancellor oversees Los Angeles Community College District operations at all member colleges. The chancellor is the District's chief operating officer, ultimately responsible for all District functions, including student affairs and student discipline. The chancellor manages operations through periodic directives and an executive staff. The chancellor's executive staff helps the chancellor develop policies and directives, including those governing student conduct and discipline. A popularly elected, seven-member board of trustees retains and guides the chancellor to govern the District. The board of trustees maintains standing committees, one of which is a committee on student affairs. The committee on student affairs meets regularly to develop, recommend, and review District policies supporting and impacting students, including policies for student discipline.

Los Angeles Community College Student Conduct Policies

If you face disciplinary charges at your Los Angeles Community College District college, you and your retained school defense attorney will look first to District policies and procedures through which to defend and defeat those charges. California Education Code Sections 66017, 66300, 76030, and 76031 require community college districts to adopt standards of student conduct along with penalties for violating those standards. To carry out this statutory obligation, the board of trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District has adopted board rules setting standards for student conduct and establishing procedures each college must follow to determine whether to discipline students for violating those standards. Board Rule 9803 “Standards of Student Conduct” states the conduct rules for all District colleges, while Board Rule 91101 “Student Discipline Procedures” requires each District college to provide fair procedures for determining those charges. Board Rule 9802 requires each District college to enforce the District's standards of conduct under District procedures but permits each college to “develop guidelines, apply sanctions, or take appropriate action consistent with such rules and regulations.” While you and your retained school defense attorney will look first to District standards and procedures, your winning defense may also depend on your individual college's specific implementing rules.

Los Angeles Community College District Conduct Standards

The District's Board Rule 9803 providing for “Standards of Student Conduct” prohibits a broad range of student behavioral misconduct. Board Rule 9803 first requires students to respect and obey the civil and criminal laws of the city, county, state, and nation. Thus, your District college could construe your violation of law as a violation of the District's student standards. That law violation may have to affect college activities or threaten college students or operations in some manner for college disciplinary officials to take disciplinary action, but the prospect exists for such a disciplinary charge. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento if your District college is unfairly taking disciplinary action against you for a law violation over which the college should have no concern or for any of the following college conduct standards. Board Rule 9803 specifies these many actions that violate the District's student standards, for which District students may face discipline:

  • Willful disobedience of a college official's lawful directive
  • Violating college rules on facility use, student organizations, or any other matter
  • Dishonesty in knowingly furnishing false information to the college
  • Unauthorized entry on college premises and unauthorized use of college facilities
  • Forgery, alteration, or other misuse of college identification, records, and certificates
  • Obstruction or disruption of classes, administration, disciplinary procedures, or authorized college activities
  • Theft of or damage to property belonging to the college, a member of the college community, or a campus visitor
  • Malicious or willful disturbance of the peace or quiet by loud or unusual noise or any threat, a challenge to fight, fight, or violation of any rules of conduct
  • Assault, battery, abuse, or threat of force or violence directed toward any member of the college community or campus visitor engaged in authorized activities
  • Unlawful use or possession of controlled substances, whether drugs or alcohol,while on any property owned or used by the college or while participating in any college-sponsored function or field trip
  • Weapon possession while on a college campus or at a college-sponsored function, including any object that might be used as a lethal weapon, except by sworn peace officers, police officers, and other governmental employees charged with policing responsibilities
  • Discrimination or harassment in violation of state or federal law on the basis of actual or perceived ethnic group identification, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, sex, pregnancy, marital status, cancer-related medical condition, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status
  • Unlawful assembly of two or more persons to do an unlawful act or a lawful act in a violent, boisterous or tumultuous manner, or conspiring to do an unlawful act
  • Threatening behavior expressing intent to inflict physical, mental, or emotional harm, that a reasonable person would perceive as a threat to personal safety or property, including verbal statements, written statements, telephone threats, and physical threats
  • Disorderly conduct, including lewd or indecent attire or behavior that disrupts classes or college activities, breaches the peace of the college, or aids or incites another person to breach the peace of college premises or functions
  • Theft or abuse of computer resources, including unauthorized entry into a file, unauthorized transfer of a file, unauthorized use of another individual's identification and password, use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of a student, faculty member, or college official, or to alter college or district records, use of unlicensed software, unauthorized copying of software, use of computing facilities to access, send, or engage in obscene, threatening, or defamatory messages presenting a clear and present danger, violating a lawful regulation, or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a college campus, or use of computing facilities to interfere with the regular operation of the college or district computing system
  • Performing an illegal act prohibited by local, state, or federal law while present on a college campus, at a location operated or controlled by the college, or at a college-sponsored event
  • Interference with performance of duties attempting to cause or causing any college officer or employee or any public officer or employee to do or refrain from doing any act in the performance of duties by means of a threat to inflict any injury on any person or property
  • Unsafe conduct posing a threat of harm, including willful disregard of college safety rules or negligent behavior, creating an unsafe environment

Los Angeles Community College District Academic Standards

While colleges are rightly concerned about student behaviors that threaten safety and security or disrupt college operations, college disciplinary officials also concern themselves with academic integrity and academic misconduct. The District's Board Rule 9803 for “Standards of Student Conduct” thus also includes academic standards, defining misconduct within the academic program itself. If you face academic misconduct charges at your Los Angeles Community College District college, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you defend and defeat those charges. Academic misconduct charges are serious matters affecting the student's reputation for reliability and integrity. Attorney Lento can help you with any of the following academic misconduct charges. Rule 9803 first prohibits cheating while not defining that term. In its long list of behavioral prohibitions, Rule 9803 goes on to prohibit these several forms of cheating or other academic misconduct:

  • Violations of academic integrity, including cheating on an exam, plagiarism, working together on an assignment, paper, or project when the instructor has specifically stated students should not do so (unauthorized collaboration), submitting the same term paper to more than one instructor (self-plagiarism), or allowing another individual to assume one's identity for the purpose of enhancing one's grade
  • Classroom disruption by physical force willfully obstructing or attempting to obstruct any student or teacher seeking to attend or instruct college classes, including use of one's person alone or with others to impede access to or movement within, or to otherwise obstruct, students or teachers in classes
  • Instructor abuse assaulting or otherwise abusing any college instructor in the presence or hearing of a community college student or in the presence of other community college personnel or students on college premises or public sidewalks, streets, or other public ways adjacent to college premises, or at some other place where the instructor is required to be in connection with assigned college activities

Los Angeles Community College District Procedures

The District's Board Rule 91101 establishes the disciplinary procedures each District college must follow to ensure that the accused student has a fair hearing. Board Rule 91101 begins with the assurance, “The purpose of Board Rule 91101 is to provide uniform procedures to assure due process when a student is charged with a violation of the Standards of Student Conduct.” You and your retained school defense attorney can invoke protective procedures to prove that the charges against you are false, unfair, exaggerated, or unsupported. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to strategically invoke your college's protective procedures for your winning defense. The District's Board Rule 91101 authorizes any college official from the chancellor and board of trustees through the individual college president and administrators down to the instructor level to impose discipline consistent with the District's standards and procedures. Board Rule 91101 lists the following procedures:

  • Complaints of student misconduct go to the college's chief student services officer, who, after ensuring that the complaint alleges a violation, may attempt to informally resolve the matter with the student. Do not accept any informal resolution that imposes discipline or leaves a record of misconduct until you have consulted your retained school defense attorney. Discipline or records of violations can affect your future. Board rule 91101 permits the student services officer to discipline by informal resolution only up to a warning, reprimand, or ten-day suspension.
  • For complaints that do not resolve informally, the student services officer must notify the accused student of the student's right to a hearing. The student may waive the hearing and accept a suspension for more than ten days only if the college president approves. The student may waive the hearing and accept expulsion only if the district chancellor and board of trustees approve.
  • If the charges proceed to a hearing for the proposed discipline of less than ten days, the hearing occurs before the chief student services officer within ten days of the student's request for the hearing. The chief student services officer must give the student written notice of the charges and the proposed discipline. The officer must hold the hearing in a manner that gives the accused student a fair opportunity to confront and question witnesses against the student and to submit witness statements in defense. The officer's decision imposing discipline up to a ten-day suspension is final.
  • For charges proceeding to a hearing, for proposed discipline of ten-day suspension or more, including expulsion, the hearing occurs before a hearing committee of one student, one instructor, and one administrator. The hearing committee must permit the accused student to confront and question adverse witnesses and call defense witnesses or offer their statements. The hearing committee may recommend any penalty, including indefinite suspension or expulsion.
  • For hearings that result in a recommendation of suspension for ten or more days but short of expulsion, the college president must review the recommendation and summary of its supporting facts. The president may approve, deny, or modify the recommendation. The president's decision is final. If the hearing results in a recommendation of expulsion, the president may approve the recommendation and forward it to the board of trustees for decision.
  • If the president approves a recommendation to expel the accused student, the student may appeal to the chancellor for review and correction before the recommendation goes to the board of trustees for final decision.
  • For discipline that permits reconsideration after the designated period expires, the student may submit the reconsideration request to the chancellor, who recommends to the board of trustees whether to grant reconsideration. The student's submission must include evidence of the student's satisfaction of the conditions for reconsideration.

Role of Legal Representation

The above procedural protections are extensive but not self-executing. Your Los Angeles Community College District disciplinary officials may ignore some or all of those procedures in an attempt to get you to accept false allegations of wrongdoing and voluntary disciplinary that impedes or destroys your college education. The District's Board Rule 91101 expressly denies you any right to legal representation during the processing of disciplinary charges. But that restriction applies only to active participation at college proceedings and only before the proceeding reaches the board of trustee level. You may retain a skilled and experienced school defense attorney to help you evaluate, investigate, and oppose your college's disciplinary charges outside of the proceedings and then before the board of trustees if the charges reach that level. Your retained attorney can make all the difference to your successful defense throughout the proceeding, by guiding you through the process and communicating on your behalf with disciplinary officials at appropriate stages. If you face disciplinary charges at your Los Angeles Community College District college, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for defense of false, unfair, and unsupported charges.

Los Angeles Community College District Sanctions

The District's Board Rule 91101 also sets forth the sanctions that college disciplinary officials may impose when finding under the above procedures that a college student has committed misconduct. College disciplinary officials have the authority to impose a wide range of sanctions. The question of the appropriate sanction for college misconduct gives your retained school defense attorney another opportunity to ensure your fair treatment. Just because the school finds that you committed misconduct doesn't mean that your sanction should be harsh. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to advocate with college disciplinary officials that sanctions in your case are unwise and unnecessary. The District's Board Rule 91101 authorizes any of the following sanctions, but keep in mind your attorney advocate's role in reducing or eliminating any such sanction:

  • Verbal or written warning given to the student by an instructor or administrator that continuation or repetition of the specified conduct may be cause for further disciplinary action, placing documentation of this warning in the student file
  • Written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, prepared by an instructor or administrator, sent to the student, and placed in the student's file, noting that continued violations may result in further disciplinary action
  • Restitution demand requesting reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property, sent to the student, placed in the student's file, and sent to finance administrator, including monetary or appropriate service, with payment required before subsequent enrollment
  • Disciplinary probation for a period not to exceed one year, with repetition of the conduct cause for suspension or further disciplinary action, with a notice placed in the student's file and copies sent to appropriate administrators and campus law enforcement
  • Instructor removal of a student from class for the day of the incident and the next class meeting, during which the student must not return to the class without the instructor's concurrence, with an instructor's report to the department chair
  • Immediate suspension under an emergency to protect lives or property and ensure the maintenance of order
  • Suspension from one or more classes, activities, services, programs, or specific locations on campus for up to ten days with a right to a hearing
  • Suspension subject to reconsideration after a specified length of time and with specific grounds for reconsideration, where the student may request reconsideration only when the time the suspension specifies has elapsed and when the student must present evidence of meeting all requirements specified for reconsideration
  • Suspension of financial aid for the duration of any other suspension
  • Expulsion for an indefinite period, on the college president's recommendation to the chancellor or designee, for board of trustee approval, only on good cause when other means for correction fail to bring about proper conduct or when the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the student or others
  • Expulsion subject to reconsideration after a specified length of time and with specific grounds for reconsideration, requested by the student only when the time specified has elapsed, and granted only on evidence that the student has met all the requirements specified for reconsideration

Los Angeles Community College District SAP Charges

Academic or behavioral misconduct is not the only grounds on which your Los Angeles Community College District college may threaten you with probation, suspension, or expulsion. Colleges receiving federal funding in the form of federal student loans or other forms must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policies. SAP policies ensure that colleges do not retain students while those students incur federal student loan debt when the student is unlikely to graduate meeting reasonable academic standards. SAP policies routinely impose minimum grade point average (GPA), percentage of credits completed, and time to graduation standards. Too many low grades, too many course failures, incompletes, or withdrawals, and too long of a time to graduate because of terms off or too few credits each term, can lead to SAP probation, suspension, and dismissal. While the Los Angeles Community College District publishes a District SAP information, some District colleges add their own SAP policies. The Los Angeles Trade-Tech Community College SAP policy is an example. The LATTC SAP policy requires:

  • At least a 2.00 / 4.00 grade point average
  • At least a 66.5% completion rate for attempted credits
  • Graduation within 150% of the program's normal units

Los Angeles Community College District SAP Appeals

If you have already suffered probation, suspension, or dismissal based on your District college's application of the satisfactory academic progress policy, don't give up hope of continuing your college education. SAP appeals are possible. Your District college's SAP policy and procedures will show the grounds for an SAP appeal. For example, the Los Angeles Trade-Tech Community College SAP policy lists these grounds for relief from an SAP suspension or dismissal: “unusual circumstances, including an extended illness of the student or a close family member, change in major, grade changes due to course repetition, and academic advisement recommendation affecting unit completion.” Unusual circumstances can include a host of other factors in addition to the two examples the above policy lists. If you have suffered SAP suspension or dismissal, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your winning appeal. SAP appeals involve more than simply writing a brief statement of excuse. Your winning SAP appeal will need abundant, reliable documentation of your grounds for relief together with your achievable plan for restoring your compliance with the college's SAP standards. Retain attorney Lento rather than attempting an SAP appeal on your own.

Individual College Policies

The Los Angeles Community College District “Standards of Student Conduct” adopted under Board Rule 9803 apply at your District college. The District's procedures under Board Rule 91101 for determining disciplinary charges also apply at your District college. But your District college may have adopted its own standards and procedures for student conduct, too. Your college's standards and procedures must at least meet the District's standards and procedures. Your college's procedures, for instance, cannot provide fewer due process protections than the District's procedures. But you and your retained school defense attorney should look to your college's student code of conduct, too, not just to the District's standards and procedures. Here are some of the District college student policies that may affect your rights and responsibilities relating to a disciplinary proceeding:

  • Los Angeles Southwest College maintains a Student Code of Conduct that includes both academic misconduct and behavioral misconduct standards. The Los Angeles Southwest College's Student Code of Conduct includes only very brief discipline procedures suggesting that accused students should instead invoke and rely on the District's far more comprehensive procedures
  • Los Angeles City College maintains a student conduct page that links directly to the District's above Board Rules. The College thus relies directly and solely on the Board's standards and procedures. But Los Angeles City College does include further definitions and tips regarding cheating, plagiarism, and related academic misconduct to guide students
  • West Los Angeles College also links students directly to the above Board Rules for the College's standards and procedures. But once again, West Los Angeles College offers students and instructors additional guidance defining such misconduct as classroom disruption and interpreting the Board's procedures
  • East Los Angeles College maintains a Student Conduct webpage that defines academic misconduct and states the College's procedures for determining academic misconduct charges. The same College webpage links directly to the Board Rules for behavioral standards while also listing and paraphrasing those standards
  • Los Angeles Mission College offers a Faculty Handbook for Student Discipline that cites and paraphrases the Board Rule standards of student conduct and refers to Board Rule procedures. The College's Faculty Handbook, though, summarizes and elaborates on the Board Rule procedures, including providing a flowchart for how the College will handle disciplinary proceedings

Los Angeles Community College District Discipline Outcomes

As important as it is to know and follow both the District and your individual college's standards and procedures, don't get lost in District and college standards and procedures. The outcome of disciplinary charges at any District college depends just as much on the peculiar facts and circumstances of each individual case. No matter what your college says in its policies and rules, the outcome of your disciplinary charges has more to do with whether the misconduct the college alleges in fact happened, and if so, what the context and explanations were for those actions. Helping your college's disciplinary officials get the full picture of your actions, including your honest thoughts, right actions, and good intentions, is the role of your retained school defense attorney. National school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento provides the aggressive, insightful, experienced, skilled, and diplomatic advocacy you need for your best possible outcome.

Los Angeles Community College District Sexual Misconduct

Colleges receiving federal funding must adopt Title IX sexual misconduct policies and procedures meeting federal Title IX regulations. The Los Angeles Community College District has adopted Board Rules comprising the District's Title IX policy. The District's Title IX policy meets the federal requirements by prohibiting any act of sexual assault, including rape, domestic or dating violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. Title IX law defines that conduct, and the District's Title IX policy incorporates those definitions as follows:

  • Dating violence applies when the accuser and accused are dating, have dated, or have or had a sexual relationship. Violence includes intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury or placing the other in fear of physical harm, physical restraint, or malicious damage to personal property
  • Domestic violence involves felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by the victim's current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the victim shares a child, a person who is cohabiting or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim, or any other person against a victim domestic or family violence laws protect from that person's acts
  • Sexual assault, including rape, touching the private body parts of a non-consenting, underage, or mentally incapacitated person for sexual gratification, incest between persons related to one another within degrees marriage laws prohibit, and statutory rape with a person under the age of consent
  • Sexual harassment in either the quid-pro-quo form conditioning an educational aid, benefit, or service on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct or the hostile environment form involving unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature a reasonable person would consider so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies the victim equal access to the education program or activity
  • Stalking, involving a course of conduct directed at the victim that would cause a reasonable person to fear for safety or suffer substantial emotional distress. “course of conduct” means two or more acts in which a person follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates with or about another person, or interferes with another's property

Los Angeles Community College Sexual Misconduct Protection

The District's Board Rules comprising its Title IX policy include the protections that federal Title IX regulations require. Title IX procedures can protect an innocent student against false, exaggerated, unsupported, and retaliatory or manipulative sexual misconduct allegations. Do not attempt to invoke those protections on your own. Instead, if you face sexual misconduct charges at your Los Angeles Community College District college, retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you defend and defeat those charges. Sexual misconduct charges can, if not resolved in ways that establish the accused's innocence, ruin their reputation, and interfere with their education and career. Retain attorney Lento to strategically invoke these protections that the District's Board Rules comprising its Title IX policy incorporate and offer:

  • Designation of a Title IX coordinator for the District and deputy coordinators at each college, trained in Title IX procedures and reasonably fair and unbiased
  • Recruitment, selection, and supervision of investigators, decision-makers, and administrative disciplinary officials who exhibit no conflict of interest or bias in favor of the accuser and against the accused
  • A reasonably prompt, fair, and impartial investigation procedure permitting the accused to examine, comment on, and supplement the investigation report
  • The college must presume the accused student's innocence until after the decision-making process concludes
  • The college has the burden of producing evidence to prove the charge, and the school must dismiss unsupported charges
  • The college must permit the accused student to retain an attorney to cross-examine adverse witnesses at a hearing on the charges
  • The decision-makers may only consider testimony of witnesses who appear at the hearing subject to cross-examination
  • The school must give simultaneous notice of the decision to both the accuser and accused in writing that the accused student may review with counsel for error

Los Angeles Community College Sexual Misconduct Procedure

The District's Board Rules comprising its Title IX policy provide that a Title IX deputy coordinator at each college ensures that the college's procedures offer the above protections. The Title IX deputy coordinator receives and reviews complaints to determine whether the complaint alleges Title IX misconduct. The official may attempt informal resolution in appropriate cases. A Title IX investigator proceeds for cases that do not resolve informally. The investigator may interview both sides and other witnesses and must share the investigation report for both sides to review, correct, and supplement. Cases that do not resolve voluntarily after investigation proceed to a hearing before hearing decision-makers. The hearing officials must permit the accused student's retained attorney to cross-examine adverse witnesses at the hearing and may not consider the testimony of any witness who does not appear subject to cross-examination. Hearing officials must write their decision justifying its rationale from the presented facts. Retain national school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the skills and experience necessary to win your Title IX hearing.

Premier School Defense Attorney Available

National school defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available for your aggressive and effective defense of misconduct charges at your Los Angeles Community College District college. Even if you have already lost your disciplinary matter and exhausted all appeals, attorney Lento has the national reputation and network to reach out to your college's or the District's general counsel office, ombuds office, outside retained counsel, or other oversight channel for special relief. Don't give up until you have exhausted all potential forums for relief. And don't retain an unqualified local criminal defense attorney. Instead, get the experienced academic administrative attorney help you need. Attorney Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students nationwide against college misconduct charges. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now, or use the online service.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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