At the beginning of the new school year in August 2022, students at Marquette University held a demonstration at the New Student Convocation, which spurred the sanctioning of 10 students of color under unusual disciplinary proceedings. Members of the Black Student Union, Marquette University Student Government, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Marquette and University and the Latin American Student Organization, met outside before the convocation ceremony was to take place to hold the university accountable for how students of color are treated on campus.
Institutional Racism at Marquette University
Many students of color at Marquette University feel as if they are used as “diversity tokens,” showing them on their social media channels to prove that the university is increasingly diverse, while at the same time not supporting them or their educational needs. After the demonstration, Marquette University took disciplinary action against the students, sanctioning them to either probation or probation and suspension with abeyance. Some students will also have to write an apology letter and an educational program on Marquette's demonstration policy, serve 20 hours of community service, and pay a $300 fine.
Some professors are confused with the disciplinary action taken, believing that the students had every right to demonstrate and that they were right to call out the university for the lack of support. Further, they believe the disciplinary proceedings harmed the students, stating that intimidation tactics were used. Even when the students exhibited signs of emotional distress, the interviewer did not pause their interrogation.
One Marquette University assistant professor who attended several of the interviews said that Marquette is exhibiting the signs of institutional racism. Institutional racism is present when the university's policies and procedures do not consider the background of the student. The students who are being punished for the demonstration are not the university's typical students who would have access or know they have a right to an attorney-advisor's guidance.
How an Experienced Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Most university conduct codes allow students the assistance of an attorney-advisor during disciplinary proceedings. Attorney-advisors work with students to defend themselves against unnecessary sanctions like probation or suspension. They understand how nuanced these proceedings can be and will work tirelessly to ensure the university upholds your due process rights, which include your right to a fair hearing.
You have the right to hear the accusations against you and present evidence and witnesses to defend yourself. But many universities do not automatically recognize these rights and instead question students in an overwhelming and taxing manner, forcing many to say whatever will get them out of the situation fastest. Students can be unnecessarily punished when this happens, which can have long-term consequences for their education and professional lives.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have spent years helping students across the United States navigate disciplinary proceedings. They will help you create a strong defense that guarantees you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation or visit us online.