Where We Can Help - Nevada Colleges and Universities

Are you a student attending a college or university in Nevada? (Or do you have a loved one who attends a Nevada school?)

While you're working hard in pursuit of a degree, you're probably working hard with the impression that as long as you keep doing so, you'll get a degree.

For many, this will be true. But it's definitely not something you can take for granted. More and more students are finding themselves on the receiving end of misconduct allegations and frustrating failure to progress scenarios that could wreak their future before they even receive their degrees.

Seem like a long shot? It's not. Increasingly, all it takes is one mistake, miscommunication, or misunderstanding to put your degree in jeopardy and ruin your reputation. For example, think about what could happen if:

  • Someone alleges that you cheated or plagiarized, and your school notes that on your permanent record
  • You're involved in a sexual misconduct investigation (even if you're totally innocent)
  • Your educator claims that you're not progressing in your academic work as fast as you should and gets you suspended as a result

These are not niche, rare circumstances. It can be terrifyingly easy to get mixed up in confusing code of conduct cases. If you're stressed out about your current academic performance, imagine what it would be like if your educator decided to flunk you, as well.

At the Lento Law Firm, we believe that students should have far more control over their academic futures. If you find yourself in a heartbreakingly stressful situation where it seems that there's no out, you should know that you have options. That's where we come in. Whether you're facing academic integrity issues or sexual misconduct charges, you need to work with a student defense attorney to ensure that your reputation and your student record remain clear.

To start, it's time to make sure you have up-to-date information. We've put together this handy guide that covers all of the basic information you need to know as a Nevada college student. Your student defenses advisor will be able to help you from there!

Bookmark this page for later reference, and let's begin.

What Private and Public Colleges and Universities Are in Nevada?

We'll start with a brief overview of the various academic institutions you'll find in Nevada.

Public schools in Nevada

  • University of Nevada
  • Nevada State College
  • College of Southern Nevada
  • Great Basin College

With a student population of over 20,000 students, the University of Nevada is the largest university system in the state. Since that's the case, we'll go ahead and use the University of Nevada's code of conduct as an example throughout this guide. Remember that it's always a good idea to check your own school's code of conduct, though — there might be specific actions that your school considers punishable, for example or unique adjudicative processes that you should be aware of.

Next, we'll take a quick look at the various private schools in the state.

Private schools in Nevada

  • Sierra Nevada University
  • Roseman University of Health Sciences
  • Chamberlain University
  • Touro University
  • DeVry University

Before we go any further, it's important to establish something about the various guidelines and regulations that all schools in Nevada need to follow. There's a widespread misconception that private schools don't need to follow any laws, or at least not very many.

While public schools may be a little more under the governance of the state (e.g., their various processes might actually be a part of state legislation), the vast majority of schools — private school included! — must follow all federal and state regulations. And, even if they aren't technically required to, they do anyway. Why?

In a lot of cases, the ability to accept financial aid from the government is tied to compliance with government regulations. For example, Title IX is a federal regulation that governs how schools need to respond to sexual misconduct. Schools need to follow those rules in order to be able to get financial funds.

Even if a school doesn't accept federal funding, most schools will want to remain eligible for doing so (just in case something happens and they do need help).

With that said, let's take a minute to go over some state-specific government bodies and legislation that could affect the way your school is able to run.

Statewide Higher Education Laws and Government Bodies in Nevada

  • Chapter 396 of the Nevada State Legislature outlines the various stipulations and regulations regarding the state's system of education. While this may be more relevant for public schools, the rules this chapter outlines (including behavioral standards, tenure, financial guidelines, and more) set the standard for all schools in the state.
  • The Nevada System of Higher Education is an external authority that, among other things, often hears complaints against specific institutions. If you need to leverage external authority against your school (say, prior to initiating a lawsuit), this may be a good place to start.
  • Finally, Nevada is in the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. From time to time, this court will hear cases that could have an impact on your school's processes (for example, if the Court hears a case about cheating and makes a decision that sets a new standard in your state). Since this is the case, it's a good idea to keep an eye on what the Ninth Circuit is hearing.

Now that we've talked about the way schools are governed in Nevada, let's pivot to discussing how your school might adjudicate allegations of misconduct and academic concerns.

Allegedly “Failing to Progress” at Your Nevada School: What It Means, and What Could Happen

If someone at your school says that you're failing to keep up to academic standards, you might be confused. What does that even mean? Are they talking about individual teacher standards or universally accepted standards?

And, if you're failing to progress, shouldn't your school have mechanisms in place to help you instead of sanction you?

Your school might have some resources available to help you get yourself through a stressful semester or two, such as tutoring, mental health services, or certain accommodations (e.g., extensions) — but, quite often, you'll just get a series of low grades. If your educator has chosen to escalate your case to the administration, you may face far more than just a failing grade.

Unfortunately, the types of situations that can merit this type of treatment can vary from school to school, as “failure to progress” is quite vague. Here are a few examples of failure to progress actions:

  • Failing to prepare specific (required) materials for courses or labs
  • Repeatedly earning incompletes in courses
  • Failing to take an adequate or minimum number of credits for either your program or your specific student status
  • Repeatedly withdrawing from courses
  • Repeatedly or consistently low grades in your coursework
  • 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)

It can be tempting to ignore these allegations, particularly if you don't believe they're true. However, doing so can result in long-term consequences. Failure to progress cases can also go from a stern conversation with your educator to full panel hearings in front of your school board very quickly. If you believe that your educator might allege that you're failing to progress properly, retain a student defense advisor.

Trust us: When you're overwhelmed and stressed about your academic workload and your entire future, the very last thing you'll want to do is figure out how to defend yourself as well!

What Are Code of Conduct Infractions?

Outside of concerning academic situations, there are specific types of prohibited behaviors that could also result in suspensions and expulsions. We'll go over the two most common types in just a moment. But first, a simple definition:

What is a code of conduct?

Your Nevada school should have a lengthy document that's easily accessible to everyone in the school community known as a code of conduct. It contains your school's expectations about the way students should act while they're on campus.

A code of conduct will contain various lists of prohibited behaviors, the sanctions that could be on the table after a code of conduct infraction, and the specific processes that your school will follow in the event that someone breaks the code.

There's a good chance that you received your school's code of conduct during orientation. (It might be included in your school's student handbook, for example). If you need to locate it again, you should check on your school's website. Your code of conduct might be on your Student Life page or on the Dean of Student's page. (You can also simply search your school's name and the phrase “code of conduct,” which should bring it up in any search engine pretty easily.)

Word of warning: Your code of conduct is not going to be easy to understand. It's going to be full of complex policies, legal language, footnotes, and research. (Your defense advisor can help you wade through this code of conduct to see what's pertinent to your case.)

Your school will likely have two main types of infractions listed: Academic integrity issues and sexual misconduct.

Sexual Misconduct at Your Nevada School

As it deals with the safety of the students at your school, your school will likely take sexual misconduct very seriously.

However, that's not the only reason your school will investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct. Under Title IX, a federal regulation first established as part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, your school must investigate sexual misconduct allegations quickly or risk losing its funding. (As we touched on above, even if your school doesn't currently accept federal funding, it'll still very likely follow Title IX regulations.)

This financial motivation can result in unfair processes. Your school may even steamroll over your rights just to ensure that they're complying with all federal regulations. And unfortunately, a sexual misconduct notation on your student record can be incredibly damaging for your reputation — even if the initial allegations were untrue.

There is a wide range of actions that could fall under the label of “sexual misconduct.” For example, most schools will probably at least consider punishing all instances of sexual exploitation, domestic or dating violence, stalking, incest, and rape. However, that isn't an exhaustive list. Depending on the unique environment at your school, there are many types of actions that could result in an allegation of misconduct — even telling a lewd joke. All it takes is one misunderstanding, one frustrated ex, or one concerned bystander to file an allegation, and then your school's due process will begin.

Academic Misconduct at Your Nevada School

We already talked about failure to progress situations; is academic misconduct any different?

Yes! Academic misconduct, also known as academic dishonesty, is distinct from failure to progress in one crucial way. In a failure to progress situation, the student typically hasn't broken any rules. Academic misconduct requires rule-breaking. For example, it's probably stated in both your school's code of conduct and the curriculum for your specific class that you can't cheat on any exams or homework assignments. This indicates that cheating is a common type of academic integrity issue.

Some other types of academic misconduct include collaborating with other students, accessing unauthorized materials, plagiarizing, and fabricating data.

Your school may not be especially discerning when it comes to academic misconduct. If your teacher is suspicious of your behavior, they may file an allegation. If another student is jealous of your academic performance, they may file an allegation. And, if you're simply associated with academic misconduct, even unknowingly (e.g., if a friend has copied your homework without telling you), you might be at risk of an allegation of academic misconduct.

In some cases, your educator may make an effort to tailor the recommended punishment to the “crime.” They may simply give you a failing grade. This can be bad enough, but you're also at risk of a suspension — particularly for serious or repeated cases of misconduct.

Are there other types of misconduct at my Nevada school?

Sexual and academic misconduct are the two most easily defined groups of punishable actions, but there are others. At your school, these may be left up to the discretion of the administration, lumped together and described as “general misconduct,” or given another name entirely. This is another time when it's a good idea to check what's going on with your school's code of conduct.

There are some actions that most schools will consider punishable in this third general category. These include:

  • Drug or alcohol use: If you're under the age of 21, your school will likely have strict rules in place to ensure that you don't purchase, possess, or consume illicit substances.
  • Residential misconduct: Your school will probably prohibit theft, violence, or destruction of personal property in the dorms.
  • Hate crimes: If your theft, act of violence, or destruction of personal property can be linked to an aspect of the victim's person (e.g., their orientation, race, gender, or religion), your action could be considered a hate crime.
  • Hazing: Does your fraternity, sorority, sports team, or social club have extensive initiation rituals that involve pain, destruction, or extreme embarrassment? If so, your involvement in those hazing rituals could result in sanctions.

Whether your school suspects that you're responsible for one of these actions or for something unique to your school, you're probably wondering what comes next.

What Will My Nevada School's Due Process Entail?

Your school's procedures for adjudicating your supposed infraction could vary widely from the standard. However, it will probably start with one specific event: Your school will send you a notification that you're going to be the subject of a misconduct investigation.

Once you receive this notification, you've immediately got a few things on your to-do list. These include:

  1. Not talking to anyone about your allegations. Even though you're stressed, confused, and in need of community, unfortunately, you're in a situation where anything you say to anyone (even a friend or trusted mentor) could be held against you. As this is the case, you'll need to keep your frustrations to yourself. If you need to speak to someone, talk to a member of your family, a mental health professional, or your student defense advisor.
  2. Taking some time to gather as much information as is possible about your allegations. Read through the relevant parts of your school's code of conduct, put together a timeline of events, and make copies of anything you can find — social media posts, emails, submitted homework — that you feel could back up your side of the story. It's important to do this as early in the process as you can: Not only will this help you and your student defense advisor tremendously as you're putting together your case, but it's a lot easier than you think to forget these kinds of things after a week or so.
  3. Hiring a student defense attorney! We've mentioned this a few times, but it's vital that you hire a student defense professional as early as you can in your school's adjudicative process. This might seem like an overreaction, but, trust us, you don't want to wait until the day before a hearing to get your representation figured out. These types of cases are often won or lost as early as the investigative phase, so make sure that you have an expert by your side as soon as you realize you may be involved in an investigation!

Once you've gotten those preparatory steps out of the way, you can focus on your school's investigation and the various steps of the following adjudication. The specific way this can happen will depend on your school's regulations, but it'll likely include the following steps:

  • Meeting initially with one or two representatives from your school to discuss the allegations against you
  • Weathering an investigation from your school, during which your school might examine your past records, assignments, social media, and even speak with your friends and classmates about you
  • Attending a formal hearing in front of a panel of representatives from your school
  • Telling your side of the story in full at this formal hearing
  • Reviewing the evidence against you and hearing any relevant witness testimony
  • Receiving a decision regarding your alleged responsibility
  • Receiving recommendations from the school regarding the sanctions you'll be expected to undergo

At the end of this process, you'll be left with a decision. You can either simply choose to undergo the recommended sanctions or try to fight back to negotiate for a better outcome.

Before we discuss the specific strategic steps you may be able to take, let's talk about the types of sanctions that may be awaiting you.

The Types of Sanctions at Your Nevada School

If you open your school's code of conduct to the part where it talks about sanctions, you might be reasonably scared by what you find. Very likely, you'll see a lengthy matrix of possible sanctions matched up to different categories of crimes. When you see them all together, it can look like a lot!

Here's a pretty common list of sanctions that could be similar to what you're seeing in your specific Nevada school's code of conduct:

  • Behavioral contracts
  • Suspensions
  • Expulsions
  • Monetary fines
  • Detention
  • Housing changes
  • Written warnings
  • Mandated course changes
  • Loss of privileges
  • Loss of scholarships

You're probably not looking forward to mandatory fines or housing changes! Here's the thing: Most of these sanctions won't really be options you have to worry about. In the vast majority of cases, the most likely sanction is a simple suspension.

That was the good news. Here's the bad news: That's still a really big deal. Even though a suspension may feel much easier to handle than some kind of binding behavioral contact, a suspension can have much more significant effects on your long-term plans. Here's why:

When you're suspended, you're by definition not going to be in school for some period of time. This will cause a gap on your academic transcript. It'll be noticeable, and it'll be hard to explain.

Later in life, when you start to interview for further education or needed internships or even dream jobs, you're going to have to share your transcript with your interviewer. They'll see that gap. They'll ask you to explain. They will not be impressed with your explanation. As a result of that conversation, you'll likely not get the opportunity you were interviewing for, even if you were otherwise really qualified for it.

At the Lento Law Firm, we believe that this is a really unfair way to have to approach the rest of your life after an allegation of misconduct. (Especially if you're innocent or if the allegations against you were the result of a misunderstanding.) That's why we're here to help make sure you have the resources you need to work towards a better outcome.

Aside from hiring a national student defense advisor, one of the first steps you'll be able to take is an appeal. We'll provide a quick overview of the appeals process in the next section.

How Do I File an Appeal at My Nevada College or University?

After your school issues a recommendation for sanctions at the end of your adjudicative experience, you'll have a brief window of time in which you can file an appeal. Essentially, this process is the way you can formally ask your school to reconsider its decision or negotiate towards a lesser sanction.

To file an appeal, you'll need to come up with a good reason your school should rethink its recommendation. (At most schools, you'll only have one shot at an appeal, so it's highly worth it to make sure that it's as well thought out as possible.)

Typical bases for an appeal might include:

  1. Demonstrating that the recommended sanction is clearly inappropriate for the given allegations
  2. Demonstrating that your school did not follow its own rules as it was going about your investigation or adjudication
  3. Showing your school that you have new information that wasn't available during the investigation

Your defense advisor can help you determine the best argument supporting your appeal. Your advisor can also help you draft the argument and file it on time, making this stressful process much easier for you.

After you file your appeal (by sending it to the appropriate representative at your school — often, the Dean of Students), you'll need to wait for your school to come back to you with a decision. If your school is ready to negotiate, your defense advisor can take the lead. If not, it may be time to consider another method of action.

What if It's Time to Sue My School in Nevada?

Thinking about dropping a lawsuit on your school? This might feel like a really good (and satisfying) solution. However, there's a catch. Litigation against your school may be effective, but it can also be wildly expensive. If you sue your school, you probably won't be able to be a student there anymore, and you could put a lot of relationships in jeopardy.

That's why, at the Lento Law Firm, we have another strategy that we like to employ first. Before you sue, have your student defense advisor speak directly with your school's office of general counsel. That way, they can have a lawyer-to-lawyer conversation about the pros and cons of going through a lawsuit. This type of conversation usually smooths over tense situations and results in compromises that are good for everyone involved. We've seen really good results from this strategy when we've employed it in the past.

If this doesn't work, your student defense advisor will be able to help you initiate a lawsuit if that's the best next step in your situation. Just remember that it's always a good idea to have your lawyers have a conference, first!

Are There Other Nevada Laws I Should Know About?

Yes, there are. From local laws concerning alcohol to statute of limitations laws, there are many Nevada regulations you should be aware of if you plan on living in this state — including your time in college. These laws include:

  • Regulations against underage drinking — and drinking and driving. If you're caught driving while under the influence in Nevada, you'll face steep penalties.
  • Regulations supporting tenant agreements. If you live off-campus, you'll need to pay your rent on time and follow your rental agreement.
  • Regulations against improper use of fake IDs. In Nevada, you can't use a fake ID to purchase alcohol or show a fake ID to a police officer.

Statute of Limitations Laws in Nevada

  • 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: Four years
  • Contracts: Six years

If this seems like a lot of info — it is! Luckily, you've got a defense advisor who's ready to help you tackle all of this with style.

Nevada College Students, Reach Out to Joseph D. Lento for the Help You Need

Saddled with confusing misconduct allegations and don't know where to start?

Skimming your school's code of conduct and quickly realizing that you're in over your head?

Stressed about your options? Slowly feeling like there's no hope in your case? Wondering if there's anything at all you can do to work towards a more favorable outcome?

Fortunately, there is, and it's easier than you think. It's time to make sure you're not tackling these life-changing issues by yourself. It's time to reach out to a professional, empathetic, and skilled student defense advisor.

It's time to reach out to Joseph D. Lento.

Joseph D. Lento has spent years helping students in Nevada and across the nation as they take charge of their academic success. From strategic arguments to coaching before hearings, savvy negotiations with college lawyers, assistance with lawsuits, and more, Joseph D. Lento is here to make your life easier and your adjudicative process more successful.

Whether you need help with your school's investigative efforts or figuring out what your school's code of conduct is saying, Joseph D. Lento will provide timely assistance and efficient support. Reach out to the Lento Law Firm for more information today! Call 888-535-3686 or, alternatively, fill out a form online and you will receive a timely response.

Are you a student or the parent of a student at an Nevada college or university facing a school-related issue?  Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help.  Click on the following links as applicable for more information:

Joseph D. Lento has helped many students and others in academia in Nevada protect their academic and professional future.  Contact him today at 888-535-3686.

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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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