Noise Violations Can Lead to School Misconduct Charges

College and university students work tirelessly to keep up their grades. They study hard so that they can graduate with high GPAs and impress future employers or elite graduate schools. Yet college and university students aren't all work and no play; they may also love to party. Whether it's a kegger before the big game or exuberant post-midterm celebrations, students can often find good reasons to let loose and have some fun. And fun can include loud music, loud voices and laughter, and loud noises from drums, firecrackers, and other distractions.

Noise Policies on Campus

While having fun is generally no crime, serious consequences can follow if that fun leads to excessive noise levels that interfere with classroom instruction, studying, and other campus activities. Colleges and universities often warn students against violating local city noise ordinances in ways that cause neighboring residents to complain to city police. But a city noise violation may not be your greatest concern. Your school may treat your noise violation as a violation of the student code of conduct, leading to school discipline. You could face school suspension or even expulsion over noise violations under policies like the following:

  • Boston University's Noise Policy applying to dormitories and other student residences on campus warns that loud music during quiet hours from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. may result in any form of school discipline including expulsion from the residence;
  • Notre Dame College's Noise Policy prohibits not only excessively loud music but also lewd or otherwise inappropriately offensive music, and requires students to get special permission for events noise from which may disturb other activities;
  • Stanford University's Noise and Amplified Sound Policy warns that disturbing any member of the university community or neighboring residents can violate the policy leading to discipline.

Typical Noise Restrictions on Campus

In an effort to maintain productive academic environments for everyone in their communities, colleges and universities often enforce guidelines that prohibit students from causing any loud noise that could disturb the peace or safety of those in close proximity to their campuses. Some of the most commonly enforced rules include:

  • noise from non-academic gatherings like parties are typically restricted to college non-business hours often between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.;
  • noise in dormitories, residence halls, and on-campus housing may, conversely, be limited to daytimes and prohibited between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.;
  • amplified music and amplified voices may be prohibited at all times near school buildings, especially libraries, laboratories, study areas, and classrooms;
  • noise levels must be kept reasonable, typically below 85 decibels, at all times and in all locations, and noise must immediately cease whenever a school official indicates that it is disruptive or poses a safety risk;
  • noise from rallies, protests, drumming, and loud speeches must not disrupt the school's ability to provide an education to students, including not only classroom and laboratory instruction but also student support and administrative support functions;
  • radios, televisions, computers, gaming consoles, and other devices should be played at a level that doesn't disrupt other students' abilities to do their own work or use their own devices.

Specific rules vary school by school, but your college or university is likely to have noise restrictions, whether written or unwritten, very like these. Even if your school has no specific noise restrictions, it very likely prohibits disrupting school operations. See for example, the Student Rights & Code of Conduct at the University of Michigan's Dearborn Campus, prohibiting disrupting studying, teaching, research, or school administration. By respecting the rights of others, all students are able to enjoy their time on campus to the fullest. Guidelines like these help to ensure that everyone can enjoy a peaceful environment while also protecting their mental, physical and emotional health and well-being. If you're ever unsure about whether or not you're making too much noise, err on the side of caution and keep the volume down. If you need to violate these rules for a valid reason, such as practicing a musical instrument, clear your conduct through the dean's office.

Noise Violations as Disciplinary Charges

If you violate noise restrictions like those above, you could face school disciplinary charges. For example, a local city council member advises residents living near the University of Maryland's College Park campus, to complain to the university's Office of Student Conduct over "large parties with excessive noise," whether on or off campus. Students who commit noise violations can face severe consequences like losing school privileges, getting kicked out of their dorms, facing school suspension, or even being expelled. Noise violations can absolutely negatively affect your standing as a student at your college or university. In some cases, you may be banned from returning to campus altogether. You have a lot on the line when facing school disciplinary charges. Treat those charges seriously so that they do not affect your education and future.

Noise Violation Disciplinary Procedures

If your school's disciplinary officials believe that your conduct has contributed to noise violations disrupting school operations, then you may face disciplinary charges. School disciplinary officials may serve you with a notice alleging that you have violated the student code of conduct's prohibitions against excessive noise and related disruptive behavior. That notice should also alert you, though, that your school has protective procedures in place to ensure that you get a fair hearing on those charges. Just because you face a charge doesn't mean that your school will hold you responsible and punish you with a reprimand, loss of privileges, suspension, or expulsion. If you handle those charges properly, you stand a good chance of avoiding discipline. You must, though, act quickly and wisely in responding to those charges. And your best action is to retain skilled and experienced attorney advisor representation. Do not accept your school's assurances that you are better off without help. Get the help you need for the best outcome.

Attorney Advisor Help Defending Noise Violations

If you are facing serious disciplinary action for noise violations, it's important to seek outside representation as soon as possible. An experienced attorney advisor can help you understand your rights and options and protect your interests throughout your school's disciplinary process. There are several ways that an attorney advisor can help you if you have to deal with a noise violation complaint filed against you by your school, including:

  1. An attorney advisor can assess the situation and determine if the charges are valid. They can also help negotiate with the school on your behalf.
  2. An attorney advisor can help you understand your rights and options and make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the process.
  3. An attorney advisor can advocate for you in front of the disciplinary board and ensure that your side of the story is heard.
  4. An attorney advisor can help gather evidence and witnesses to support your case and cross-examine witnesses who may be testifying against you.
  5. An attorney advisor can file an appeal on your behalf if you are found guilty, and they can work to get the punishment reduced or overturned.
  6. An attorney advisor can seek alternative special relief from school oversight officials, even if you have lost all hearings and appeals.

Premier Advisor Help Available

If you are facing college or university disciplinary charges over noise violations, get the premier advisor representation you need for the best outcome to those charges. National school discipline defense advisor Joseph D. Lento and the student defense team at the Lento Law Firm have been working with students facing these very issues for years, and they know exactly what to do to help you clear your name and build your future. Don't give up, even if you have already suffered discipline over the matter. Contact the firm today at 888-535-3686 so that you can do what you need to do to resume and enjoy the rest of your college career.

Contact Us Today!

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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