The greater Pittsburgh-area is home to dozens of colleges, universities, technical schools, and other institutions of higher learning. Each school maintains written provisions that address the code of conduct, disciplinary process, and related concerns. The majority of schools permit any student that is subject to allegations of misconduct to choose an adviser that will support and accompany them in these proceedings. It is strongly encouraged that an experienced attorney is retained in this critical role.
Different Forms of College or University Student Misconduct
General Disciplinary Misconduct
Acts deemed as being “general” misconduct may involve underage alcohol possession or possession of illegal drugs. Hazing is another strictly prohibited form of misconduct. Many general forms of misconduct apply to those residing in campus housing including excessive noise, tampering with fire-safety equipment, smoking, etc.
Acts of sexually-based misconduct are typically handled under the federal guidelines associated with Title IX. This is a civil rights amendment that prohibits all acts of sexually-based discrimination and failing to comply may result in losing eligibility for federal funding. Violations may include obstructing or otherwise impeding someone's ability to participate in any programs or activities based on their gender or sexual orientation. Title IX also pertains to acts of sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, and more.
There are several examples of academic dishonesty including:
- Cheating: Deceptive acts committed to gain an academic advantage such as improperly communication with others during an exam
- Plagiarism: A student may use “words, ideas, phrases, sentences, or data” from another source as if it was their own (original). The actor may copy or paraphrase material without properly referencing (citing) the source.
- Fabrication: This includes creating false information or alteration of information on key documents.
Why Retain an Attorney-Adviser in Matters of Student Misconduct?
Leaders in higher education today recognize the importance of maintaining a positive public reputation. Negative incidents will reflect poorly on the institution and this news may be circulated quickly via our connected digital landscape, continuous news coverage, and vast social networks.
Colleges and universities are inclined to hold students responsible for acts of potential misconduct, particularly when they suggest that people's rights are being infringed upon or that a lack of campus safety exists. This could translate to sanctions and penalties be imposed that are excessive. Meanwhile, faculty and staff members designated with handling the disciplinary process are increasingly assuming additional responsibility and may move haphazardly without stopping to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected.
Students and their families are often making large commitments of time and financial resources to obtain a college education. This goal can be suddenly shattered if a campus disciplinary process culminates in a suspension or expulsion. Evidence of disciplinary action is also retained in student records and transcripts that may pose significant challenges in seeking admission to another school or graduate-level program or obtaining an internship.
You are encouraged to promptly speak with an attorney after being made aware of the accusations to allow time for preparation to make high-impact statements and to confidently respond to questions. Having knowledgeable representation will better ensure your rights are well-protected. Your attorney may consider engaging in discussions with the proper administrators to reach an amicable resolution that minimizes sanctions.
Experienced Advisory Representation for Student Disciplinary Actions
Are you a student at a Pittsburgh-area college or university that is faced with serious allegations of misconduct? The Lento Law Firm has the skills necessary to effectively obtain a positive outcome. You are encouraged to contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for additional information.