Princeton University governs its community through a set of Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities for students to follow while in attendance. Violating University rules will place students under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. Students will face a number of penalties for any findings of rule violations, ranging from the light to the severe. Disciplinary matters will also delay, halt or otherwise interfere with a student's graduation and Final Public Oral exams.
Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline
The Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline holds the primary jurisdiction over all non-academic rule violations, and will both conduct and decide upon hearings for students accused of violating a rule. The Committee is made up of 6 faculty members, a dean from the Office of the Dean of the College, a dean from the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, 8 undergraduate students and 5 graduate students. When a hearing convenes, up to 4 faculty, 1 of the deans, and up to 5 students will be in attendance to decide on the matters. Typically, undergraduate personnel will handle undergraduate matters, and graduate personnel will follow suit for graduate matters.
When a student is charged with violating a rule, an assistant dean or an associate dean will conduct an investigation into the alleged infraction. If there is sufficient reason to believe that a rule has been violated, students will face a hearing in front of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline.
At a Princeton University hearing, students will be given the opportunity to present their own personal side of their case, as well as the opportunity to question any individuals called as witnesses. Students are also allowed to have a character witness they may call for presentation. Finally, at the conclusion of the hearing, students can make a closing statement. Typically, if a student chooses to remain silent, it may be used against them during deliberations unless they are also facing criminal charges.
The Committee will deliberate and decide by a majority vote whether or not a student has violated a rule. They must decide based upon the standard of "clear and persuasive evidence." They will also consider each violation separately and assign any relevant penalties accordingly. In the even of a tie, the board will reconvene and meet once more discuss the matters and arrive at a conclusion; if a tie occurs again, the dean of undergraduate students will vote to break the tie.
Students will be allowed to have an adviser by their side, however, that adviser must be a member of the University community. This means that in most cases a student will either have another inexperienced student by their side or a faculty member who may not have their best interests in mind to serve as adviser. Students need someone who will both understand their needs and educate them on the overall process that they are facing. An attorney's counsel from behind the scenes will inspire confidence and help prepare students for their hearings more so than the University adviser. Additionally, an attorney experienced in university disciplinary proceedings can provide valuable advice on how to testify and which evidence would be the most helpful.
An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Princeton University Student
Princeton University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before non-academic disciplinary charges and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an a liaison between Princeton University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after non-academic disciplinary charges and/or academic misconduct charges are filed, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Princeton University.
A student attorney's involvement at Princeton University in matters involving non-academic disciplinary charges and/or academic misconduct charges should not be confused with Princeton University disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Princeton University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations.
Princeton University will impose disciplinary sanctions for violations of University-wide rules of conduct. Members of the student community are subject to several kinds of disciplinary penalties, and the full range of penalties is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Possible penalties/sanctions include:
- Disciplinary Probation
- Withholding of Degree
- Suspension with Conditions
The following may also accompany any of the preceding penalties:
- Campus Service
- University Housing
- Restrictions on Access to Space, Resources, and Activites
- Educational Refresher Programs
Princeton University will impose additional penalties/sanctions for academic dishonesty and academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate. Although the range of disciplinary penalties imposed for academic integrity violations is contingent on several factors, such violations are punishable by severe penalties including suspension and expulsion.
Regretfully, some Princeton University students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the University disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term. Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that Princeton University imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious. The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.
Princeton University sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences. Princeton University will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.
Experience Matters - An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a Princeton University Student
Princeton University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before University rules of conduct disciplinary violations and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances. If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an advocate between Princeton University, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after University rules of conduct charges and/or academic integrity charges are filed, in working towards the prospect of an agreeable resolution, the extent of an attorney's involvement will be at the discretion of Princeton University. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the University may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Princeton University in matters involving University rules of conduct charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with Princeton University disciplinary cases involving Title IX sexual misconduct allegations. In Title IX student disciplinary proceedings, an experienced attorney must work both as the point of contact between the accused student and Princeton University as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct / sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Princeton University.
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are entitled to an appellate process. Princeton University appeals will be reviewed by a three-person appellate body that includes the dean of the college, the dean of the Graduate School, and the chairman of the Judicial Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community. Appeals must be made on the grounds of unfair or unreasonable procedure, new information to be considered, or overly severe penalties. The deadline for appeals is one week following the Committee's decision.
If you or your student is facing disciplinary action from Princeton University, contact university student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today.