Students at Ramapo College must adhere to the college's Code of Conduct. This is a broad code that is defined in the student handbook. Essentially the code comprises of a number of violations a student can commit that will cause disciplinary actions. Adherence to the code of conduct basically means you are not actively endangering, harming, or otherwise interfering with the community.
Code of Conduct Violation Hearings
The disciplinary process at Ramapo College begins with another student, employee or guest of the college filing a complaint to the Public Safety Department. You will be charged with a violation after the Office of Student Conduct has reviewed the complaint and determined it necessary to charge you with alleged violations. You will be notified in writing and in your college email account of your violations, and the date of a College Disciplinary Review Board Hearing.
Ramapo College hearings consist of the College Disciplinary Review Board, which can be likened to a jury. They are overseen by a Board Advisor, who can be thought of as a judge. The party who initiated the complaint will be referred to as the complainant, and they will seek to prove you "responsible" for the violation with a "preponderance of evidence" burden of proof. This means that there does not need to be a large amount of evidence to prove you responsible.
At a hearing you are welcome to the presence of an attorney who can advise you and provide guidance during the process. Having legal counsel at this hearing can be incredibly beneficial, and can potentially save you from harsh sanctions that you may not have foreseen otherwise. Likewise, the presence of an attorney can help you and the board work together to reach a favorable, diplomatic and appropriate outcome.
Students must adhere to Ramapo's code of academic integrity. The college defines academic dishonesty as coming in one of four forms: cheating, plagiarism, academic misconduct, and fabrication. Academic Integrity is enforced and upheld by the Office of the Provost and an appointed Academic Integrity Board. Academic Integrity hearings proceed relatively the same as disciplinary hearings, except they are heard in front of the Academic Integrity Board. Appeals will go to the Vice Provost instead of the Dean of Students.
Sanctions are the punishments for code violations imposed upon students after a hearing in front of the College Disciplinary Review Board. They will be imposed either by themselves or in combination with one another. Potential sanctions include:
- Official Warning
- Restitution Requirement
- Residence Probation
- Suspension of Activity Privileges
- Disciplinary Probation
- Loss of Campus Housing Selection Privilege
- Suspension of Residence Privilege
- College Suspension
- Monetary Fines
Academic dishonesty usually carries sanctions involving failure of an assignment, exam, paper or class; however, in extreme cases can be punishable by expulsion.
Regretfully, some Ramapo College students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the College 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 Ramapo College 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.
Ramapo College 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. Ramapo College 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 Ramapo College Student
Ramapo College and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Code 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 a liaison between Ramapo College, the accused student, and other involved parties, in an effort to achieve a constructive resolution. Whether before or after Code 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 Ramapo College. Every student's case is unique; an experienced attorney will understand what the College may be receptive to, and will approach the matter accordingly.
An attorney's involvement at Ramapo College in matters involving Code of Conduct disciplinary charges and/or academic disciplinary charges should not be confused with Ramapo College 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 Ramapo College as well as behind the scenes to defend against sexual misconduct and sexual assault allegations.
An experienced student discipline defense attorney will understand and use the most effective strategies when handling a student's case at Ramapo College.
Appealing a Decision
Appealing a decision may be necessary in the event of an undesirable outcome. The only decisions that may be considered for an appeal are those that result in Suspension of Residence Privilege, College Suspension, or Expulsion. Ramapo College appeals are forwarded in writing to the Dean of Students by the charged student, and are at the discretion at the Dean of Students for modification, reversal, dismissal, or change of sanction. Requests for appeal must be submitted to the Dean of Students Office within 5 business days from the date of the original decision, and if appeal is not made in time, the decision becomes final. It is crucial to have an attorney involved as early as possible in the appellate process so that an appeal can be made quickly. The same time frame applies to Academic Integrity appeals, although the written appeals must be sent to the Vice Provost.
Having an attorney early on in the college disciplinary process can give you the edge you need to prevent any unforeseen severe consequences from hurting you or your student's chance at a future. If you are facing disciplinary action from Ramapo College, contact college student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento today and let us help.