Going to college is a liberating experience for a lot of students. In some cases, their parents smothered them with too many rules that sheltered them from the realities of the real world. Whatever the case, the first year of college is the time to dismantle those rules and learn who you are without your parents watching. But what happens when that dismantling leads to disciplinary actions? What do you do then?
Leighton Lashes Out
In Sex Lives of College Girls on HBOMax, we meet four very different roommates in their first semester of college at a fictitious school in New England. These girls are as different as they come--Leighton in particular. She's a wealthy girl with a legacy connection to the university who started the first episode thinking she would be rooming with her high school best friends. When her “best friends” specifically ask not to be roomed with her, she finds herself living with strangers.
At the end of the second episode, we find Leighton obscenely drunk, yelling at the university founder's statue. She smashes a bottle of booze as she yells, and campus security chases her. When they catch her, she is brought before the President to discuss her punishment. Like a stereotypical rich kid, she tries to bribe her way out of the punishment, which only gets her 100 hours of community service at the women's center on campus.
Disciplinary Process in College
Now, this is television and not 100% accurate of how these types of issues would be handled in real life. For instance, at Dartmouth College, the school this fictitious one was modeled after, students must uphold the school's code of conduct. This code of conduct specifically states that students cannot vandalize school property or drink when they are under the legal age. If they are found doing either, they will be brought before the Dean's Office.
The Dean will then review the student's prior record, allow the student to appear and defend themselves, and then determine what punishment is necessary. Further, the student will have the opportunity to appeal this decision.
Unlike the relative slap on the wrist that Leighton received, Dartmouth, like most schools, often hands down harsh sanctions when a student is found responsible for wrongdoing. Potential suspension or dismissal aside, even "lesser" sanctions such as probation can have unexpected devastating consequences in terms of diminished or lost opportunities, such as those involving internships, graduate or professional school, and competitive employment fields, especially those involving positions of trust.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
No college or university can prohibit their students from consulting with an attorney-advisor to help them through disciplinary proceedings.
Attorneys help accused students in various ways, potentially behind the scenes or front and center when defending an accused student. In addition to working towards a fair process, an experienced attorney will gather and review evidence and collect witness statements that are aimed at protecting your reputation, and place, on campus. Leighton did not get help, and moved from being caught to starting community service fairly quickly. If this had been real life, Leighton's conduct would have more likely resulted in a suspension or expulsion, especially if her case was not effectively handled. If this had been real life, the best step for Leighton and her family would be to call the Lento Law Firm for assistance.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent his career helping college students who've found themselves in similar situations as Leighton. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation or visit us online.