Blog

Your Student Handbook Has a Disclaimer: What This Means For You

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 01, 2018 | 0 Comments

Policies and procedures are an integral part of higher educational institutions. They assure compliance with state and federal legislation and provide guidance for faculty and staff to follow when making decisions and streamlining processes. Within a college or university's student handbook are policies, procedures, and regulations that a school assures it will adhere to when an issue arises that must be resolved. Students, their parents, and faculty alike are granted easy accessibility to this handbook to understand their school's course of action in their unique situation.

It's natural for students to expect their school to follow these processes thoroughly. But despite this expectation, it's been reported that schools tend to stray from the very rules and processes they implement and enforce. All actions have consequences, and they will be penalized for breaking their own rules? Right? Wrong. Well at least, not all of the time.

You may or may not have noticed a tiny, barely legible tidbit in your student handbook that's hidden in all of the information that is provided. This is known as a disclaimer. It likely reads like the following:

“The provisions of the student handbook do not constitute a contract, expressed or implied, between students and the college.”

This disclaimer, or any other variation of it, though short, comes with many implications. In the past, student handbooks were viewed as contractual agreements in a number of court cases. When students realized that their school did not strictly follow the policies it promised to, and these actions unfairly disadvantaged them, they could sue for breach of contract. For this reason, many institutions now include a disclaimer that student handbooks are not contracts between students and institutions. This sentence or two gives schools the authority to amend their student handbook as they see fit.

Appellate courts have claimed that even despite many instances of willful and wanton conduct exhibited by a school, a student handbook with a disclaimer cannot form the basis of a contract. This is because the policies and procedures outlined are standards that the school aspires to follow, not an assurance that they will be followed.

Title IX Advisor Helping Clients Nationwide

Fortunately, there are alternative options for suing for a breach of contract, that will keep schools accountable for the mistreatment of students. If a student's rights are infringed upon in the Title IX process, they can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This government agency investigates unequal access to education through the denial of rights and reprimands the school if there is proof of inequity. Students can also get a litigation hold letter sent to the school to warn that an impending lawsuit on another basis could be coming if the mistreatment continues.

The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 855-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges locally and nationwide while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

Footer 2

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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu