Student misconduct charges are more than a mere distraction. They threaten everything for which a student pursues higher education. A sanction of dismissal from the college or university, or even degree revocation after graduation, destroys job prospects, professional networks, goodwill, and reputation. Even lesser sanctions like reprimand or suspension can leave lasting marks from which a student can find it hard to recover.
The impact of student misconduct charges at Texas A&M can be even more serious, given the school's prominent Aggie Code of Honor. If you face student misconduct charges at a Texas A&M campus, then learn everything you can about your matter. Knowledge is power. And retain the skilled and experienced help of national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm. Put an advocate on your side for your best outcome of student misconduct charges. Your Texas A&M education is worth the effort.
The Texas A&M System
The Texas A&M System is a unique collection of eleven universities, eight Texas state agencies, a health science center, and an advanced research campus. Texas A&M's annual $9.6 billion budget and total enrollment of around 153,000 students make it one of the nation's largest university systems. Texas A&M also has a rich history, with roots in Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M land grant colleges formed in 1876, although Prairie View A&M did not join the Texas A&M system until 1973. Other Texas A&M system campuses, with the year they joined the system, include Texas A&M University-Commerce (1996), Tarleton State University (1917), West Texas A&M University (1990), Texas A&M University-Kingsville (1989), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (1989), Texas A&M International University (1989), Texas A&M University-Texarkana (1996), Texas A&M University-Central Texas (1999), and Texas A&M University-San Antonio (2000). Students at any Texas A&M campus may face misconduct charges. National college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is available to represent and aggressively defend Texas A&M students at any campus.
The Role of the Aggie Code of Honor
Texas A&M began in 1876 as a military institution. Texas A&M has a proud history from which the school continues to draw a culture of honor and compliance. Texas A&M students were once obligated to join the Corps of Cadets. The voluntary Cadets still play an important cultural and leadership role at the university. The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets is the largest uniformed student body outside the nation's military academies. Texas A&M's history contributes to the prominence of the Aggie Code of Honor that “[a]n Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.”
The Aggie Code of Honor is a commitment, not a student conduct code. But the Aggie Code of Honor is behind Texas A&M's detailed Honor System Rules specifying what students must do and not do to maintain their academic integrity. The Aggie Code of Honor also likely influences to some degree Texas A&M's enforcement of its separate and detailed Student Conduct Code. Texas A&M students may not find the lenient treatment that they might expect at schools that have no military history or honor code. As the website page for Texas A&M's Honor Code summarizes,
The Aggie Code of Honor is an effort to unify the aims of all Texas A&M men and women toward a high code of ethics and personal dignity. For most, living under this code will be no problem, as it asks nothing of a person that is beyond reason. It only calls for honesty and integrity, characteristics that Aggies have always exemplified. The Aggie Code of Honor functions as a symbol to all Aggies, promoting understanding and loyalty to truth and confidence in each other.
Texas A&M Honor System Rules
Texas A&M's detailed Honor System Rules specify what students must do and not do to maintain their academic integrity under the Aggie Code of Honor. The Honor System Rules address only academic misconduct, not behavioral misconduct like drug or alcohol possession, theft, and vandalism. The Honor System Rules include prohibitions on traditional forms of academic misconduct. Under the Aggie Honor Code, though, the list of prohibited forms of academic misconduct is non-exclusive. The Honor System Rules expressly state the list “is not, however, exclusive of any other acts that may reasonably be called academic misconduct.” In short, Texas A&M can charge you with any form of academic misconduct on which schools generally frown. And while the Honor System Rules apply at Texas A&M's main College Station campus, other campuses may adopt additional academic-integrity rules. That said, the Honor System Rules list these specific prohibitions:
- Cheating, defined as intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, or other devices or materials in any academic exercise
- Fabrication, defined as making up data or results, and recording or reporting them, or submitting fabricated documents
- Falsification, defined as manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results to make an inaccurate presentation
- Multiple submissions, or what some schools call self-plagiarism, defined as submitting the same work for credit more than once without instructor authorization
- Plagiarism, defined as appropriating another's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit
- Complicity, defined as intentionally or knowingly helping, or attempting to help, another to commit an act of academic misconduct
- Unauthorized Access, prohibiting students from abusing or misusing computer access or gaining unauthorized access to academic information
- Violating academic rules, prohibiting students from violating announced college, program, departmental, or course rules
- Violating research rules, requiring students to adhere to research standards the university sets forth
Texas A&M Honor System Procedures
The Aggie Honor System Office at Texas A&M's main College Station campus maintains an Adjudication Process for charges of academic misconduct. Other Texas A&M campuses may maintain their own procedures if they publish other academic misconduct rules. The Adjudication Process, though, represents a fairly typical way for a college or university to address academic misconduct charges. The involved professor may handle the misconduct allegations alone, although only to impose academic or educational sanctions, not dismissal. If the student objects to the proposed sanction, the student may move the charge to a formal hearing before the Honor Council. The Honor Council assigns a student and professor case investigator to interview the accused and complainant and to otherwise investigate. Investigators must share information with the accused student.
Formal Hearing. If the matter does not resolve during the investigation and instead proceeds to a formal hearing before the Honor Council, then the Adjudication Process requires the Honor Council to choose two students and two professors as the Hearing Panel. The Panel presumes the accused student's innocence. The complainant has the burden of proving misconduct, but the burden is a mere preponderance of the evidence, not the higher clear-and-convincing or beyond-a-reasonable-doubt burdens. The Adjudication Process guarantees that the student will receive written charges, although charges may come as late as three days before the hearing, giving the accused student very little time to prepare.
Importantly, the accused student may retain an attorney to attend the hearing and to assist the student inside and outside of the hearing. Witnesses may testify at the hearing, meaning the accused student can present a case in exoneration or mitigation. The Adjudication Process also permits witness statements. If the Hearing Panel finds misconduct and imposes a sanction, the student may appeal to the Director of the Aggie Honor System Office. The important thing to recognize is that you should not attempt to navigate these procedures on your own. Get help. For best results, retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento who has helped hundreds of students nationwide defend and defeat misconduct charges.
Texas A&M Disciplines Students for Cheating
Texas A&M's strong honor culture requires that it address student misconduct of all forms, including straightforward cheating. Texas A&M will discipline students who violate its student conduct rules requiring academic integrity. For example, a recent Campus Reform article reports the university's discipline of students allegedly cheating in a finance course enrolling hundreds of students. The article states that the university's online learning system showed that students in the course were answering online exam questions faster than a student could read the question. The university suspected that students were using an online homework-help site to get expert help with exam answers.
A Texas Tribune article on the same incident reported that the university gave failing grades to students who admitted to the cheating. The university also placed those students on academic probation and barred the students from graduating with honors. While those were harsh sanctions, especially for students carrying a perfect 4.00 grade point average into the course, the Aggie Honor System Office director sent an email to all students in the course encouraging them to admit cheating or suffer even harsher sanctions. The article cited a twenty-percent increase in cheating accusations in the past year due to the increased use of online education during the pandemic.
Texas A&M Cheating Charges May Not Be Fair
The above articles describing the massive cheating case at Texas A&M cited student confusion over the permissible boundaries for using online help resources when completing open, online exams and quizzes. Cheating is cheating. But on the other hand, professors encourage and require research. The line between required research and cheating can blur, especially when the professor's instructions are unclear and large numbers of students are using helpful online resources. In retrospect, cheating incidents like this recent large-scale one at Texas A&M look surprising and disappointing. But not every allegation or charge of cheating involves clear misconduct. If you face false, exaggerated, or unfair misconduct charges in the Texas A&M system, retain national college and university misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm to represent you. Don't go it alone. Get the help of a skilled and experienced academic attorney advocate.
Texas A&M Behavioral Misconduct Incidents
According to public reports, Texas A&M campuses also have their fair share of other student misconduct incidents beyond cheating. According to College Factual, Texas A&M's College Station campus reported 1,325 safety-related incidents in the most recent year for which statistics are available. Those incidents included behavioral misconduct like unlawful alcohol, drug, or weapon possession, and theft and vandalism. Texas A&M's College Station campus had nearly twenty such incidents per thousand students, which is among the highest rate of all colleges and universities. The high number of reported instances may reflect Texas A&M's Honor Code commitment not to tolerate misconduct. In other words, Texas A&M could be more like other schools in the number of incidents but just have a stronger culture of correcting those incidents. The College Factual report shows that while nearly two-thirds of Texas A&M College Station incidents resulted in arrest by law enforcement, nearly one-third of incidents resulted in university disciplinary actions. Behavioral misconduct resulting in discipline happens frequently at Texas A&M campuses.
Texas A&M Sexual Misconduct Incidents
The same College Factual report also shows significant numbers of reports of sexual misconduct at Texas A&M campuses. Just over twenty percent of the 1,325 incidents at the College Station campus, in the most recent year for which statistics are available, involved violence against women. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that about fifteen percent of Texas A&M women undergraduates say they've experienced nonconsensual sexual touching due to force or incapacitation. The same report links to a Center for Public Integrity report of a Texas A&M cadet accused of sexually assaulting several female Texas A&M students, for which the Chronicle confirms the student was later criminally convicted. Texas A&M students can certainly face sexual misconduct charges, in addition to charges of other forms of behavioral misconduct or academic misconduct charges for cheating.
Texas A&M Misconduct Charges May Not Be Fair
Just as students have questioned and challenged Texas A&M cheating charges, they have also challenged Texas A&M charges of sexual or other misconduct. The above Chronicle of Higher Education report cites a Texas Tribune article reporting that federal officials were reviewing Texas A&M procedures for handling sexual misconduct allegations. The federal review began with a male student's complaint that Texas A&M had unfairly disciplined him based on lies. The review, though, went beyond the individual case to examine how Texas A&M was deciding sexual misconduct cases generally. The review investigated whether the university exhibited bias against the accused in those proceedings.
Despite the scrutiny over allegedly biased procedures, a later Texas Tribune article reports that Texas A&M strengthened its sexual misconduct procedures to provide for mandatory sanctions in response to the #MeToo movement. Those mandatory sanctions include one-year suspensions for certain forms of sexual misconduct, including dating violence. Don't let false or exaggerated misconduct charges, decided in biased proceedings, ruin your Texas A&M education. Retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend you against misconduct charges at any Texas A&M campus.
Governance of the Texas A&M Discipline System
The student discipline system at Texas A&M has its roots in the university's governance structure. Texas's education code governs the Texas A&M system. Texas Education Code §51.353 requires the Texas A&M system to coordinate activities across the system's eleven campuses. Student conduct policies at one Texas A&M campus should be similar to policies at other Texas A&M campuses, given the system's central administration. Texas Education Code §85.17 further authorizes the Texas A&M Board of Regents to approve system-wide policies that the system's central administration office proposes. The Texas A&M chancellor is the chief administrative officer who guides the development and implementation of those policies. Each Texas A&M campus has a president who reports to the system-wide chancellor. Each Texas A&M campus also has a vice-president for student affairs or similar official who implements the campus's student conduct code. If you face misconduct charges at Texas A&M, your matter will fall under policies that your campus has adopted and implements consistent with Texas A&M's centralized authority.
Texas A&M Policies Govern Student Conduct
Higher Education Commission. Don't expect to look elsewhere, beyond Texas A&M policies, for substantial guidance on what constitutes academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct or for what procedures Texas A&M will follow when deciding those misconduct charges. While the Texas legislature long ago established a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as the authority over the state's colleges and universities, the Coordinating Board has not promulgated a student conduct code or established misconduct procedures. State law and agencies instead mostly defer to the Texas A&M Board of Regents for defining student misconduct and the Texas A&M chancellor for administering misconduct procedures.
Title IX Regulations. One big exception where outside law, rules, and regulations do affect Texas A&M's misconduct definitions and procedures are in so-called Title IX misconduct allegations. In any case in which a student alleges sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, dating or domestic violence, stalking, or retaliation for reporting sex discrimination, federal Title IX law and regulations require Texas A&M to prohibit certain sexual misconduct and follow certain sexual misconduct procedures. Title IX policies and procedures that the Texas A&M Board of Regents have adopted, though, comply with Title IX law and regulations. So once again, if school officials follow those Title IX policies and procedures, Texas A&M may decide even a Title IX case under its own policies and procedures.
State Law Against Hazing. Another area where outside law affects Texas A&M's misconduct definitions is on the subject of hazing. While the Texas legislature doesn't define student misconduct generally, the Texas legislature has specifically prohibited hazing. Texas Education Code §37.151(6) defines hazing as an “intentional, knowing, or reckless act … against a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization” when the act is physically brutal or involves deprivation, exposure, or confinement, or coercion to consume drugs, alcohol, food, or liquid, or requires the student to violate criminal law. Texas Education Code §51.936 requires Texas colleges and universities to publicly report organizations that have committed hazing at the institution. Texas A&M has a special Stop Hazing initiative within its Student Conduct Office. Texas A&M's Student Conduct Code also expressly prohibits hazing in its Section 24.4.5, citing the above two anti-hazing provisions of the Texas Education Code.
Violating Federal, State, or Local Law
Texas A&M policies include, within the definition of student misconduct, violating federal, state, or local law. In other words, while Texas A&M generally defines on its own what actions constitute student misconduct, the university's misconduct definitions incorporate other laws. Specifically, Section 24.4.11 of the Texas A&M Student Conduct Code defines as misconduct “violations of any federal, state, or local law.” Student misconduct charges do not routinely involve criminal charges. The university decides the typical student misconduct case under its own policies and procedures. But sometimes, the student's alleged misconduct is so serious in nature, occurs off-campus, or so affects the public that law enforcement will get involved. Violent crimes, drug delivery crimes, and property crimes like burglary may especially lead to criminal charges in addition to university misconduct proceedings. In contrast, Texas A&M will generally address allegations of cheating and other forms of academic misconduct and behavioral issues like disrupting class and computer misuse solely under its own policies and procedures without referring to other laws. Retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend you against those charges.
Texas A&M Campus Student Conduct Codes
The Aggie Code of Honor and the Texas A&M military history and Corps of Cadets culture surely influence the reporting and charging of misconduct, especially on the university's main College Station campus. But you won't find a single Texas A&M student conduct code governing all students at all campuses. Instead, each Texas A&M campus maintains its own student conduct code or codes addressing behavioral and sexual misconduct, and in some cases, academic misconduct. The Student Conduct Code at Texas A&M's main College Station campus is the primary code applicable to all Texas A&M students at all campuses. But the College Station code states in its Section 24.3, “This Student Conduct Code applies at all locations of the University, except those campuses who write their own student conduct code.” And every other Texas A&M campus has written its own code. Those codes are as follows:
- Prairie View A&M maintains a Code of Student Conduct
- Tarleton State University maintains a Student Code of Conduct
- Texas A&M Central Texas maintains a Code of Student Conduct and an Honor Code of Academic Integrity
- Texas A&M College Station maintains an especially thorough and detailed Student Conduct Code, representing the system's main campus while also serving as the default code if another campus has none
- Texas A&M Commerce maintains a Student Guidebook, one section of which is Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Texas A&M Corpus Christi maintains a Student Code of Conduct
- Texas A&M International maintains a Student Handbook, one section of which is a Student Code of Conduct and other sections of which define other forms of misconduct
- Texas A&M Kingsville maintains a lengthy Student Handbook, one section of which is its Student Code of Conduct
- Texas A&M San Antonio maintains a lengthy Student Handbook, one section of which is its Student Code of Conduct
- Texas A&M Texarkana maintains a Student Code of Conduct
- West Texas A&M University maintains a Code of Student Life
As the above list suggests and the above links show, the student codes at each Texas A&M campus differ in their length, form, and content, although they have familiar patterns. Those codes also all similarly address the university's uniform Title IX obligations under federal law and anti-hazing obligations under Texas law. Yet if you face misconduct charges at a Texas A&M campus, especially behavioral misconduct charges, then your matter will follow the specific code of your Texas A&M campus. Choose national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend you against misconduct charges at any Texas A&M campus. Given his experience defending hundreds of students nationwide on misconduct charges, Attorney Lento knows the similarities and differences among disparate student conduct codes.
Texas A&M System Student Conduct Code
While the student conduct codes at each Texas A&M campus vary, the Student Conduct Code at Texas A&M's main College Station campus is among the most thorough and detailed of those policies addressing behavioral misconduct. Because it is the policy of Texas A&M's main campus, where nearly 70,000 Texas A&M students attend, the policy governs nearly half of the university's approximately 153,000 students. Because it is the main campus's policy, the Texas A&M College Station Student Conduct Code also best represents what you might expect to find at other Texas A&M campuses, among the more-than-dozen student conduct policies governing students at the eleven Texas A&M campuses. Consider this summary of its many, far-reaching prohibitions:
- Dishonesty. Acts of dishonesty including withholding material information, misrepresenting the truth, and making false statements to a university official in the course of duties, forgery, alteration, or misuse of a university document, record, or instrument of identification, or submission of false information at admission or readmission
- Harassment. Behavior severe, pervasive, or persistent that would prevent a reasonable person similarly situated from accessing an educational opportunity or benefit, including verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and coercion
- Physical abuse. Attempting to injure or inflict pain, or causing injury or inflicting pain, or causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative, even if given consent
- Theft. Unauthorized removal or stealing, or attempted removal or stealing, of property of a member of the university community, on or off-campus, including theft of services or misuse of another's property
- Property Damage. Behavior that destroys, damages, or litters any property of the university or member of the university community
- Hazing. Any act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, causes others to participate in degrading behavior or behavior that causes ridicule, humiliation, or embarrassment for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization, including misuse of authority, striking another student by hand or with any instrument, physical bondage, taking students to an outlying area and dropping them off, causing a student to violate the law or a university rule, or quadding
- Failure to comply. Failure to comply with proper and lawful direction of any university official or law enforcement officer
- Evading. Intentionally fleeing from a university official or law enforcement officer when the university official or law enforcement officer is attempting to confront, arrest, or detain
- Failure to present identification. Failure to provide identification upon the request of a university official
- Breaching safety or security. Unauthorized access to university facilities, unauthorized entry into or use of university premises, intentionally damaging door locks, unauthorized possession of keys or access cards, duplicating keys or access cards, propping open exterior residence hall or other campus building doors, tampering with fire safety equipment, or unauthorized entry into another's residence, vehicle, or business
- Violating university rules. Violating university policy, rule, or regulation including residence contracts and rules, Corps of Cadets rules, motor vehicle rules, and rules on identification cards, entry and use of facilities, and dining hall conduct
- Violating sports regulations. Violating NCAA regulations
- Violating law. Violating any federal, state, or local law
- Drugs. Using, possessing, being under the influence of, manufacturing, or distributing illegal drugs or substances, or abusing legally obtained drugs
- Alcohol. Alcohol use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution
- Weapons and explosives. Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of fireworks or explosives, weapons, or dangerous chemicals on university premises or at university-sponsored activities
- Disruptive activity. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, or other university activities, including inciting others to disrupt scheduled or normal activities on university premises, classroom behavior that seriously interferes with the class or classwork of others
- Traffic obstruction. Obstructing the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on university premises or at university-sponsored or supervised activities
- Disorderly conduct. Disruptive, lewd, or indecent public behavior, breach of the peace, or aiding or procuring another person to breach the peace on university premises or at university-sponsored functions
- Unauthorized recording. Unauthorized recording of audio, video, still frame, or photographic record of any person without their knowledge and consent when the person or persons being recorded have a reasonable expectation of privacy or recording is likely to cause injury or distress
- Misuse of computers. Failing to comply with university regulations and policies, license agreements, and contracts governing networks and software and hardware use, abuse of shared computer resources, use of computing resources for unauthorized commercial purposes or personal gain, failing to protect password or use of the account, breach of computer security, harmful access or invasion of privacy, or abuse of computer facilities and resources
- Sexual contact. Attempting or making sexual contact, including inappropriate touching, without the person's consent or in circumstances where the person is physically, mentally, or legally unable to give consent when the behavior is not so severe, pervasive, or persistent as to create a work, educational, or campus living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, abusive, or offensive or sexual exploitation, within the university's Title IX policy
- Animal cruelty. Torturing or in a cruel manner killing or causing serious bodily injury to an animal, failing to provide necessary food, water, or care for an animal in custody, abandoning an animal in custody, transporting, or confining an animal in a cruel manner, causing one animal to fight with another animal, or seriously overworking an animal
- Reckless driving. Driving in a manner that recklessly endangers the health or safety of oneself or others
- Abuse of process. Abusing the disciplinary process including failing to obey a notice to appear for a meeting or conference, misrepresenting information, interfering with the orderly conduct of an investigation, conference, or an appeal process, making a false report, attempting to discourage participation in the disciplinary process, attempting to influence the impartiality of a panel member, intimidation or retaliation related to a proceeding, failing to abide by sanctions, or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse
- Complicity. Attempting, aiding, abetting, conspiring, hiring, or being an accessory to any prohibited act
Texas A&M System Behavioral Misconduct Procedures
The Texas A&M system maintains rules for Student Misconduct Proceedings deciding behavioral misconduct charges. These rules differ only somewhat from the Adjudication Process discussed above for academic misconduct charges. The rules for Student Misconduct Proceedings provide for written notice to the accused student of the misconduct charges. A Student Conduct Administrator and the accused student present witnesses and documents to a Student Conduct Panel at a Student Conduct Conference. The accused student may retain an attorney to assist the student at the conference only if the matter also involves criminal charges. Otherwise, the attorney's assistance does not include conference attendance. The Student Conduct Panel decides the charges, but the Student Conduct Administrator decides the sanction. The accused student may appeal an adverse decision to an Appeal Panel.
While the Texas A&M system limits an attorney's role at conferences, a skilled and experienced academic attorney can still assist greatly with a student's defense. The attorney can communicate with school officials, prepare correspondence, briefs, exhibits, documentary presentations, and appeals, propose alternative formative solutions, and negotiate for compromise relief. A skilled academic attorney can also sometimes invoke alternative university procedures through an ombudsman's office or general counsel's office. Retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for these and other skills.
Texas A&M System Misconduct Sanctions
The Texas A&M System student rules include the full spectrum of misconduct sanctions. Sanctions run from a letter of reprimand, additional education, community or university service, loss of privileges, probation, and restitution, up to enrollment block, scholarship loss, suspension, and expulsion. Texas A&M treats misconduct seriously. So should you. Retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the aggressive and effective advocacy that you may need to preserve your Texas A&M education.
Texas A&M System Title IX Policy
Texas A&M University System Rule 08.01.01 sets forth the system-wide Title IX policy. Other Texas A&M campuses refer to that system-wide Title IX policy. The uniformity of that policy across all Texas A&M campuses makes sense because schools receiving federal funds must comply with detailed Title IX requirements. Those federal regulations address both the sexual misconduct schools must prohibit and the procedures they must follow to determine Title IX misconduct charges. Texas A&M's Title IX policy, Rule 08.01.01, prohibits sex discrimination in these specific forms, as federal regulations define and require:
- sexual assault
- dating violence
- domestic violence
- sexual harassment
- retaliation for reporting sex discrimination
Sexual misconduct charges can ruin a reputation and education, especially if they result in findings of serious misconduct and in serious school discipline. You need the help of a skilled and experienced academic attorney advocate if you face Title IX misconduct charges at any Texas A&M campus. Retain national college and university student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your aggressive and effective defense representation. He knows how to handle Title IX proceedings.
Texas A&M System Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct
Like many other colleges and universities, Texas A&M prohibits not only Title IX misconduct but also other forms of sexual misconduct that Title IX does not reach. Texas A&M's Rule 08.01.01 adds sexual exploitation to the list of prohibited forms of sexual misconduct. Title IX does not reach sexual exploitation as schools like Texas A&M define it. Rule 08.01.01 defines sexual exploitation as “a situation in which an individual takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.” Rule 08.01.01 then gives as examples of sexual exploitation:
- secretly videotaping sexual activity
- sexually-based stalking
- invasion of sexual privacy
- exposing one's genitals or causing another to expose one's genitals
- knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection or disease
Texas A&M System Sexual Misconduct Procedures
Texas A&M's Rule 08.01.01 also sets forth the procedures for deciding sexual misconduct charges. If the charges include Title IX forms of sexual misconduct, then the university must notify the accused student in writing of the charges. The university will assign an investigator who may interview the complainant and accused student. But the investigator must share the report and any evidence with the accused student in advance of any hearing. If the investigation and informal conferences do not resolve the charge, the matter proceeds to a formal hearing before a hearing officer or panel the university chooses.
Significantly, the accused student may retain an attorney whom the university must permit to cross-examine witnesses at the hearing. Indeed, the university only permits the accused student's representative, not the accused student, to conduct that cross-examination. The hearing panel or officer may consider the evidence only of witnesses who testify at the hearing subject to cross-examination. An accused student who suffers an adverse decision may appeal within the university. Texas A&M does not grant students accused of non-Title IX sexual misconduct charges equivalent protections.
Texas A&M System Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct
Texas A&M's Rule 08.01.01 imposes a minimum sanction of a one-year suspension for students found to have committed dating or domestic violence or nonconsensual sexual penetration. Premeditated acts of those kinds result in permanent expulsion. Sanctions for any form of sexual misconduct may otherwise be anything from warning or reprimand to training, counseling, no-contact restriction, probation, suspension, or expulsion. Texas A&M treats sexual misconduct with severe sanctions. Don't expect the university to treat sexual misconduct as a learning opportunity. Punishment and protection are instead the discipline's apparent goal.
Help from a National Student Misconduct Defense Attorney
National student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available to represent you at any Texas A&M system campus. Don't rely on a local lawyer who lacks academic administrative experience. Academic matters differ from court and other routine legal matters. General practitioner lawyers or even lawyers with trial skills won't necessarily have academic administrative experience. If you face Texas A&M student misconduct charges, don't admit wrongs you didn't do. Your Texas A&M education and the career it can earn you are worth too much to throw it away. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation with national student misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm or use the online service.