COVID-19 continues to impact businesses, homes, and schools across the nation, with a death toll now surpassing 200,000 and a case count that's approaching 7 million. As students began to head back to universities and colleges, many institutions have had to face decisions about distance and in-person learning. One common thread across the country, however, is that many schools are taking disciplinary action when students choose to gather in numbers that exceed local COVID-19 regulations or when students attend parties or events and choose not to wear a mask. The stakes are very high for schools—if the virus spreads, campuses will have to shut down and either pause classes or rely solely on remote learning.
Colleges and Universities Across the Country Take Action
The Detroit News carried Elyssa Cherney's Chicago Tribune article, which highlights actions taken by universities and colleges across the nation. In early August, Indiana University’s board of trustees instituted a policy to the effect that students who do not comply with COVID-19 safety measures can be suspended or even expelled. This directive applies to all of the University campuses. Some schools, like Northwestern University, have recruited residents to help with off-campus events by providing online forms for residents to use to report social gatherings that flaunt health precautions.
In Pennsylvania, at Penn State, administrators suspended an entire fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, after they held an event for 70 people. Pi Kappa Alpha was the second fraternity suspended by the university.
Many schools include these new protocols in the updated code of conduct or student handbook that college students receive each year when classes begin. Often, this behavior falls under college student misconduct, leaving it with potentially severe consequences for those involved.
Although it might not seem that failing to wear a mask or attending an off-campus party is a big deal, suspension and expulsion can have a significant impact on a college student's academic career and personal finances. An student who faces any kind of school discipline risks potentially losing financial aid if the amount of time that they are not in classes affects their eligibility for financial awards. If a student plans on attending graduate school for medicine, law, or further studies, a suspension or expulsion will follow them on their permanent academic record, severely weakening their application. Internships and professional opportunities beyond the classroom setting can also be severely impacted when a student is disciplined by their college or university. In a world where internships, graduate programs, and employment opportunities are so competitive, it's important to have every possible advantage.
An Experienced Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
If you or your child faces college misconduct charges, you want an attorney-advisor who brings many years of experience with student disciplinary hearings and litigation. Their expertise, combined with a dedication to fighting for a client's rights, will give you the best shot at avoiding discipline and also collateral consequences. Joseph D. Lento has worked with thousands of students across the nation to handle student disciplinary proceedings and related concerns. The Lento Law Firm can assist you with your case and protect your future. Call us today at 888.535.3686 or reach out to us online.