Where We Can Help - Wisconsin Colleges and Universities

Are you a student or the parent of a student at a Wisconsin school, college, or university facing a school-related issue or concern?  Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help. The world of academia is unique, and the Lento Law Firm has unparalleled national experience bringing its problem-solving approach and fighting spirit to address school-related injustice.  Attorney Lento and his Firm have helped countless students and families in Wisconsin and across the United States at the school level and in court.  Please click on the following links for more information.  Please also see our expanded list of school practice areas

Joseph D. Lento has helped countless students and others in academia in Wisconsin protect their academic and professional future, and he can do the same for you.  Contact him today at 888-535-3686.

Where We Can Help - Wisconsin Colleges, Universities, and Schools

When it's time to head to college, there's a lot of information you need to know.

Between managing your academic schedule, juggling your new relationships, and figuring out how to live on your own for the first time, there's a lot of opportunities for great things to happen.

There's also a lot of opportunities for miscommunication, missteps, and misconduct. While this may not seem like a big deal or something you need to worry about, college misconduct can spiral out of control more quickly than you may think.

At the Lento Law Firm, we want to make sure that you have all of the information necessary to protect yourself and your future. Let's talk about the educational infrastructure in Wisconsin as well as the ways you can pursue relief, should you need to over the course of your college career. We'll start by discussing the schools you'll find in Wisconsin as well as the overarching laws, and then talk about the procedures you may experience during due process at your school.

Academic Laws, Governance, and Infrastructure in Wisconsin

Whether you call it America's Dairyland, the Badger State, or simply “Wisconsin,” it's clear that this northern state has many stellar academic institutions to choose from. There are many great private and public colleges and universities to attend in this state. Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction oversees every higher academic institution in the state. While public schools are largely required to follow the state's academic laws and governances, private schools generally operate in line with similar rules, at the very least to remain open to public funding and to offer students a consistent experience.

Here are some of the most well-known private and public academic institutions in Wisconsin:

Select Private Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Lawrence University
  • Marquette University
  • St. Norbert College
  • Beloit College
  • Concordia University - Wisconsin
  • Northland College
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College
  • Alverno College
  • Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
  • Mount Mary University

Select Public Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

  • University of Wisconsin (and its many locations)
  • Madison Area Technical College

While each of these public and private Wisconsin colleges and universities have their own policies and procedures, they also operate with some level of governance from the state. In the next section, we'll go over this information.

What Types of Higher Education Laws Are There in Wisconsin?

The state of Wisconsin has several higher education rules and policies in place to maintain a high-quality experience for incoming students at each of the state's academic institutions. These policies include:

  • Executive Order #37, which discusses the distribution of federal financial aid among Wisconsin students;
  • Guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that discusses the various procedures for supporting students with special needs; and
  • Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin State Legislature, which oversees the way that the University of Wisconsin school system operates on a daily basis.

As noted above, while some of these laws (perhaps, in particular, Chapter 36) may constitute requirements for public schools, they also exist as standards for schools not strictly under their governance (e.g., some private schools).

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Educational Opinions

Wisconsin is in the Seventh Circuit, a division of the United States Court of Appeals that includes several central states. Occasionally, this Court will oversee cases and issue opinions that can influence the ways that schools in Wisconsin can operate. For example, just recently, the Court oversaw a case regarding the vaccination status of students at Indiana University. As you prepare to attend your Wisconsin school, it may be a good idea to keep an eye on the types of educational cases that appear before the Seventh Circuit. The opinions the court issues may have a direct impact on your educational experience.

Statutes of Limitation and Other Wisconsin Laws that College Students Should Know

In the United States, every state has certain defined statutes of limitation—or specific windows of time after an incident during which a person can initiate related legal action.

Being aware of Wisconsin's statutes of limitation can give you a sense of how long you have to consider your case prior to filing a suit—or give you an idea of how long you may be at risk after some type of infraction. Wisconsin's statutes of limitations are:

  • Injury to Person: Three years
  • Libel or Slander: Two years
  • Fraud: Six years
  • Injury to Personal Property: Six years
  • Trespassing: Six years
  • Collection of Rents: Six years
  • Contracts, Written or Oral: Six years

In addition to Wisconsin's statutes of limitations, there are other laws in the state that may relate to common college student activities. For example:

  • Wisconsin only allows underage drinkers to consume alcoholic beverages in the presence of a parent, guardian, or spouse of legal drinking age.
  • Wisconsin has a very strict intolerance and harsh penalties for any instance where a person drinks and drives or drives while under the influence of any controlled substance.
  • If you elect not to live on campus, instead living off-campus in some type of apartment, you will need to act in accordance with Wisconsin renting laws and comply with any tenant agreements that you may sign.
  • It is illegal to provide false identification to a police officer in Wisconsin.

While the majority of your misconduct processes will occur with respect to the specific policies established at your school, your school may use the local laws as a standard for their own policies. For this reason, at least, it's a good idea to be aware of the local laws around your Wisconsin school.

Next, we'll cover the specific processes that may happen at your school after someone files an allegation of misconduct against you.

Discipline and Due Process: How Wisconsin Schools Manage Misconduct

Due process at your school will begin once the school receives information about an alleged infraction. There are three general types of misconduct that tend to attract school attention.

Since the University of Wisconsin is by far the largest school system in the state, we'll use it as an illustrative example of the types of procedures common in Wisconsin. Your school may have very similar procedures. However, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific processes at your school. You should be able to find this information in your school's handbook or in your school's code of conduct. These documents should be freely available on your school's website.

The Types of Misconduct Wisconsin Schools Tend to Discipline

Academic Dishonesty or Academic Misconduct

The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides a detailed list of actions that the school will punish as academic dishonesty. These include:

  • Plagiarism, or any situation in which one student claims credit for the work of another without proper citation, permission, or authorization
  • Any situation where one student copies another person's homework
  • Accessing exam or solution materials without authorization
  • Stealing course materials or an exam key
  • Making a cheat sheet or otherwise using unauthorized materials during an academic exercise
  • Copying answers from another student
  • Collaborating with others on an assignment you should complete alone
  • Forging or falsifying academic records, documents, or any type of identification
  • Tampering with the academic work of other students
  • Helping any other student commit academic misconduct

Sexual Misconduct

Title IX, one of the Educational Amendments of 1972, states that all schools that receive federal funding must investigate all matters of sexual misconduct quickly or risk losing that funding. Even private schools will likely have Title IX policies, even if they do not directly receive federal funding.

Title IX is a relatively hot-button issue, one that each presidential administration tends to weigh in on. Title IX cases also tend to make their way to the Seventh Circuit court.

Under Title IX policies, sexual misconduct policies, or even dual policies, most Wisconsin schools will discipline any student allegedly involved with the following types of actions:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Dating Violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Stalking
  • Rape
  • Incest
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Retaliation
  • Code of Conduct Infractions

Aside from academic integrity and sexual misconduct infractions, schools will also tend to provide disciplinary processes and procedures for a more general set of code of conduct misbehavior.

Checking your specific school's code of conduct to glean any possible information about, perhaps, more unique infractions is the best idea. However, more general code of conduct infractions tend to include actions such as hazing activities, drug or alcohol infractions, bullying, and cyberbullying.