Tallahassee University Disciplinary Actions Attorney
When you attend a college or university, such as Florida State, you are required to abide by a written Code of Conduct. If school officials believe that a student has violated this Code of Conduct they may initiate disciplinary proceedings that could lead to that student’s suspension, expulsion, or other academic penalties. Although these are not legal proceedings in the same sense as a criminal trial, university disciplinary actions typically afford the accused student a certain degree of due process rights.
Given the potential damage to a student’s academic career and reputation that may occur, it is always a good idea for the accused to seek out legal advice and representation. At Luke Newman, P.A., our Tallahassee university disciplinary actions attorney represents students in the Tallahassee area who are facing a university disciplinary action. We can represent you in dealing with university officials, either in an informal setting or a formal hearing, and if necessary we can take legal action if school officials fail to follow their own procedures or state law in taking disciplinary action.
Types of University Disciplinary Issues
Every college and university has its own Code of Conduct specific to its campus. But generally speaking, the types of violations that commonly lead to university disciplinary actions include:
- Sexual misconduct – Students are often accused of rape, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence by other students.
- Harassment – This includes allegations of non-sexual conduct that are believed to intimidate or create a hostile environment for another person.
- Hazing – Students who belong to Greek-letter or other fraternal organizations often face allegations of hazing, i.e., endangering the mental health or physical safety of another person by forcing them to engage in certain acts.
- Drug and Alcohol Violations – It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Most other recreational drugs, including marijuana, also remain contraband under Florida law. So in addition to any potential criminal penalties for such conduct, a student may face university discipline for drug or alcohol violations.
- Property Crimes – Taking another student’s computer, phone, or other other personal property without their consent frequently leads to university disciplinary action, even if the victim does not file a criminal complaint with the police.
How University Disciplinary Actions Work
Again, every school will handle disciplinary matters differently. But most institutions employ a combination of formal and informal hearings. A formal hearing typically requires advance notice and designates a specific body to hear the allegations. The accused student is allowed to call witnesses and present other evidence in their defense. An informal hearing usually does not involve the same level of formality, but the student must still be given a chance to be heard before any disciplinary action is taken.
Schools will also normally provide an internal appeals process if the student disagrees with the outcome of a hearing. If this process proves inadequate, the student may have grounds to bring a lawsuit in state court against the university. For example, a student can argue that the university failed to follow its own rules in imposing a disciplinary sanction, which constitutes a breach of contract (i.e., the Code of Conduct).
So if you are facing a disciplinary hearing and are unsure of your options moving forward, contact Luke Newman, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.