Appealing a College Disciplinary Finding and Sanctions

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If you are found responsible for violating the college code, you may face sanctions and the finding of the disciplinary board will reflect on your academic record. If you have a mark on your record, you can have difficulty getting accepted into certain educational programs or getting professional licenses in the future. If the disciplinary board found you responsible for serious misconduct like sexual assault, you could face a suspension or expulsion. When this happens, it can be hard to get into another college or university and your future can be affected. 

Due to the severe implications of these sanctions, you must examine the potential of an appeal with a great academic appeals lawyer. Your lawyer will discuss your options. Contact them now. 

Who Can Get an Appeal?

The law does not require schools to give students the chance to appeal disciplinary findings.  But, the majority of schools offer an appeals process for some kinds of violations. Schools vary in their processes, requirements, and deadlines, so you need to know the policy at your school. 

Sexual misconduct cases in universities and colleges are governed by Title IX to protect students against sex discrimination in education. Schools can work with the Office of Civil Rights to ensure compliance with this law including appeals. 

How the Appeals Process Work

If you are facing sanctions for sexual harassment on campus, you should decide whether to appeal the decision or finding. Also, you must consider the seriousness of the sanction and determine grounds for appeal your school allows. If you think the decision was not fair, you can appeal it entirely. If you agree to the findings but think the sanctions are too harsh, you can file an appeal for such sanctions. 

Again, schools vary in their rules for appeals. With some schools, you may only have a few days to prepare and file an appeal. Thus, you need to seek legal assistance immediately after learning about the finding. A skilled lawyer can make sure your appeal meets the requirements and presents a persuasive argument to challenge the disciplinary board’s finding or sanctions. Also, your lawyer can check whether your college or university violated your rights to due process. 

How Your Lawyer Can Assist You

If you want to appeal the finding and decision of the disciplinary board, you must come up with a strong appeal that adheres to the rules of your school. This could be your only chance to keep your education on track, so make sure you work with the best legal representative. If your school doesn’t permit your attorney’s presence in your hearing, your lawyer can help make the necessary preparations. 

Whether you want to appeal a grade, dismissal, suspension, or disciplinary sanction at your college or university, you probably don’t know the right steps to take. A lot of students who are in the same situation may want to head to the University President to complain. However, this won’t help in your appeal. To make sure your appeal is strong enough to stand a chance, you must hire an academic appeals lawyer who has been there before. 

Identify the Official Appeal Procedure at Your School

Colleges and universities have an official policy for handling academic appeals on their student handbook. This policy spells out the deadlines and steps a student should take to make an appeal. After you find the policy, familiarize yourself with the potential avenues you can explore. In addition, ensure you find the handbook sooner because such matters are time-sensitive. 

Follow the Procedure

Your student handbook should outline the right people to speak to for your issues. Also, it should tell you the order in which you can speak to each of these people. Often, you will first have to talk to your professor, then the department chair, and perhaps the dean of academic affairs or the President. Your attorney can help you draft a written request for appeal.

Create a Paper Trail

To prove your case, you must have physical evidence to present. For instance, if you are disputing a grade, you must have old examinations, a syllabus, or rubrics to point out the discrepancy. In addition, you need to keep notes of conversations you had with faculty during the appeals process. You can keep document conversations and meetings in an email or word document you can easily refer to when necessary. 

Stay Respectful

Even you desperately want to win your appeal, do not forget your intention to stay enrolled in the school. As you deal with your appeal, try to be as civil as possible when you correspond with the college of the university and its faculty. You will never know that person you may fight within the Dean’s office could be your professor someday. 

Hire a Lawyer

Find a lawyer with experience in the type of issues you are dealing with. Once you hire a lawyer, give them all relevant records, facts, and paper trail, so they can study your case and effectively represent you at the hearing if your school permits. Also, your lawyer will draft letters to the school, mention related case law that can support your position, and negotiate with it. 

Academic and Sexual Misconduct

College students can face academic and sexual misconduct accusations. Accusations for academic misconduct include claims that a certain student violated the code of conduct of their school. They can include plagiarism, cheating, theft, and forgery. These are serious allegations as they can get a student expelled from their school. Also, they can be recorded in the student’s transcript when they face another penalty and are permitted to graduate. This mark on the academic record can be hard to overcome because it can affect a person’s ability to get a job.

On the other hand, sexual misconduct can be worse than academic misconduct. Accusations of sexual misconduct include stalking, harassment, or rape on campus. They trigger the Title IX law which makes sexual discrimination in colleges and universities prohibited. Colleges that receive funding from the federal government must enforce the law. However, because of this pressure, some schools may violate the due process rights of accused students. If the accused has a lawyer on their side, they can be sure their side of the story is heard. 

What to Expect from the Misconduct Hearing?

The majority of those accused of violating the code of conduct of their college or university prefer to deal with their situation without legal assistance. But, a misconduct hearing is held by a panel of school or admin officials, who don’t have a lot of experience in handling this type of case. As a result, the panel can fall for unrelated evidence or claims that do not have credibility. When this happens, an innocent student who is looking to show their innocence at the hearing can be in a tough position. 

If you are facing charges of academic or sexual misconduct in your college or university, you must hire an attorney to help you stand a chance at the hearing. Having a blemish on your academic record will lead to significant hardship and can impair your ability to achieve your dream career.