4 Critical Things to Do Right Away if Your School is Investigating You for a Conduct Code Violation
If you get notice from any college or University official that you’re being investigated for violating any of your school’s conduct policies, a process has already begun that can have a major impact on your life. Here are the first four things you need to do regardless of the specific notice you receive.
1. Get The Latest Copy of Your School’s Conduct Codes and Disciplinary Policies: These codes and policies set forth the school’s authority to maintain social discipline, establish guidelines for a civil campus community and outline the process for determining student responsibility for alleged violations of its many policies. It’s important to remember that some schools combine all of their policies into a single document and some publish multiple documents under different names, so make sure to get them all. Here are the common categories of college conduct covered by such policies:
- Sexual Misconduct: Includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, sexual harassment, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence
- Academic Misconduct: Includes cheating, misrepresenting one’s work, inappropriately collaborating, plagiarism, and fabrication of information
- Drugs: Illegal possession, use, sale, manufacture or distribution of any quantity, of any drug, narcotic or controlled substance
- Harassment: Harassing, bullying, intimidation, or stalking made either in person or by telephone, writing, computer or cell phone
Other possible misconduct violations include, among many others: noise violations, destruction of property underage use of alcohol, creation, possession or distribution of pornography, participation in hazing activities, and the production or use of a fake I.D.
2. Take Things Seriously: It is IMPERATIVE that you don’t underestimate the seriousness of any notice that you receive. In the current climate, virtually every higher education institution feels under scrutiny to comply with Title IX causing some to err on the side of providing fewer due process protections for those involved in the disciplinary process. All too often students facing college and university disciplinary charges/proceedings neglect to consult a student defense attorney until it is too late, and end up with irreversible consequences, such as the loss of student housing, the loss of financial aid and/or scholarships, and explusion. Sanctions on your college/university disciplinary record can trail you for the rest of your life. Also, how your school’s proceedings unfold can have significant impact on whether parallel or subsequent criminal charges are filed against you.
3. Remain Silent: Don’t talk about the events surrounding the notice with other students, don’t text or use social media and remain silent when asked to provide information to school personnel. If asked to speak to anyone associated with your school, remain polite and respectful but decline their invitation to meet or talk until you have an experienced code of conduct violation defense attorney. You don’t know what information the school administration has in their possession so stay quiet.
4. Call an Attorney: If you’re facing disciplinary proceedings for violating your college or university’s code of student conduct, it is critical that you take the proper precautions before events overtake you. You need an experienced code of conduct violation defense attorney who understands how the process works on campus and can advise you whether or not your school allows an attorney to accompany you in school proceedings. Even if you withdraw from enrollment after receiving a notice, the disciplinary process will continue with the results included on your transcript possibly affecting your ability to transfer to a new school.
Contact College Code of Conduct Violations Defense Attorneys
If you’re accused of violating the code of conduct and expect to receive or have already received a notice of a disciplinary violation call Felice Duffy and her team at Duffy Law. Attorney Duffy is the former head coach of the Yale women’s soccer team and worked as a federal prosecutor for 10 years. She understands the issues facing college students. She understands how the credibility of witnesses plays an important role in any disciplinary or legal action. She regularly advises and defends students across the country in such matters.