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College Code of Conduct Violations Defense Attorneys
- Case Results
- List of Schools
Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.
Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings
Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.
Large private university
Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation
We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.
Small private college
Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed
Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.
Midsized private collegeSee More Case Results
"I am writing to let any college student who gets accused of something serious by their school know that they need a lawyer like Felice Duffy to defend them. I was accused of something terrible by a student that I would never do and didn’t do. Even though I knew exactly what actually happened, I was very scared that my university might not find me innocent. It was terrifying to think that I might lose my full basketball scholarship or could have been suspended or expelled and that me and my family’s name could have gotten a horrible reputation. I can’t even put into words how I excited I was when I got the letter from the school that cleared me completely of the charges against me and I have Felice to thank for that 100%. Since I’m not in Connecticut, Felice and her investigator used video conferencing to interview me and my witnesses, talk with my parents, and get me fully prepared for every meeting I had with my school. They got all my texts and email that proved my innocence and organized them perfectly for the Dean and the discipline committee. Felice was always very direct and respectful even though the subject matter was very personal, and she was always ahead of the school in terms of getting me and them important information at every step. It was like having the best scouting report ever." Felice obviously knows her stuff but she also deeply cares. You can tell that she loves the work she’s doing to help college kids in really difficult situations.
College Sophomre, Colorado
“The claims leveled against me were terrible, but the wonderful news is that I was fully cleared of all the allegations because of the outstanding work Christine Brown and the team at Duffy Law did on my behalf. The first thing that really impressed me was that from the very first call Christine quickly understood what was going on and was able to read between the lines to understand the complicated dynamics of the situation. Despite my entire career being spent in academia, I didn't know much about Title IX procedures. Her expertise and knowledge of the process was immediately apparent and critically helpful in guiding me and giving me as much peace of mind as possible.. Christine knew how to spot the important subtext throughout the process and made sure I understood the strategic options I had at every stage going forward. I felt very confident in the decisions we made together. I felt vindicated by the decision and that this situation will have no further effects on my career. I am very grateful to Christine and Duffy Law for guiding me through this stressful process and recommend them without reservation to any faculty member facing a similarly challenging situation. ”
Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at a midwest university
“I hired Felice Duffy in the middle of a Title IX sexual assault proceeding. While I had initially retained another attorney on a recommendation, it turns out they did not have much insight to the inner workings of university policy, which I learned is NOT required to follow the basic laws of due process. Felice was absolutely incredible, and as an athlete, she understood my thought process and feelings the entire way. This is what stood out the most to me. At the beginning of my school’s adjudication process, I was an absolute mess. Not only is Felice extremely knowledgeable in law and how school adjudication processes work, but she also really does care about her clients and their well-being. It was initially extremely tough for me to speak about what I was facing. Felice was able to assist me not only in compiling the proper evidence and responding to the school, but also put me in the right state of mind to defend myself and move on with my life after it was all completed. Prior to hiring Duffy Law, I was concerned that I would be relegated to working with a legal assistant or secretary being that my case was in a college setting as opposed to a state court. However, Felice always found a way to make time and was there every step of the way. I feel like an important part of hiring an attorney is being able to trust them to fight for you no matter what the scenario may be and you can rest assured you will be getting that with Duffy Law. I would recommend Felice Duffy of Duffy Law 10 times out of 10 to anyone that may be put in a tough situation like I was”
Female College Freshman, MassachusettsSee More Client Testimonials
Schools Where We've Handled Cases
Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Belmont Abbey College
- Bowling Green State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Creighton Law School
- Dartmouth College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Furman University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Lesley University
- Louisiana State University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Mississippi University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rice University
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Swarthmore College
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Connecticut
- University of Kansas
- University of Lynchburg
- University of Maryland
- University of Mass. Med. School
- University of Miami
- University of Missouri
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Texas
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Vassar College
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University, St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Western Washington University
- Wheaton College
- William Smith College
- Yale University
Alert: Biden Orders Fresh Look at Title IX Regulations
On March 8, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring the Department of Education (“DOE”) to review federal regulations, orders and guidance put in place under the Trump administration that apply to how educational institutions handle complaints of sexual misconduct. The DOE will evaluate whether those regulations are “consistent with the policies” of the current administration. The executive order allows the DOE to suspend, revise, or rescind any or all the prior actions if they are found to be inconsistent. This review will likely result in another major shift in how colleges and universities across the nation handle sexual misconduct cases and alter the policies that schools enacted at their institutions in 2020. The attorneys at Duffy Law stay up-to-the-minute on all applicable Title IX regulations, as well as potential changes expected by mid-June, and are available to consult with you during this tumultuous time in Title IX law. The full Executive Order issued by President Biden can be found here.
Providing nationwide defense of college students who have been accused of violations of their code of conduct
Virtually every college and university in the U.S. has a code of conduct that applies to its student body. This code is usually included in a student handbook and tells students how they are expected to behave on campus and what types of behaviors are forbidden.
While not having the force of law, a school’s code of conduct subjects students to various sanctions if they violate its terms. Generally speaking, if you are accused of violating the code of conduct, you will receive a notice of a disciplinary violation and may be called before a hearing committee. Unfortunately, the rights afforded to you in the disciplinary process are often weak and arbitrary. Schools are free to run their campus judicial systems using standards of due process, evidence, and confidentiality far below even the minimum standards that apply in either federal or state judicial venues.
You have likely invested years of hard work and tens of thousands of dollars into your education and being found responsible for violating your college or university’s code of conduct can result in serious repercussions that can affect your personal and professional life for years because the violations can become part of your permanent academic record. Too often, college students do not recognize the severity of a code of conduct violation and you may think you can handle the allegations yourself. You may also feel embarrassment or shame and do not want your friends and family to find out and, therefore, decide not to consult with an attorney.
As a college student, you may not be aware that anything you say or do can be used in the school’s investigation and also may be used against you in future criminal proceedings. An experienced student defense attorney can advise you confidentially from the beginning and help you navigate your institution’s specific policies, practices, rules, and regulations to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit of whatever rights your school does afford you, and to minimize the impact of any allegations and findings. Being extremely well prepared before you answer any charge in writing or verbally or appear at any hearing is the key to your successful defense. An attorney can be a great asset in achieving a positive outcome, assisting the student in preparing a witness list, preparing questions for those witnesses, and presenting favorable evidence or evidence in mitigation.
Do not underestimate the complexity of the hearing process
Many students and their parents are under the mistaken impression that a disciplinary hearing conducted by an educational institution is a mere formality and a way to put a student through an uncomfortable proceeding that is intended to be a punishment in itself. In reality, disciplinary hearings at colleges and universities are often legitimate fact-finding proceedings that are subject to complicated procedural and substantive rules. Furthermore, the outcomes of disciplinary hearings can have a significant impact on a student’s academic and professional life for years to come. For this reason, it is critical that you do not underestimate the complexity of the hearing process and to go into it with as much information and assistance as possible.
What if a school prohibits the involvement of attorneys or non-school personnel at a hearing, interview, or meeting?
Some educational institutions may not allow attorneys or other non-school personnel to attend a hearing, interview, or meeting involving an alleged disciplinary violation. If you find yourself or your child in this situation, you may feel helpless and uncertain about how to proceed. It is important to keep in mind that the fact that an attorney cannot attend a particular proceeding does not mean an attorney cannot be of assistance. An attorney familiar with college code violation proceedings may be able to help students and their parents in a number of ways, including the following:
- Investigate the case and determine whether there is any evidence that tends to strengthen a student’s argument that there was no violation
- Explain the disciplinary process to students and parents
- Advise students and their parents about the possible outcomes of the case
- Determine whether the school is in violation of its own rules or any applicable state or federal laws
- Prepare students for the types of questions they may need to answer
Simply assuming that the truth is on your side or that the school is just trying to slap a student on the wrist by conducting a hearing is a mistake that could have far-reaching and long-term professional consequences. For this reason, it is important to consult with a lawyer about your options, even if the institution alleging a code violation does not allow lawyers to be involved in the hearing process.
Allegations of sexual harassment and assault are particularly serious
Allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault that implicate Title IX are of special concern to colleges and universities around the country, especially in light of high-profile cases and social commentary regarding a permissive attitude toward “rape culture” on campus. As a result, when these types of allegations are leveled against a student, the educational institution is under tremendous pressure to deal with the case as quickly as possible, as failure to do so could have a significant and adverse impact on its national reputation. In addition, swift and decisive action regarding allegations of sexual misconduct may dissuade others from engaging in questionable conduct, further incentivizing colleges and universities to deal with these kinds of cases quickly and judiciously.
While the desire to handle Title IX violations quickly may be well-intentioned and understandable, the unfortunate reality is that doing so can often result in hastily prepared and incomplete investigations and hearings. For this reason, it is critical for anyone accused of sexual misconduct by a college or university to retain an attorney familiar with representing college students involved in these kinds of cases.
Importantly, the outcome of a sexual misconduct case conducted by a college or university may also result in criminal consequences. As a result, students accused of sexual violations often face suspension or expulsion and may also face jail time and a criminal conviction that could potentially affect them for the rest of their lives.
Common code of conduct allegations
Student conduct code violations often involve issues such as:
While some of these violations are clearly less serious than others, if you are accused of any conduct code violations, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced attorney as early as possible.
At Duffy Law, our highly experienced Conduct Code lawyers understand the issues facing college students and stand ready to defend you against any type of alleged college conduct violation. Call Duffy Law, LLC today at 203-946-2000 to schedule a confidential consultation.
What does the college disciplinary process look like?
When the university becomes aware that a student has been cited or charged with a crime, the school will inform the student of the potential violation of the student code of conduct and begin a fact-finding inquiry. That inquiry involves gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to determine whether the student’s behavior constituted a violation of the code of conduct. A student admitting to a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or being found “responsible” for the charged conduct by an administrator or disciplinary board may prevent the student from being admitted to an alternate college or university. Additionally, statements made to university administrators and hearing boards can be used by law enforcement against the student in a criminal prosecution making it important to speak to your attorney before making any statements to the school or signing any documents regarding your alleged conduct.
What are the possible sanctions your college or university may impose?
If your college or university’s hearing board determines that you did, in fact, violate your school’s student code of conduct, there are a number of sanctions that it could potentially impose. In relatively minor cases involving underage drinking or minor drug offenses, potential consequences for a student code of conduct violation can include formal reprimand, probation or community service. In more serious cases involving violent crimes such as sexual assault, the penalty could include dismissal from the student dorms, school suspension or expulsion.
A college disciplinary hearing can only deprive a student of property (i.e. in the form of expulsion which causes a forfeiture of tuition). Because this varies from the criminal system of justice, where an individual can be punished with a loss of liberty, there are many more procedural protections for a criminal defendant versus accused students involved in a disciplinary proceeding. This premise is reflected in the case of New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 340, which provides that “school disciplinary rules need not be as detailed as a criminal code which imposes criminal sanctions.”
However, the consequences of a student code of conduct violation are not limited to those imposed by an educational institution. In many cases, there also may be a criminal case that arises from the same incident, meaning that the state may also impose its own criminal sanctions against you. A criminal conviction can adversely affect your freedom, finances, and future.
Helping victims of code violations on college campuses
In addition to individuals facing accusations, the victims of any offenses that took place on college campuses are also afforded certain rights to ensure their safety and well-being during and after the hearing process.
Contact a National College Code of Conduct Violations Lawyer To Begin Protecting Your Rights
With so much at stake, it is critical for students who are accused of conduct code violations to do everything possible to resolve their case as favorably as possible. The representation of an attorney will ensure that you are treated fairly by the hearing board and that any parallel criminal prosecution that may exist is also resolved. It is important for you to remember that, although academic disciplinary proceedings do not occur in a court, you still have significant rights that may not be upheld without the assistance of legal counsel. For this reason, if you are accused of a code of conduct violation, you should retain legal counsel immediately. Call Duffy Law, LLC at 203-946-2000 today to schedule a consultation.