College and University Housing Policy Violations
- 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 was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.
“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You're presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.
Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.
Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for.
I have already recommended Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”
Parent of a private college senior
“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.
In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.
Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.
Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.
Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”
Parent of a College Sophomore, OhioSee More Client Testimonials
Colleges We Serve
Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Bowling Green State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Dartmouth College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Lesley University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Mississippi University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Connecticut
- University of Kansas
- 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
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University at St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Wheaton College
- Yale University
One of the best parts of going to college is moving into the dorms or student apartments. You meet new people, learn to live on your own, and have a little fun. Unfortunately, residence life also leads many college students to face allegations of college code of conduct violations and potentially serious consequences.
Common Housing Policies
Many colleges and universities build their residence policies and rules around respecting one another and maintaining a safe environment for everyone in the housing facility. However, some rules can be unexpected—and unknown—for most students. Campus dormitory rules can be intricate and college students are often more interested in building a life for themselves than reading and remembering every detail of a residential rulebook. Students may violate a rule without even realizing it and suddenly, they are facing extreme consequences, which can include losing scholarships, suspensions, or other disciplinary actions that can affect their education and future in general.
The following are only some examples of the many rules that can apply to student housing and that can lead to serious college code violation accusations.
Fire Safety Violations
In any type of large housing development, fire safety is definitely a concern and policies should be in place. Fire safety policies often involve many types of prohibited items, many of which can be surprising and may include:
- Extension cords
- Furniture not provided by the school
- Electric heaters
- Firearms or fireworks
- Air mattresses
- Halogen lights
- Evergreens – artificial or natural
- Hot plates
While not having electric heaters or fireworks may seem obvious, many students may not realize that they are violating fire safety rules by blowing up an air mattress for a visiting friend, adding a table they brought from home to the dorm room, or having a small Christmas tree as a festive decoration. In some instances, a student may light a single candle in their room and when they blow it out, the smoke alarm may be set off. Suddenly, that student is facing disciplinary proceedings before the college board and may lose their funding, be suspended, or worse. All because of a single candle. While colleges should always take the safety of their students seriously, they sometimes can blow certain violations out of proportion and a student can face lasting consequences. It’s important to speak with an experienced attorney if you’ve been accused of violating any residence policy at your school.
Alcohol in Student Housing
Colleges and universities have the difficult task of trying to enforce underage drinking rules. In an attempt to do so, some campus housing policies can be unrealistic and can lead to wrongful accusations of underage alcohol possession. For example, some schools state that no student under 21 can be in the presence of alcohol or even alcoholic beverage containers.
Imagine that you stop by a friend’s dorm room and he is drinking a beer. If you are having a conversation and a security guard knocks on the door, you may be accused of underage alcohol possession even though you never held the beer or drank the beer. Because you said “hi” to a neighbor, you may then face serious penalties for violating your school’s underage drinking policies.
In addition, many colleges and universities are now banning drinking games from being played in student rooms or apartments—specifically, residence policies prohibit any activity that promotes the rapid consumption of alcohol. However, students may be accused of playing drinking games when they, in fact, are not. Someone may walk by a room where students are playing a rousing game while drinking—even though the two are unrelated. Assumptions may be made and suddenly, all students in that room may face college conduct violations. These are only some examples of how alcohol-related housing policies can be ambiguous and wrongful allegations can arise.
Colleges and universities expect students to adhere to state and federal laws, so it is no surprise that illegal drugs are banned from student housing complexes. Like any type of drug possession case, however, college code drug policies can lead to wrongful accusations and penalties that can affect the rest of your life.
Drug possession accusations can be based on actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession means that drugs were found on your person, in your backpack, or otherwise under your control. However, constructive possession means that you had the ability to control the drugs if you wanted, which can include drugs simply being in your dorm room. If your roommate has marijuana and security discovers it, you may also be accused of possessing marijuana even if you actually had no idea that it was in the room.
Drug possession allegations may not only lead to severe disciplinary action by a school,but also to state criminal charges. A drug possession conviction on your record can have many consequences, including disqualification for federal student loans, difficulty finding a job or getting into grad school, and more. If you’ve been accused of drug possession on campus, it’s critical to be represented by a defense attorney who can handle both your college disciplinary proceedings and any charges in criminal court.
At Duffy Law, we know that the 4th Amendment applies to students who live in dormitories and we aggressively defend against drug charges for clients of all ages. We are also extremely familiar with the college disciplinary process and can protect your rights against any housing policy or other college code violations.
Find Out How Our College Code Defense Lawyers Can Help You
The above are only a few examples of college code violations that can arise from student housing policies. The experienced attorneys at Duffy Law are committed to defending the rights of students facing college code accusations and helping to limit the consequences they face. Lighting a candle or playing a game while drinking a beer in a campus room should not affect the rest of your life. These matters can be more serious than you think so it is important to discuss any allegations with a college code defense law firm as soon as possible. Call Duffy Law at 203.946.2000 today.
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