student discipline hearing lawyer greensboro, nc

Student Discipline Hearing Lawyer

Title IX Hearings Attorney

Have you received an email about a Title IX Investigation against you? Has your college student been wrongly accused of sexual misconduct? It’s hard not to feel frightened when you are blindsided by an accusation like this and are trying to figure out your next steps.

At Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, we search for the truth. We work with students and their families to make sure there is strong support to help reduce the impact of these accusations.

Why Do I have a Student Disciplinary Hearing?

The atmosphere on college campuses has radically changed. As a result, we’ve seen a significant increase in campus disciplinary hearings, which can result in serious penalties such as suspension or expulsion even if no criminal charges are filed. Any full-time or part-time student is bound by the Student Code of Conduct at their college or university, which includes violations of Title IX.

Charges can be made by another student or even a non-student, and they might originate from actions on or off campus.

The evidence against students involved in Student Code of Conduct campus disciplinary hearings and Title IX proceedings is sometimes entirely circumstantial. Every school processes these investigations and hearings differently, and regardless of the school you attend, we have the insight to know the ins and outs.

Can I have an Attorney for a Title IX Hearing?

The extent of engagement of an attorney advocate in the investigation and/or hearing varies between private and public universities. Universities are required by federal law to enable attorney advocates to witness Title IX investigations and hearings.

Your college’s policies, processes, and standards will determine your fate. You always have the option of hiring an attorney to assist you with this difficult process. Work with Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law experienced legal team to better understand your options, risks, and best course of action.

Can a Student Discipline Hearing Lawyer Keep Me in School?

Universities possess tremendous authority. You may find it difficult or impossible to complete your study if your educational experience is disrupted by a suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary trials for students have the potential to affect your life.

You have rights regardless of the college or university you attend. Our student discipline lawyers can guide you through the process from beginning to end. With our help, you’ll be ready for the types of questions that might be asked in an interview or hearing, know who else will be in the room, know your rights, and be aware with your university’s regulations and what’s at stake.

What should I expect from a Title IX Investigation?

Many students never have to deal with disciplinary procedures on campus. An accused individual in a sexual misconduct investigation is likely to be dealing with college investigations and hearings for the first time.

Each university has its own Title IX policy. When an alleged victim files a complaint, the Dean of Students is likely to get involved, and the school’s Title IX coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs may decide to launch an official inquiry.

It can take months for an inquiry, disciplinary hearings, and appeals to be completed. In the meantime, accused parties must contend with huge invasions of privacy, a lack of institutional support, and the possibility of reprisal for their alleged violations.

Should I Call a Student Hearings Attorney Today?

You should promptly seek a counsel if you are accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or similar policy violation. Your civil rights, including the right to appointed counsel, are protected under North Carolina law.

Hiring the ideal lawyer is not only the best approach to safeguard your rights, but it’s also your best chance of a positive outcome. In these circumstances, there is frequently a bias against the accused. A skilled lawyer can help level the playing field.

What are the Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for a Student Disciplinary Hearing?

When many students consider hiring an attorney in the aftermath of sexual misbehavior, they are most often considering legal assistance for potential criminal charges. In the school disciplinary system, however, you face an uphill battle — with possibly life-altering repercussions.

At Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, we can fight for you from the very beginning. We can help you by:

  • Defending and asserting your rights from the start of an investigation
  • Examining the evidence and making sure it isn’t being misconstrued
  • Protecting you from making remarks that could jeopardize your job, whether in disciplinary processes or later in a criminal court.
  • Ensure that school disciplinary officials do not overstep their bounds
  • Representing you throughout the appeals process, including spotting university errors at hearings.
  • Assessing the potential influence of the initial inquiry and disciplinary proceedings on subsequent criminal charges
  • Defending you in any further criminal investigations or charges

Our attorneys defend accused students, staff, and faculty members in North Carolina from several offices across the state. We have a successful track record and a well-deserved reputation for quality.

How does the Student Discipline process work?

THE STUDENT DISCIPLINE PROCESS IN 5 PHASES

While each university has its own set of standards, the process for most allegations of sexual misconduct is essentially the same. When our attorneys assess Title IX cases, they examine the specifics and devise a plan for each stage of the disciplinary process. In general, there are five stages to the student disciplinary process:

  1. The Investigation

When a university employee receives a complaint or learns of a suspected violation of the university code of conduct, they are required to file a report. The following are some examples of violations that should be reported:

  • Sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual advances on multiple occasions
  • Sexual assault, whether the reporting person and/or the alleged attacker were inebriated
  • On-campus intimate partner violence
  • Threats or assaults based on sex or sexual orientation

In addition, institutions have worked hard to ensure that suspected victims of student code infractions have a way to report the violation. Reporting acts of wrongdoing is now “highly encouraged” among students. Following the receipt of a complaint, an investigation process is initiated. An investigator will be hired or appointed by the college or university to interview witnesses, collect evidence, and confront the accused student.

  1. Pre-Hearing Procedures

The accused will be notified, and a hearing date will be scheduled if university administrators determine a reasonable basis to support the alleged violation. The accused will most likely receive a summary of the evidence against them in the form of an investigative report prepared by a university investigator.

  1. Disciplinary Hearing

The accused will be asked whether they want to acknowledge, deny, or remain silent about the alleged infraction during the hearing. Both the accused and the purported victim may offer evidence and facts, and both sides may argue their versions of events.

Hearings are normally closed to the public and can be recorded. The hearing is structured similarly to a trial (opening arguments, evidence presentation, and conclusion), but there are no rules of evidence, and the burden of proof is substantially lower than in criminal procedures. The results of investigators are frequently relied upon by colleges and universities. External review and validation may or may not be performed on these findings.

When the hearing is done, the student disciplinary body will determine the accused’s guilt or innocence in relation to the alleged offense. A “preponderance of the evidence” (meaning it’s more likely than not that the student broke the code) is usually the standard of proof required to find a violation. This is a much lower bar than in a criminal prosecution, when evidence must be “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

  1. Sanction Phase

If the disciplinary board determines that a violation occurred, the panel must then decide on the appropriate sanction or punishment. The university will allow the accused to provide mitigating evidence and ask for mercy, similar to how a criminal case is sentenced. Because of the instructional nature of the university setting, punishments are intended to be “educational” rather than punitive. That isn’t to say they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Sanctions can have a significant negative influence on your reputation, employment and educational possibilities, and future prospects.

Expulsion is the most extreme penalty for a violation. Suspension, disciplinary probation, the loss of scholarships, expulsion from sports teams or extracurricular activities, and the completion of counseling or substance addiction treatment are some of the other penalties. Moreover, the institution has the authority to postpone the conferral of a student’s degree until the student complies with the punishments imposed.

Some schools have recently looked into policies that promote restorative justice as part of the settlement process. Restorative justice focuses on “putting things right” and may entail drafting letters of apology to the community, more therapy, and lengthy in-person sessions with the reporting parties and alleged victims.

  1. Appeals

If a student is held accountable at a hearing, he or she can normally appeal to a higher hearing panel, as specified in the student conduct code of the university. At the conclusion of a hearing, the disciplinary body or Title IX coordinator should make the accused’s appeals policies available. Accused parties should hire an attorney who can appropriately assess pertinent evidence, the school’s reporting and reacting systems, and Title IX policies during the appeals process.

At a Student Disciplinary Hearing, do I have the same rights as I would at a Criminal Proceeding?

It’s essential to understand that universities have enacted regulations that are significantly less favorable to the accused than those found in criminal court, via their respective Title IX compliance offices. The evidence used to sustain a finding of sexual misconduct in a university context frequently falls well short of what is required to prove a criminal law offense.

Serious allegations of sexual misbehavior, on the other hand, may be referred to police enforcement for criminal inquiry. If the district attorney or law enforcement picks the case for prosecution, officers can use detrimental, voluntary remarks provided by a student while responding to a disciplinary code violation investigation against the student.

This risk of disciplinary proceedings leading to criminal charges, especially when the allegation is as serious as sexual misbehavior, highlights the prudence of allowing the accused to be represented at student code hearings.

During disciplinary proceedings, you have the right to an attorney, which is one of your most significant rights. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle school disciplinary actions on your own, especially when the stakes are so high.

Protecting the Accused-How Universities Often Fail Students

It’s naive to believe that when sensitive and controversial claims occur on campus, the university community will wait until a fair and unbiased procedure is completed before passing judgment. In these instances, it’s much too simple for individuals to jump to judgments. For the accused, this implies that the penalties frequently begin before any formal decisions are made.

When students are accused of sexual misbehavior, they are rarely given the protection they deserve. Universities frequently fail to protect students who are under investigation. As a result, unjust actions may occur, such as:

  • Discriminative grading
  • Separation from social settings
  • Harassment and incident assault
  • Permanent damage to the accused’s reputation

Title IX is a non-discriminatory organization. Throughout the process, the university’s staff, including investigators and the Title IX coordinator, should treat you equally. You have the same rights as any other student. You are deserving of respect and assistance. When accusations lead to unfair treatment, our company can act as your advocate and support.

Contact Our Student Discipline Hearing Lawyers Today!

At Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law our experienced criminal defense lawyers assist students in a variety of situations. Everything from traffic tickets to complicated state and federal criminal defense is handled by our full-service law firm. We will defend you in court and in any disciplinary procedures taken by your institution or university if you have been accused of a crime. This includes Title IX proceedings involving allegations of rape, stalking, relationship violence, or other forms of sexual misbehavior.

Have questions? You will need legal assistance if you are a student facing allegations of sexual misconduct, alcohol or drug abuse, theft, or other infractions of your school’s Code of Conduct. Contact us online or call 336-379-0539 today to get started.