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College Student Defense

What Disciplinary Proceedings Can Jeopardize Your Education?

By February 8, 2021September 25th, 2023No Comments

Being accused or convicted of a criminal offense can have far-reaching repercussions not only in your private life but in your education as well. 

Even when you’ve not been accused or convicted of a crime, the idea of facing a disciplinary hearing can be scary. If the proceedings do not turn out in your favor, the consequences can be dire. 

Not only will these consequences damage your reputation, but it can also affect your ability to complete your education and may reduce your employment chances.

The disciplinary process can also be confusing for a student. Is it a second criminal trial conducted by your school? What are your rights during disciplinary proceedings? And what are the penalties that you can face afterwards? 

Our team at DC Student Defense recommends hiring an attorney as soon as possible if you’re facing these types of hearings and charges.

What Actions May Require a Disciplinary Proceeding?

Disciplinary hearings involve a student who is charged with a violation of a law that is also a violation of the school’s honor code.

Code of conduct disciplinary charges, sexual misconduct allegations, academic misconduct charges, and Title IX charges can be cause for a disciplinary proceeding. Some of the acts that may lead to a disciplinary hearing include:

  • Blackmail
  • Arson
  • Bullying
  • Cheating
  • Improper use of cell phones or other electronic devices
  • Cyberstalking
  • Use of physical force against another person
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism

This list is inexhaustive, and will generally depend on the misconducts contained in the school’s code of conduct.

What are the possible consequences of a disciplinary proceeding?

The penalty after an unsuccessful disciplinary hearing varies depending on the severity of the alleged offense. It may be any of the following:

  • Expulsion
  • Temporary suspension
  • Removal from certain classes
  • Compensation paid to alleged victims

The consequences can, however, be more far-reaching than the listed penalties. It can affect your chances of completing your degree, as well as reduce your employment chances. If you intend to attend a graduate school like medical school or law school, it may hinder you from getting in.

What are your rights during disciplinary proceedings?

Your rights during disciplinary proceedings vary depending on the gravity of the possible outcome. 

  • For example, your rights when you’re facing a short term suspension are different from the rights that you have when the possible penalty is a long term suspension or expulsion. When the suspension is for less than ten days, your rights at minimum include:
    • The right to know the specific charges and the proffered punishment
    • An explanation of the evidence against you
    • A chance to challenge the allegations before an objective person, usually in an informal hearing or conference.

Despite these rights, the school officials have the right to immediately suspend you if they believe that you pose a danger. However, they are obligated to schedule a hearing as soon as possible afterward.

  • On the other hand, when the suspension is for more than ten days, you generally have a right to a more formal disciplinary hearing. The same goes for when the possible outcome is an expulsion.
  • In the disciplinary proceedings, you are allowed to present evidence and call witnesses. Before the hearing, the school is obligated to send you a list of their witnesses and the events they’ll testify about.
  • Additionally, your fundamental constitutional rights still apply during disciplinary proceedings. Depending on the circumstances, any school official who intends to question you may have to first inform you on your right to remain silent.
  • Also, even though the school has the right to search you without a warrant, they must have a reasonable suspicion that you have done something wrong.
  • Most importantly, you have the right to hire an attorney to help you through this process. 

Contact Attorney Shan Wu for Student Defense

Being involved in a disciplinary proceeding is not something that should be taken lightly. An unsuccessful hearing can jeopardize the future of your education. It can affect your ability to transfer to other schools, and your capacity to get into graduate schools. It is, therefore, essential to hire an attorney to defend your rights if you’re facing a disciplinary proceeding. Contact Shan Wu today to discuss your case.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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