Our lawyers here at Hayes & Simon have seen public and private universities & high schools in the tri-state area suspend, dismiss and impose a negative transcript notation on students for mere political speech; minor indiscretions; and a variety of matters that concern off-campus activities. In many cases, the universities are flatly wrong or politically motivated in the decision to discipline the student and in other cases we have seen gross overreactions. These decisions by these educational institutions in NY, CT and NJ may have serious negative consequences for students throughout their lives. The appeal of these disciplinary actions by these schools is an important step in the successful resolution of this matter.
Please be aware that of particular concern, in many cases, is the imposition of a transcript notation or failing grade. With these types of scarlet letters, it is often difficult to even transfer to another school of equal fame.
Here is a few basics necessary steps to assist in successfully resolve these issues. Please note this is far from an exhaustive explanation, but should be useful in preparation for an appointment with an attorney that can assist with the appeal of the disciplinary action and/our necessary court action.
Basics of Challenging Dismissals & Suspensions and other Disciplinary Dispositions at Private Colleges, Universities & High Schools
This list assumes that a First Disciplinary Decision was made and the opportunity to Appeal is still available. If you have not made a statement to the university or high school concerning this matter, it is best to make a statement after preparation from your attorney. If the appeal process is exhausted, the below is still required, however, court action may be the only option going forward.
- Get all Your Ducks in Order: Do not go into this matter willy nilly. Get the school rules, procedures and research how the school handled like cases. Do your research.
- Facts Matter: Make a list of all potential positive and negatives witnesses. Write down the basics of why the particular witness shall be a positive witness and what the witness is likely to say if the witness tells the truth. Write down a list of all the negative witness, write down the basics of why the particular witness shall be a negative witness and what the witness is likely to say if the witness tells the truth.
- Gather Tangible Evidence: In many cases, emails, text, pictures are available. Gather and compile all of this evidence.
- Timeline: Make a detailed timeline of events that includes a expose of what occurred. Be honest with anyone assisting you with this matter.
- Consider all Possible Outcomes: Consider all possible damage that this matter can cause to you, consider all possibilities with regard to what can be considered a positive resolution of the matter and consider all possibly paths this matter may take. Consider all possibilities and all potential avenues. Probabilities are for fortune tellers, while in times of potential trouble – consider possibilities first and probabilities second and, thus, you shall avoid surprises.
- Prepare for the Worst: Speaks for itself. All matters are unable to be successfully resolved. Make plans for the future and these plans may include considering other schools. This lawyer, who used to work as a professor, introduced a disciplined student to a university that was a step-up for the student. Some schools, simply, are not a right fit for certain students.
- Nuanced, Informed & Detailed Answer/Appeal to the Disciplinary Action: This Appeal should be completed by your attorney or, at least, with the active assistance of an attorney. Make sure you lawyer has significant experience, education and background in these type matters. Often, the ubiquitous academic appeals attorneys are not, in many cases, adequate for cases that shall be resolved via court. The reality is few lawyers are capable of handling academic disciplinary matters effectively in U.S. Federal Court and, often, schools know this reality. Experience, background and reputation matters in resolution of the matter prior to court and in court.
- Focus on the Goal and What You Need to Do to Achieve the Goal: While the action of the college, university or high school may be unethical or even a violation of the law, do not agonize on this reality and focus on what you need to do to have this matter not do damage to your future success. Focusing on the goal and what you need to do to achieve that goal shall assist in relieving the psychological stress of the matter, while allowing you to do the things needed for success in the matter.
We shall be writing more about academic appeals of suspensions and dismissals for universities, colleges and high schools over the next couple of weeks. Check back often and checkout our website at: Hayes & Simon, P.C.
For a consultation with New York Attorney Sean Hayes, please Schedule a Call. Sean offers a no cost 15-minute consultation via phone. Please book the call via the link above or via our website at: Hayes & Simon, P.C.
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