There are a number of different disciplinary offenses a college or university student can face even if the alleged action doesn’t violate any criminal laws. As a result, it is important that if you or someone you know is facing disciplinary charges at a college in DC, you consult with a DC student defense lawyer as soon as possible. The following is information on some of the different types of offenses where legal counsel can be beneficial, to learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
Some of the most common types of disciplinary charges when it comes to university disciplinary hearings are allegations of drug possession, drug distribution—meaning selling, sharing or possessing with intent to distribute drugs—and sexual assaults or sexual harassment. Even allegations that may not result in or constitute criminal charges can still be considered alleged violations of a student judicial code of conduct.
For example, sexual harassment is not typically a crime. Making unwanted statements to another individual that are sexual in nature, even though they may be unwise or discomforting, is typically considered First Amendment protected speech so long as the statements do not constitute threats. These kinds of actions can still be considered violations of a student code of conduct even though they are not considered crimes because the university is allowed to create its own code of conduct and create and define its own violations.
Accusations of dishonesty, plagiarism, forgery or cheating can also be charged as violations of student ethics codes. Once again, these are accusations that wouldn’t be considered crimes and couldn’t result in a person being charged criminally, but they could still be treated very harshly by the university. They can result in disciplinary probation, suspension and even expulsion. Additionally, they can also result in a student not being permitted to participate in certain non-academic activities such as athletics or student organizations.
Most universities’ student judicial codes prohibit stalking in general, which refers to making repeated unwanted contact or sending unwanted communications in a repeated manner—not just through a single communication, but in multiple instances.
More recently, universities have started to become more aware of problems with cyber stalking because of the growing prevalence of social media like Twitter and Facebook, through which students can use the internet to harass or stalk other students and sometimes do so without making their identity known.
So allegations of cyber stalking, online threats, online harassment and online shaming—when taken to a pervasive level and not simply on an isolated basis—can be treated as very serious violations of the student code of conduct. Those issues, since they have gotten much more media attention recently, are now being treated as more serious by universities. With that said, there are still limitations on the situations in which students can be charged with cyber stalking. In most situations, students do have the right to publish information online, make their opinions known and communicate with other students in a way that is not deliberately disruptive to the university community. So there is sometimes a fine line between cyber stalking and a student exercising legitimate speech.
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