New England Student Defense

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you represent students nationwide?

Our lawyers hold licenses in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. We use local counsel in other jurisdictions as necessary in order to give our clients the best possible representation and combination of our extensive higher education discipline experience with local counsel, should litigation arise.

Q: Why do I need a student defense/Title IX attorney? 

If you have received a charging letter from your college or university’s Title IX office or office of student conduct or community standards, you need an experienced campus student code of conduct advisor who understands the applicable statutes, case law, regulations, and regulatory guidance germane to students’ due process rights under the Constitution and current interim Title IX rules. You will likely be required to meet with a college or university investigator within a matter of days before a disciplinary conference, panel hearing, or Title IX sexual misconduct committee hearing is scheduled. See e.g., "Investigation" on page 14 of Brown University's Code of Student Conduct. Jonathan Cook is an experienced student defense attorney who understands how Colleges and Universities operate. Jonathan helps students and their families navigate often-confusing campus disciplinary proceedings to ensure the best possible resolution with the least possible impact on your education and future. Jonathan has represented College and University students in more than 150 college and university conduct and academic integrity discipline proceedings.

Q: I have BEen CHARGED WITH a VIOLATION(s) OF my COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY DISCIPLINARY conduct CODE OR ACADEMIC honor CODE. what do I do?

Don’t panic! If you are in Rhode Island or any other state, don’t wait to consult an experienced student defense attorney and Title IX advisor who deals with alleged conduct code violations on a regular basis in Rhode Island and nationwide. It’s very important to get out in front of the case against you. Lack of proper preparation could result in sanctions including loss of student housing, suspension or dismissal/expulsion. The consequences affecting your future can be just as serious as a criminal conviction.

If you are accused of conduct violations that are also criminal violations like rape, sexual assault, violations related to drugs and alcohol, fraud or assault and battery, do NOT talk about your case with campus police or law enforcement of any kind. Your statements will be used against you. You shouldn't share with friends or other students either. It’s best not to talk about your case with anyone other than your student defense lawyer, parents and family. 

Q. ARE ALL STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESSES THE SAME?

Every school’s academic integrity code, student conduct code and Title IX policies and procedures are different. For example, private Colleges and Universities in Rhode Island and nationwide, DO NOT have to provide students with Due Process. In contrast,  publicly funded “state schools” like the University of Rhode Island, MUST provide fundamental Due Process rights.

Additionally, many schools including Yale University, the University of Rhode Island, and Georgetown University, convene a hearing panel to decide cases. Other schools including Connecticut College, William & Mary and American University, rely on what is referred to as the “single investigator model” which places the fate of the accused in the hands of one or two investigators, often with inadequate training to investigate, let alone serve as the judge and jury in cases often turning on credibility alone. See the Title IX page for more information. It is important to note that the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed changes to rules governing to sexual misconduct processes. The rules can be revised following the notice and comment period, but will likely be published into law in their current form.

These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.