Q: Do I need a student defense attorney?
If you have received a charging letter from your college or university’s Title IX office or office of student conduct, you need an experienced an student code of conduct attorney who knows the applicable statutory and case law, regulations, and regulatory guidance. You will likely be required to meet with a college or university investigator within a matter of days before a disciplinary conference or panel 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?
A: Don’t panic! But also don’t wait to consult an experienced student defense attorney who has deals with alleged conduct code violations on a regular basis. 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?
A. Every school’s academic integrity code or student conduct code policies and procedures is different. For example, private Colleges and Universities DO NOT have to provide students with Due Process. In contrast, publicly funded “state schools” MUST provide fundamental Due Process rights often limited to notice and some kind of hearing.
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.