College campus disciplinary hearings operate much differently than criminal court proceedings. Most of the time, they have a lower evidentiary standard than a criminal hearing, and sometimes they don’t even assume innocence until proven guilty. Each college or university has its own conduct code which details its disciplinary hearing process and the rights of the defendant and the complainant. Offenses range from vandalism to hate speech to sexual assault cases. No matter the charge, the school takes on the responsibility to punish the offenses.
What can my school charge me for?
Offenses are typically divided into those that are non-academic (like underage drinking) and those that are academic (like cheating). Some of this prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:
- Physical injury
- Relationship violence
- Using or possessing weapons or explosives
- Drug possession and consumption
- Possessing, using, or selling fake identification
- Unauthorized electronic recording
- Underage drinking
- Sexual misconduct
What are the steps in the disciplinary process?
Every school has their own disciplinary process outlined in their code of student conduct, but some typical steps in the process may include:
- The notification of the charge and meeting request are sent.
- A mutual resolution meeting is held. Afterwards there are typically three outcomes. The charges may be dropped, the student may admit guilt and sanctions may be delivered, or the case might be sent to a hearing.
- During the hearing, the student will be found guilty or not guilty (often by a group of staff and faculty members or student conduct representatives) and receive the corresponding punishment.
How can I be punished?
Every school has different sanctions for different charges. These sanctions may include but are not limited to:
- A warning
- Removal from university housing
Sexual misconduct cases at universities are often handled differently than other charges because under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, federally-funded universities are required to respond to accusations of sexual misconduct.
Even thought campus disciplinary hearings operate differently from criminal court, you can and should still hire a criminal defense attorney. The lower standard of evidence in a campus disciplinary hearing makes it easier to bring charges against you. If you are facing a campus disciplinary hearing in North or South Carolina, contact us.