Now more than ever, colleges and universities in Connecticut and New York are coming down hard on fraternities, sororities and college students for Animal House-type behavior that was normally tolerated on college campuses nationwide. Moderate underage drinking, marijuana use, and harmless hazing activities were discouraged but not prosecuted on Connecticut college campuses. But as the best New York and Connecticut school discipline lawyers and attorneys have recently observed, a few bad apples have ruined it for the bunch. Several recent high-profile campus deaths, rapes, sex assaults and hazing arrests have left Connecticut college and university officials with no choice but to enforce stricter campus rules and regulations, and subsequently punish students with stiff penalties such as suspensions and expulsions. Not only is this unfair, but it leaves these students with a permanent black mark on their transcripts, affecting their ability to get into any other college and grad school, and further hurting their permanent full-time employment prospects.
So will hiring a top Connecticut school discipline expulsion lawyer attorney help your child’s chances for fighting back against these unfair school discipline procedures and policies?
Absolutely. While the lawyer may not be able to actively participate in an interview or school discipline proceeding, they usually are permitted to accompany your child through any investigation. The reason why this is so critical is this: if your child is being accused of any misconduct or criminal activity (perhaps allegations involving drugs, sexual assault, or larceny), then your child’s constitutional Fifth Amendment rights—that is, his or her right against self-incrimination—kick in. They have the right to remain silent on certain questions, and a top Connecticut school discipline criminal lawyer should be permitted to be by your child’s side, no matter which university or school is investigating them. Click here for more information on school discipline law and rights throughout Connecticut and beyond.
No, unless campus police are involved, who are agents of the State in which your child attends college, and are therefore required to follow the criminal and civil rights laws of that State. Otherwise, for privately funded universities and colleges, it is an “anything goes” pseudo-court process that universities and colleges follow when disciplining their students. There are no due process rights. There are no constitutional rights. It is a lopsided process that can run your child’s future right over in an afternoon if you do not seek out the assistance of a top New York or Connecticut school discipline lawyer attorney. Sadly, colleges and universities usually have a few lawyers who work in-house for them and have skewed priorities. Priority #1: protect the school’s bank accounts. Priority #2: protect the school’s reputation and public image. And coming in at a distant third…your child’s future.
So what rules actually DO apply when it comes to investigating misconduct? Well, for starters, when a fraternity or sorority gets into trouble, the wheels of school discipline begin rolling according to a specific playbook—usually called the Student Handbook. This is a contract between your child and the Connecticut college or university which outlines the specific rules of conduct expected of your child. It also explains the discipline procedures of that particular school or university. As any top Connecticut school discipline expulsion attorney lawyer would advise, this handbook usually constitutes a valid and binding contract, so make sure you and your child are familiar with it prior to walking into any investigatory interview or hearing regarding a Connecticut hazing or fraternity / sorority investigations. Click here for a detailed discussion of Connecticut school expulsion hearings.
Recent publicity over overblown hazing and sexual misconduct allegations have generated much concern all over the country. What is hazing? It’s when students, sometimes called “pledges,” who are trying to get into a fraternity or sorority, or trying to join a college sports team, are forced to perform silly, embarrassing, and sometimes dangerous challenges or rituals to prove their loyalty to the fraternity or sorority. The rituals may involve drinking large amounts of alcohol, perform sexually explicit acts in public (i.e. streaking), or engage in otherwise humiliating behavior. Some states have even passed laws making hazing illegal on college campuses.
While the concern to keep our students safe is valid, some of the more recent hazing and college fraternity scandals have proven to be outright false, but not before ruining the reputations of young males students with otherwise promising futures (click here for our thoughts on the landmark Duke University lacrosse scandal). Whether such investigations are valid or not, every student should be afforded the presumption of innocence and be entitled to a fair and bias-free investigation. Hiring a top fraternity or sorority hazing investigation attorney can help you level the playing field in what can otherwise be a skewed and unfair rush to judgment.
So if you or you child are involved in a Connecticut college or university school discipline proceeding, fraternity or sorority hazing investigation, or any kind of school suspension or expulsion issue, or are interested in appealing an expulsion or discipline proceeding, then do not wait until it’s too late. Call an experienced Connecticut school or college discipline lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. We are available 24/7 at (203) 358-4700.