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College Arrests, University Title IX Investigations, Code of Conduct Violations and Disciplinary Hearings

New York City and the surrounding counties are home to some of the premier colleges and universities, none of which are immune from expelling or suspending students after a Title IX investigation, Dean’s Discipline hearing or other code of conduct violation for sexual harassment, gender-based violence, possessing drugs or even cheating on exams. While some infractions demand the assistance of a criminal lawyer when there is an arrest involving the Penal Law, others mandate legal counsel – a Title IX attorney – even if outside the justice system. From Columbia, NYU, Fordham and Baruch to Pace, Brooklyn Law School, St. Johns and Purchase, these well-established private colleges and those within the SUNY and CUNY system all aggressively confront student and faculty misconduct.

Just as these schools offer students the prospect of a bright future, they also have their own rules and regulations that students and staff must abide to protect the greater campus and maintain the integrity of the institution. Irrespective of the accusation, the consequences of wrongdoing on campus, arrest or otherwise, is arguably greater than elsewhere in the State or City of New York. Not only must an accused deal with the potential of an arraignment, indictment, trial and incarceration, but whether one’s actions rise to the level of a misdemeanor or felony, each school has its own procedures to investigate and “prosecute” violations of their ethics or discrimination policies that create a hostile learning environment. While it would be far better to have a full understanding of Title IX regulations and Dean’s Disciplinary hearings before you allegedly run afoul of the same, there is not time better than the present to grasp the realities and implications of these rules and laws.

Understanding Gender Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Title IX and Other Policies

Every college – Baruch, Binghamton, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, NYU, Pace, St. John’s and Touro, to name a few – has its own policy and handbook on student conduct. Regardless of which infractions are alleged to have occurred, any one of these can land you in an administrative or school hearing. As a preliminary matter, once a complaint is made, an investigation immediately commences. In fact, it may do so without your knowledge or prior warning. Ultimately, you will be given an opportunity to be heard and, even before then, a Title IX Coordinator or other faculty member should reach out to you to provide an overview of what is to come. Even before such a meeting, however, it is incumbent upon you to consult with your legal advisor.

Are all students protected under Title IX or are only certain categories of people subject to this statute such as women, LGBTQ, those with disabilities or are international students? Should you make a statement? If you do, how could that statement be used in a parallel criminal investigation? What are your rights? Does it matter if the accusation involved conduct on or off campus? Is there due process? What is a Responsible Employee and who is required to report misconduct? Who are the fact finders and who ultimately decides on a sentence or sanction should there be a finding against you? If there is a “trial,” can you have your attorney present to combat allegations of sexual harassment, gender violence or discriminatory based behavior? What if the offense you are accused of is one of cheating or ethics? What is the legal standard? Is there a right to appeal? Simply, there are countless “what ifs” waiting to confront you at every turn.

Ultimately it is your decision on how to respond to any allegation, but should you improperly handle these hearings and the investigations you can, and often will, face a suspension or expulsion when the matter is closed. Because you may not be able to escape the embarrassment and life altering ramifications of an adverse resolution or finding, being prepared and knowledgeable, understanding the Title IX processes and procedures, and securing the right counsel is not merely the best, but the only way to protect yourself and the investment you made in your education.

Crimes Committed on College and University Campuses

Most institutions of higher education have their own public safety divisions or units. For lack of a better term, while not the NYPD, these officers make up the “college police.” Some infractions may be mild and when the NYPD is called a student is issued a pink summons. Maybe the offense is only a violation for Disorderly Conduct or Minor in Possession (underage drinking). Alternatively, you may be arrested and fingerprinted for possessing cocaine, molly, a gravity knife or other misdemeanor crime. If you are lucky, or your counsel advocates for a Desk Appearance Ticket, the police will release you after a few hours at the local precinct. That said, you have still been arrested. A criminal case is pending. You will be seeing a judge and arraigned on charges. Compounding matters, unlike many other states, New York does not expunge criminal records. If you are convicted of PL 220.03 (Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance), PL 120.00 (Third Degree Assault), PL 145.00 (Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief), or PL 155.25 (Petit Larceny) for example, the offense will be publicly available for future schools, employers and business associates to see even if you never set foot in jail.

More serious crimes, felony offenses have far graver implications. A felony arrest can lead to an indictment by the Grand Jury and a sentence involving prison. For some crimes incarceration is mandatory. For example, if you have no right to be in a dorm room and you steal someone’s wallet, you could face the charges of Burglary in the Second Degree, a “C” violent felony with a three and one half year mandatory term of incarceration. If you steal even one credit card you could face an “E” felony for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. Too many charges to list here, felonies are devastating to anyone’s future especially a young man or woman studying hard to get through school and make a future for him or herself.

Immediate and Collateral Consequences of Arrests and School Disciplinary Hearings

Outside of being prevented from attending certain classes, being in specific buildings, and adhering to a Stay Away Order for violations of campus rules, you can also be removed from school altogether. Foreign nationals possessing a student visa such as an F1 have further concerns because if they are suspended expelled, their status may be terminated at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing. From a financial standpoint, your school loans are not wiped clean if you are expelled. Instead, you may no longer be in school and be left without the ability to matriculate or receive a diploma.

Whether you have a misdemeanor or felony consisting of a fake identification, breaking a roommate’s cell phone, punching a fellow student in the eye, or taking unwanted pictures of a person’s intimate body parts, you are facing serious consequences and ramifications at a disciplinary or Title IX hearing. Do not be naïve nor foolish even if your alleged wrongdoing does not raise to this level and involvement in the criminal justice system. Being intoxicated or young will not be a shield from your school’s own policies that broadly protect your classmates from unwanted sexual advances, harassment or violence. From the arrest process to immigration consequences of a conviction, understand the law and your rights before compounding an already dire situation.

Criminal Lawyers, School Hearing Attorneys & Former Manhattan Prosecutors

One simple mistake can brand you for life. One regrettable moment in time can lead to the decimation of your college career as well as certain career paths. Even worse, these missteps can land you in jail and with a criminal record. Whether you are accused of criminal conduct or “merely” a violation of college or university policy, treat the matters the same. Work with your attorney to identify witnesses, locate corroborative evidence and even implement a mitigation defense. Do not be misguided, naïve or careless. Just because there may not be a threat of an arrest, a Title IX hearing or university disciplinary investigation, whether your accusation or victimization relates to sexual violence, sexual abuse, gender-based harassment, sexual harassment or some other conduct, every allegation deserves equal and immediate attention. Our legal advisors and former Manhattan prosecutors have not only protected both victims and the accused throughout New York State an in neighboring states far beyond our borders, we stand ready to protect you and your future.

Call our student attorneys, disciplinary hearing lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

New York Criminal Lawyer Blog - Title IX Investigations and Hearings
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