College and University Discipline

College and University Discipline

Rankin & Sultan provides representation to university and high school students accused of violating institutional codes of conduct. We have represented students charged with anything that could put a student in contact with the disciplinary process, from plagiarism to sexual assault and other serious crimes.  This is becoming an increasingly important part of our practice as colleges and universities are under political pressure to treat their accused students as criminals and to subject them to catastrophic sanctions on flimsy evidence without affording them basic due process.  

College and university disciplinary proceedings vary tremendously from school to school. Different schools have different policies regarding what evidence the accused can present, access to witnesses and information from the accuser, who is entitled to be present at a hearing, and even whether there is to be a hearing at all!  Rankin & Sultan guides our clients through this complex and perilous thicket.  At Rankin & Sultan, we approach college and university disciplinary proceedings much like a criminal case. We will investigate the charges, interview witnesses, and fight to rebut false allegations through all available means.   Where it is in our client’s best interest to admit that some violation of rules has occurred, Rankin & Sultan seeks to minimize the collateral consequences of an adverse decision, especially when it affects our client’s financial aid package or student visa.

In some cases, students are accused of misconduct which is criminal in nature. Thus, they face both the institutional disciplinary process and actual or potential criminal charges simultaneously. This is a thorny thicket, full of pitfalls, so every step needs to be carefully analyzed and options weighed. Students who agree to be interviewed as part of the disciplinary process may find their words used against them in a criminal prosecution. Students who refuse to be interviewed may suffer an adverse inference and adverse findings in the disciplinary case.  In these perilous circumstances, investigation must proceed rapidly so informed tactical decisions can be made. If you or a family member are in this predicament, experienced, knowledgeable counsel must be consulted as quickly as possible. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.

If you have been accused of a professional or disciplinary violation or convicted of a sex offense or are eligible for a parole hearing, you need to get legal advice as soon as possible. Far too often, unrepresented individuals trying to help themselves inflict irreparable harm instead, especially where there is a coinciding criminal case or statutory time limits on any avenue of relief. Call us at (617) 720-0011 or e-mail us at office@rankin-sultan.com for a free initial consultation.