Last Updated on July 9, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
When college issues arise, handling them can be difficult. Student issues can range from minor discipline matters to termination from a major or expulsion from the entire university.
When postsecondary problems develop, a student should look to the college’s policies for potential breaches and to try to fix the issues at hand.
Postsecondary Policies Are Important
College policies govern student matters and the processes and procedures to be followed by a disgruntled student within a university.
These policies are typically the main guide for a student with an academic, discipline, discrimination, harassment or other problem in their college. Relevant policies are typically outlined in the college and major catalogs, website, student contracts, handouts and correspondence with the university.
Where Policies Really Matter
College policies matter, perhaps most when a student is facing suspension or expulsion from a postsecondary institution. Upon notification of an allegation, a student needs to learn everything they can about the college policies so they can fight the allegations.
For example, did the student’s actions actually breach the college policy prohibiting that conduct or not? Did the college meet its notification mandates and other requirements outlined in their own policies?
When fighting discipline, a student may be able to prevail if they find the college breached their rights as outlined in the college handbook or online. As such, a student must know and use all policy breaches or missteps by the university to their advantage.
Many Students Just Take the Punishment
Sadly, it is not uncommon for busy college students to simply “take” the punishment issued, such as probation, suspension or expulsion, whether warranted or not.
This lack of student opposition can make colleges lazy when they impose student punishment. As a result, the discipline may be poorly supported or the process may have breached college policies. This college laziness can be advantageous for the student, as sometimes multiple missteps can be found which can be used to their advantage.
Postsecondary Hearing Procedures and Rules Outlined in Policy
Potential college hearings, appeals, and their related rules will usually be outlined in college policies, including policies on:
1) Discipline hearings
2) Appeals of discipline hearing outcomes
3) Grade appeal hearings
4) Grievance complaints (to complain about an unfair situation or problematic individual)
5) Records correction hearing (usually mandated per FERPA- the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act).
6) Appeals of dismissal from major, program, or degree
Don’t Be Intimidated by Bloated Universities
Students should not be intimidated by the behemoth that most colleges are, with their shiny buildings and hundreds of staff.
A university student can take them on by learning the policies and applying themselves vigorously to the situation. If breaches by the college staff or otherwise exist, use the college breaches against them.
Otherwise, the student’s unfair exclusion, harassment, or academic issues may never be resolved.
Student lawyer Michelle Ball can assist college and university students throughout California. As an education attorney in Sacramento, she can help students in Davis, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Roseville, Stockton, Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, Riverside, Merced, Fresno and many other towns.