Court_edited.jpg

STUDENT STORIES

Academic Misconduct

 

Student with one year left to graduate, third academic offense, facing one year suspension 

Our client was accused of academic misconduct at the end of the fall semester before his last year in school. As this was his third academic misconduct offense, our client was facing the possibility of a one-year suspension from his public university. Our client received a letter informing him that his suspension would begin immediately, i.e., in the following spring semester, with an opportunity to appeal. Our team read the university’s code of conduct rules and identified a technicality that allowed our client to continue attending classes during the appeal process. The appeal did not occur until two months after the spring semester already began. Without our team’s thorough reading and understanding of the university’s rules and code of conduct, our client would have been a month behind other students. Due to a violation of his due process rights, our client had the negative notation on his transcript removed, and the academic violation was erased from his student record. 

Small Public Research University, Rocky Mountains Area 

Student accused of academic dishonesty twice in one semester, both instances reversed 

Our client was found in violation of his university’s student code of conduct late into the fall semester of the final year of his undergraduate career. Upon receiving notice of our client’s suspension, we worked with him to appeal the severity of the sanction based on his ADA-based disability, which was a significant factor for his behavior. Working closely with our client’s family, we successfully reduced his sanction, and our client was still eligible to graduate after the spring semester. In his spring semester, there was a second finding of academic dishonesty, which was a more difficult fight. But we were resilient and persistent about ensuring that the university would accommodate our client’s disability according to the ADA and section 504 laws. Ultimately, our client was found not guilty of this second honor code violation, and he had the opportunity to graduate with the rest of his class. 

Small Private Liberal Arts College, Southeastern US 

Three levels of appeal to obtain justice for an honest mistake 

An international student was facing academic discipline and dismissal from her nursing program for allegedly falsifying her clinical hours. Our client accurately reported her meetings with her preceptor as clinical hours according to her preceptor’s instructions. However, as this was not according to the university’s policy, our client was accused of violating the student code of conduct. She was near the end of her nursing program and only needed one more clinical rotation to graduate when the school dismissed her. We worked with our client through three levels of appeal until we successfully proved the school’s responsibility for our client’s inaccurate clinical hours. She reported the meetings as clinical hours in good faith and without any unethical intent. Our perseverance and dedication through the multiple appeals ended in success for our client, who was able to return to the program, finish her clinical rotation, and graduate. 

 Small Public University, Southeastern US 

Two students accused of cheating, only took one month to overturn the dismissal 

Our clients were accused of academic misconduct on a nursing school exam. The two students studied together every day. For this particular exam, one of the students received approval to take the exam early. After completing the exam, she studied with her usual study partner, who had not yet taken the exam. However, neither student discussed the subject of the exam that one of them had already completed. The school accused both students of academic dishonesty, gave both students a grade of zero on the exam, and dismissed both students from the nursing program. Over the span of a month, we helped both students to write the memos and letters the school required to consider their case. Both students had their dismissals overturned, their grades reinstated, and returned to the nursing program. 

Small Private University, Midwestern US 

International student at risk of deportation after academic misconduct charges 

Our client was an international student, pursuing her doctorate degree while also pursuing a master’s degree. As an international student, our client was an English-Language Learner and had no previous experience with the citation format required by the school. She received allegations of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) and falsification of her credentials via social media. Having already received two previous academic misconduct charges, our client was facing dismissal from her program and the possible revocation of her student visa. Over the course of six months, we worked with our client to clarify the situation and ensure that she would not lose her academic progress nor her visa. We identified key details in the student handbook which demonstrated that our client did not self-plagiarize because she had explicit permission to use her coursework toward completing her thesis. We also worked with the relevant committee to provide our client with the necessary instruction and support to remediate any citation issues from other plagiarism charges. Our client received her desired outcome so she could continue to pursue her doctoral and master’s degrees. 

Small Private Graduate Research University, Western US 

Academic Failure 

Physician assistant program student quickly dismissed, but quickly overturned 

The university dismissed our client from the physician assistant studies program with little notice to our client. Our client felt the effects of COVID-19 when she began her program with online classes, isolation, and financial hardships. Her first year in the program was full of difficulties which affected her academic success. After returning to in-person learning, her grades and finances both improved. Despite having previously been told she would only be on academic probation, our client was informed that instead she would be dismissed from the program. We pushed the school to find an alternative consequence for her academic failure, such as tuition reimbursement or immediate readmission to the program. Our responsive team worked quickly to ensure that our client would not suffer loss of finances, time, or education due to an overwhelming situation. In the end, our client was readmitted to her physician assistant studies program and received tuition reimbursement payment via credit for the following academic year. 

Small Private Medical School, Northeastern US 

Student dismissed then faces conflict of interest in appeal but receives a second chance 

The assistant dean of the audiology doctoral program incorrectly and inappropriately gave our client a failing grade in a clinical class, despite positive recommendations from the instructors who worked most closely with the students. Our client received no warning about his academic status, especially when this failing grade put his position in the program in jeopardy. The committee reviewing his appeal included the husband of the assistant dean, whose decision was on appeal. Our client received a new hearing based on the clear conflict of interest. We also advised our client to receive a new diagnosis for his learning disability, which had not been previously reported to the school. With his diagnosis for an ADA-based disability, we were able to form a stronger case for our client to demonstrate his new approach to learning, legitimizing his readmission and his desire to succeed if readmitted. Our work with the client allowed him the opportunity for a second chance. 

Small Private University, Northeastern US

 

Medical school student in need of support, proves his potential 

After a pattern of academic probation and successful remediation, our client continued to struggle in his academics. The medical school dismissed our client after a year and a half for failure to make academic progress. The school’s greatest concern was that our client was not prepared to receive his medical board certification. Prior to medical school, our client had never failed a class. But when he no longer had access to the necessary medications to treat his ADA-based disability, his academic performance in medical school suffered. We guided our client through the appeal process and read through the student handbook where we found that he could meet with the president of the school in a one-on-one interview. We prepared our client for the interview so he could demonstrate his clear ability to be successful as a medical professional with the right support. With a successful appeal, our client returned to school and continued on the track to passing his medical board certification. 

Small Private Medical School, Southeastern US 

Life-long dream of dentistry dismissed, but restored in less than one month 

Our client grew up in a family of dentists and had developed a long-time dream of becoming a dentist as well. Before dental school, he spent time working in his extended family’s dentist office where his desire to pursue dentistry deepened. He chose to attend the alma mater of several members of his family. But by the end of his second year, our client had received three failing grades which led to his dismissal from dentistry school. We encouraged our client to consult with a doctor for a possible diagnosis for an ADA-based disability. After our client received a proper diagnosis and a prescription for the necessary medication, we worked with him to appeal his dismissal. Within less than a month, our client met with the dean of the school and demonstrated his potential to succeed with the right support. 

Dental School at Small Public University, Southwestern US 

A master’s degree and her health both at risk, but both out of the student’s control

Our client endured a flood of health complications over a period of six months. She had to manage her declining health while recovering from surgery and completing her coursework for her master’s degree program. Many members of the faculty were understanding and did their best to accommodate her circumstances. But she faced resistance from a few professors, resulting in unwarranted failing grades rather than the appropriate “Incomplete” grade. We communicated with the school about her struggle to juggle her health, her grades, and job-searching. We explained to the school our client’s difficulties as well as her diligent efforts to submit assignments on time or as soon as possible given her circumstances. After several communications between the school and our client, with our team on her side, our client received her “Incompletes.” Our client successfully completed the necessary coursework to finish her degree and begin her new job. 

Large Public University, Southeastern US 

K-12

Student athlete suspended based on unsupported claims and improper procedure 

During the school prom, our client had been accused of vaping in the bathroom. But the school principal and the witness to the incident both agreed they did not see our client vaping, yet our client received five days of out-of-school suspension. Our client was an exceptional student who participated in several honorable extracurriculars and was on track to graduate early. The school committed several due process violations in handling the charges against our client and the following appeals. We helped our client express to the school board the inappropriateness of the school’s actions regarding the incident and the process for assigning our client’s suspension. After the school board appeal hearing, the superintendent agreed that the school’s administrators failed to follow the district’s requirements and standards to implement the suspension. The board of education also agreed with our request that the out-of-school suspension be expunged from our client’s student records. 

Small Senior High School, Northeastern US 

Title IX 

Female victim of non-consensual sexual intercourse needed a trustworthy advisor and advocate 

 

Our client was a victim of non-consensual sexual intercourse during the first year of her undergraduate career. She suffered a traumatic experience and needed someone by her side to support her in the legal process, especially someone who could take into consideration her sensitive situation. We took the time to establish a sense of trust and rapport with our client for her comfort but also to show her that her feelings and concerns were valid. During the standard Title IX investigation process, we worked closely with her to prepare her for interviews and hearings. We made sure she fully understood the details of the investigation and her case, including the no-contact order and possible criminal charges she may wish to pursue. Throughout the entire process we reassured her and her parents that we would be sensitive but determined in pushing toward the desired outcome. Despite difficulties during the investigation process, the end result was in our client’s favor. The school sanctioned the responsible male student and our client could continue her education without having to further retell or relive her traumatic experience. 

Small Private University, Northeastern US