Criminal charges can lead to severe consequences, but if you are a college student, the charges can also affect your standing with your academic institution. Because of BB&C’s proximity to Purdue University, we often work with students who face a two-pronged attack from the State and the university. Here’s what to expect if you are a student facing the disciplinary process.
Why you can face both criminal charges and action from the university
Educational institutions maintain their own rules and code of conduct and have the power to discipline students for various offenses. Regardless of whether an act occurs on or off campus, if it seriously threatens Purdue’s ability to maintain its facilities, or if it seriously threatens a person or property of the academic community, the university can punish you. Even a civil liability—rather than a criminal charge—can result in a disciplinary proceeding. Keep in mind that international students and foreign nationals—academics or other employees of the university—can also face immigration consequences, which we discuss in this blog post about crimmigration.
Actions that subject you to discipline
There is a wide array of acts that can subject you to disciplinary sanctions. The list includes, but is not limited to:
- physical abuse of any person;
- conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any other person, whether or not the act occurs on university property;
- use, possession, or distribution of narcotics or dangerous drugs; and
- lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression on university property or in connection with a university activity.
What the disciplinary process looks like
The process begins when an individual files a complaint against a student suspected of violating university regulations. The university issues a written notice of charges and conducts a hearing. The most serious form of hearing is conducted by the Purdue Community Standards Board, which comprises three students, one faculty member, and one administrative staff member. Hearings conducted by the board are reserved for the most severe offenses, and expulsion from the university is possible.
It’s important to note that disciplinary proceedings do not wait for formal criminal charges, and they adhere to a different procedure than traditional criminal courts. In other words, Purdue has statutory authority from the state to govern the conduct of students. It takes only a minimum amount of evidence to determine the student committed the alleged acts. Also, there are no rules of evidence or protection on what type of evidence is presented to the board.
You are able to speak on your behalf, however, and you are allowed to present witnesses. You also are allowed to choose one advisor. BB&C attorney Kyle Cray can serve this role, working with you to offer constructive guidance. He also can help you appeal a disciplinary sanction if there is evidence the university did not follow established procedure, if the sanction is grossly disproportionate to the offense, or if significant new information related to the case is discovered that was not available at the time of the initial hearing.
It is imperative that students who face disciplinary proceedings seek counsel. BB&C has experience with Purdue University’s disciplinary process, and we can help you navigate the spectrum of university discipline. For more information, contact Kyle Cray at 765-742-9066.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.