UCF Code of Conduct Defense Lawyers
If you’re a college student who’s been accused of breaching school rules or regulations, you’re probably nervous about what this means for your future. At the University of Central Florida, a violation of the school code of conduct can lead to severe penalties such as suspension, expulsion, and restitution.
It’s not uncommon for a college student to overlook the severity of a conduct violation and think they can handle the hearing process alone. No matter how minor the complaint may seem, it’s important that you seek legal advice from an experienced defense attorney. An expert lawyer who understands college hearings will be able to help you navigate UCF’s specific policies, practices, rules, and regulations. Trusted legal counsel can prevent you from wasting the years of hard work and tens of thousands of dollars you’ve dedicated to your education. Being extremely well-prepared for your hearing is the first step to a successful defense.
What Is the University of Central Florida Student Code of Conduct?
The goal of UCF’s student code of conduct, according to its website, is the following:
“The goal of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity is to educate students, faculty and staff on community responsibilities and behavioral standards and assign purposeful sanctions that support personal growth and development, while promoting a safe and inclusive atmosphere conducive to student success.”
The document outlines and defines the student rules and regulations, the conduct review progression, student rights, the appeals process, and the consequences for violating terms.
Why Is It Important to Have a Student Code of Conduct?
The University of Central Florida, as with most any school, hopes that students live and work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect that’s conducive to both personal and academic growth. A code of conduct is meant to support a safe, healthy, and inclusive campus community where students act with honesty, integrity, civility, and respect. If there’s conduct that hinders these goals, disciplinary action will ensure the safety and protection of students, teachers, and school authority and create an atmosphere that allows the school to achieve its mission.
What Are the Grounds for Discipline at the University of Central Florida?
The code of conduct specifies that the college can impose discipline for violating any school policies or campus regulations. This includes:
- Academic misconduct: Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty
- Disruptive content: Any act that obstructs orderly conduct at the school, deliberately impedes the flow of traffic, or involves misusing school equipment
- Harmful behavior: Imposing physical harm or participating in any form of verbal, digital, or written abuse or engaging in discriminatory harassment, bullying, and stalking
- Sex-based misconduct: This includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, obscene or indecent behavior, child pornography, and sexual exploitation
- Hazing: Any situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of another student for the purpose of intimidation
- Alcoholic beverage violation: Possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages on campus
- Possession of weapons or dangerous material: Using or storing weapons or fireworks on UCF grounds
- Larceny and property damage: Property damage, theft, or tampering
In total, the UCF student code of conduct lists 20 grounds for discipline, many of which have several subsections. You can read about the specifics of each violation on the school website.
How Does the Disciplinary Process Operate at The University of Central Florida?
After a complaint has been filed against the suspected offender, the Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI) will review the report. The case is assigned to a SCAI staff member who writes an official report and sends it to the charged student indicating the alleged rule violation and information regarding a required preliminary conference. At the conference, the student will receive information regarding the Student Conduct Review Process and be provided with a chance to stipulate the alleged incident.
Next, SCAI will recommend a resolution, which could lead to the following options:
- Case dismissal: The case could be dismissed if not enough evidence is present or if the action claimed as misconduct is not a violation of the rules of conduct.
- Mediation: Depending on the nature and severity of the alleged violation, SCAI may recommend formal mediation through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities as an alternative to disciplinary action.
- Informal hearing: If the violation doesn’t warrant a formal hearing, SCAI will recommend an informal hearing. At this point, the defendant can accept responsibility for the imposed violation and consent to discipline. This can include a warning, probation, deferred suspension, or educational sanctions. If the student agrees to the disciplinary action, the case is closed and there is no chance for an appeal.
- Formal hearing: If the case isn’t resolved at the informal hearing, it will move to a formal hearing and the student will choose whether they prefer a panel or an administrative hearing. For panel hearings, a group of people randomly selected by SCAI from the Student Conduct Board will make recommendations to SCAI as to whether or not the student is in violation of the code of conduct. An administrative hearing will consist of one faculty or staff member selected by SCAI from the Student Conduct Board. Both the complainant and respondent will have equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other information during this process.
The defendant has the right to an advisor or support person throughout the investigative and student conduct review process. However, this person cannot speak on behalf of the respondent or address the hearing body or witnesses directly.
While a professional attorney isn’t permitted to represent you at the disciplinary conference, they’ll be able to provide you with expert guidance and advice throughout the course of your case. Having someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of code of conduct defense will help you get the best possible result.
What Are the Consequences of Breaking the University of Central Florida’s Code of Conduct?
If found in violation of the code of conduct, there are ten different kinds of punitive and educational sanctions that a student could face. Below are a few examples. The rest can be found on the school website.
- Warning: An official warning that the student’s behavior violates of the code of conduct
- Probation: A period of time designated by SCAI during which any other violation of the code would result in a suspension or expulsion from the school
- Suspension: During the suspension period, a student may not be enrolled in classes or participate in university-related activities
- Expulsion: A sanction which removes the student from the individual’s academic program and permanently separates them from the university without the opportunity to graduate
In addition, there are educational sanctions that may include reflective research papers, classes, seminars, and community service.
How Can You Appeal the Imposed Discipline?
If you wish to appeal any disciplinary action following the formal hearing, the alleged offender must provide a written letter to the appellate officer within 10 business days after the date the student was notified of the decision by SCAI. A student can appeal the findings or imposed discipline based on irregularities in fairness, discovery of new and significant information, or extraordinarily disproportionate sanctions. If the appellate officer determines that there are significant grounds for appeal, they may alter the sanctions or return the case for a new hearing.
Contact the Expert Code of Conduct Defense Lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm
If you’re a college student who’s facing a conduct or academic violation hearing, consider contacting the code of conduct defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm. Our team has experience helping students who are facing disciplinary action and will work to help ensure that you receive all the rights afforded to you. Without adequate representation, you could face permanent damage to your academic and future professional career. It’s imperative to call an experienced attorney immediately upon receiving notice of the disciplinary action from the school in order to present the best possible defense against the allegations.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team is here to fight for your rights. To speak with a code of conduct defense lawyer, give us a call or complete our online contact form today.