October 19, 2020
If you must go before your college’s disciplinary board due to a criminal charge, you still have some basic rights that you should assert. The college cannot violate your rights or deny you them.
What rights you have depends on whether you attend a public or private college. According to FIRE, you have far more rights at a public school than at a private one because public schools are government organizations that must follow the U.S. Constitution.
Public School Rights
In general, you have the same rights in front of the disciplinary board as you would in front of a judge in court. The board must provide you with due process by standardizing hearings so they all occur in the same general way for everyone.
If you face suspension or the board may kick you out of school, then you have the right to present your side of the situation, to know what charges you face and to hear the college’s evidence. For serious cases, you also may have the right to an attorney.
Private School Rights
Private schools are a different situation because they do receive government funding and individuals or companies own them. They do not have to provide you with due process. The good news is that they usually have a contract in place to cover such situations and therefore the contract binds them to handle hearings in a specific way.
In this case, instead of the Constitution governing things, contract law does. It may be easier to fight against contract law violations because they are more black and white than the constitutional rights afforded to you at a private school.