KNOW YOUR STUDENT RIGHTS
Understanding your rights and what you are entitled to as a student at a college or university can be bewildering. Your rights are outlined by campus policies, which are binding contracts in most states. This means that the school must follow its own policies or it breaches its contracts with you. You may also have additional civil rights under federal or state laws.
First Amendment issues and free speech protections have received more attention on college campuses recently. Headlines have exploded into the national news about conflicts between students demanding the right to protest controversial speakers and others who insist that these speakers must receive protection from demonstrating students.
You also have a right against defamation, the intentional spread of false statements about you that hurt your reputation. Defamation can interfere with your future career and cause you emotional distress.
Defamation claims are becoming more common. Students falsely accused can recover damages from their schools. For example, Sacred Heart University paid a $1 million settlement in 2017 to a man wrongly named as a suspect in the sexual assault of a student on campus.
Students have the right to be represented by legal counsel in a variety of campus issues beyond alleged violations of Title IX rules. Even if your school will not allow you to be represented in university proceedings by an attorney, you can still benefit from the advice of counsel. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, help you craft statements, and prepare for interviews with university administrators.
COLLEGE FACULTY AND STAFF
College employees also have rights under campus policies as well as under federal and state laws.
As a college employee, you are protected against discrimination. You are entitled to the protections of Title IX as well as Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, or national origin. If you’re over 40 years of age, you are also protected from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, benefits, and compensation.
When discrimination does occur, it is usually a breach of your employment contract as well.
If you believe your rights have been violated at a college or university, contact us today. Allen Law will analyze your claim and help you determine if you have a viable case.