This guide is modeled on Illinois State University’s “Disciplinary Guide for Attorneys.” Adapted with permission of Illinois State University.
If you have been retained by a Rutgers student to provide assistance in a disciplinary matter, this guide will provide you with important information about the University Code of Student Conduct (UCSC) and your role in the Rutgers disciplinary process. Please keep in mind that the University disciplinary system is very different from the civil or criminal judicial system. The University’s process is not adversarial; its purpose is to educate the student and contribute to his or her ethical growth.
The General Order on Judicial Standards of Procedures and Substance of Student Discipline in Tax Supported Institutions of Education (44F.R.D. (142) (W.D. Mo.)) states: “ … The attempted analogy of student discipline to criminal proceedings against juveniles and adults is not sound. The nature and proceedings of the (campus) disciplinary process … should not be required to conform to federal processes of criminal law, which are far from perfect, and designed for circumstances and ends unrelated to the academic community.”
Students are expected to act as their own advocates throughout the disciplinary process. Some students may choose to hire an attorney, but the attorney’s role is limited to consultation. He or she may be present during all proceedings as a support person, but cannot address Hearing Officers or Hearing Boards, speak in University Hearings or Disciplinary Conferences, or question witnesses. Students do not have a Constitutional right to active legal representation in university disciplinary cases (see Hart v. Ferris State 557 F. Supp. 1379, 1386-88 (W.D. Mich, 1983).
The complaint party and the accused student are both entitled to the assistance of a Campus Adviser, a member of the University community who can help the complainant or respondent prepare his or case and navigate the disciplinary system. The Office of Student Conduct maintains a list of advisers who have been trained in the disciplinary system.