In the state of Florida, there are 12 universities that are part of the State University System of Florida, 28 public community colleges and state colleges in the Florida College System, and numerous other private, religious, and trade or technical institutions all over the state. Many of these schools have internal disciplinary procedures for alleged violations of student codes of conduct. Certain violations can have severe consequences on a student’s academic record.
When an institution of higher learning becomes aware of possible student misconduct, it will generally schedule some sort of hearing in order to determine the appropriate measure of discipline for the student. Some examples of the types of offenses that commonly lead to these types of hearings include:
- Criminal mischief
- Disorderly conduct
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Illegal drug use or possession
- Other violations of federal law, state law, or local ordinances
- Other violations of student conduct codes
- Possession of fake ID
- Possession of marijuana
- Property damage
- Sex offenses
- Underage possession of alcohol
- Weapons or firearms charges
The possible punishments that may result from these hearings vary by institution, but many can have dramatic effects on a student’s academic standing. Some of the possible consequences may include:
- Warning – A student may have a warning placed in his or her file, but the offense may not be included in the student’s permanent record or reported to other parties.
- Reprimand – A reprimanded student may be referred to a counseling or educational program, successful completion of which can prevent the misconduct from being reflected in his or her permanent record.
- Probation – A student on probation may be ineligible to participate in certain school programs, functions, or activities for a period of time or have certain other restrictions levied, although the probation may not be reflected in his or her permanent record.
- Suspension – A suspended student is removed from the educational institution for a specific period of time, and the suspension becomes part of his or her permanent record.
- Expulsion – An expelled student is often permanently removed from the educational institution, and the expulsion becomes part of his or her permanent record.
Most institutions limit attorneys for students to act only as “advisors,” meaning that lawyers cannot verbally present cases. However, they can review records, help prepare questions for witnesses, and offer assistance to the students throughout the entire disciplinary hearing process.