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When a college student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, is charged with a crime, the stakes are high. Not only will the student face criminal charges in court, but the university may also initiate disciplinary action against the student. The criminal case and the disciplinary action can have long-lasting consequences on the student’s future educational opportunities and hiring a student defense attorney in Tallahassee is critical.
FSU College Students – What to Know as a Student on Campus
Whether you are a new or returning student at Florida State University, it’s imperative you have a full understanding of where to go for help in the case of an emergency. College is an exciting time in a young person’s career. However, bad things can still occur even during the most stimulating years of your life. Parties, sporting events, and constant interactions with new people can sometimes lead to unfortunate events. Being aware of FSU’s rules, and what happens if these rules are violated, are essential to your time as a student.
The FSU Student Conduct Code
FSU’s Student Conduct Code highlights the commitment to the community on campus which exercises the responsible engagement of students. It’s not only a document consistent with the Seminole Creed but it helps students balance their pursuit of education and exploration with consideration of the impact their behavior has on themselves and others.
The Conduct Code goes over specific terms when addressing students who have violated any of the codes on-campus. For instance, the term “on-campus” would mean all buildings, land, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used or controlled by FSU. The term “student” refers to any individual meeting one of the four following requirements:
Admitted – The student is admitted to FSU and is present on campus for the purpose of participating in any course, program, or activity leading to enrollment.
Enrolled – The student is enrolled in any credit-bearing course or program offered by FSU at the time the alleged violation(s) occurred.
Active Student – The student is enrolled and continues association with FSU to complete a course or program in which the student was enrolled. “Active” status is enforced and determined by the Registrar’s Office.
Dual Enrollment – The student is enrolled in credit-bearing courses on a dual-enrollment basis.
Values and Moral Standards
Presented by FSU, the Values and Moral Standards document states, “The University is a compassionate community. In its treatment of students, it recognizes the wisdom both of letting students experience the consequences of their actions and providing the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that can overcome past difficulties.”
As an FSU student, thanks to a recent bill signed into law by Governor DeSantis, you are now entitled to stronger due process rights than before. These rights have an important impact during the university’s disciplinary hearing process in determining if any alleged violations occurred. Due Process rights are based on principles of fairness, under the amended Fla. Stat. § 1006.60, they dictate that students must have at a minimum the following rights:
The right to timely Written Notice.
The Institution/University must include within the timely written notice:
Citation to the specific provision of the code of conduct at issue.
Process used in determining whether a violation occurred.
Any associated rights of the student or student organization.
Date, time, and location of the disciplinary proceeding.
Notice must be delivered at least 7 business days before the disciplinary proceeding to be considered timely.
This notice may be delivered to the student’s institutional email address or the student organization’s email address; and
For students under 18, the parent’s email address
The student or student organization must receive at least 5 business days before the disciplinary proceeding:
A list of all known witnesses who have provided, or will provide, information against them.
All known information relating to the allegation, including both inculpatory and exculpatory information.
The right to a presumption that no violation occurred
The institution carries the burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a violation took place.
Preponderance of the evidence is normally met when the party carrying the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that their claim is true.
The right to an impartial hearing officer
The right against self-incrimination and to remain silent
The right to present relevant information and question witnesses
The right to an advisor or advocate, who may not serve in any other role
The right to have an advisor, advocate, or legal representative (like an attorney) at the student’s or student organization’s own expense throughout formal and informal proceedings.
The right to appeal the final decision of the hearing officer, or any committee or panel.
The right to an accurate and complete record of every proceeding.
And the right to be notified through the code of conduct of the institution’s time limit for charging them with violations, and the circumstances under which the time limit may be extended or waived.
Due to the amendments to Fla. Stat. § 1006.60, FSU revised their Student Conduct Code and Student Organization Conduct Code (both referenced as “Code”) to comply with the Bill after it was enacted. While FSU provides all the minimum requirements of the Bill, they do grant students a few additional rights. Namely, the right for hearings to be conducted in private and how some of the Due Process rights are adjudicated.
Helpful Information to Keep You Safe on Campus
If you have witnessed a crime on campus, have witnessed a crime with another student, or if you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime, it is of utter importance that you contact an attorney. However, before doing that, it is also important to know who you can immediately contact on campus. Knowing who can help you in the worst-case scenarios on a college campus is important to keep students safe.
Tallahassee’s main university, FSU, has multiple contacts you can get connected within case of an emergency or if a crime has been committed. If you need to report an incident, there are ways to do so in a confidential manner. They also provide information on who to contact if you need advice or need to talk to someone about an incident. As a student, you can find out ways to support someone. Even if something has happened and you are unsure what to do, they have information to help you navigate the unknown.
If you have experienced a traumatic event on campus, a normal emotional response is to be in shock. Try reaching out to a confidential source, time is of the essence when dealing with a crime of sexual battery. Do not question the event or consider yourself at fault. Accept whatever feelings you have and move in the direction to act. Although it may seem difficult to reach out, it is important to get in contact with someone who can help. Here are some of FSU’s campus resources that are there to assist you in a time of need:
Students can contact (850)644-1234 to reach the campus police. It is a non-confidential line if you are worried about anonymity.
FSU Victim Advocate Program
The victim advocate program can be reached at (850)644-7161 24/7, including holidays. You can also text them at (850)756-4320.
University Counseling Center
Students can call (850)644-TALK (8255) and reach a 24-hour hotline, and the university offers evaluations for students on Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD).
SMART (Students Making Alcohol and Other Drug Responsibility Theirs) presents the legal and personal consequences of substance abuse and can be reached at (850) 644-8871.
FSU also provides information on Crime Prevention Resources. This includes, but is not limited to Active Shooter Training, Campus Safety and Fire Report, Rape Aggression Defense Training, and Speak Up and Stand Out. For additional contact information, check out FSU’s Know More page on their website.
Disciplinary Hearings for Alleged Violations of FSU Students
Disciplinary hearings can involve an accusation of wrongdoing even if no arrest was made. FSU’s student conduct proceedings can also occur prior to, alongside with, or following criminal or civil proceedings. The decisions of either civil or criminal proceedings do not bind FSU’s student conduct proceedings. Note, it’s not necessarily required that the alleged misconduct occurred on campus. At FSU, disciplinary hearings can involve any of the following:
Criminal charges regardless of whether the offense occurred on-campus or off-campus
Non-criminal violations of the student code
Violations of the academic honor code
Violations of residence hall regulations
The process starts with (1) any report submitted through a secure University reporting function, (2) receipt of a police report, or (3) receipt of a signed statement to an appropriate Student Conduct Authority. It’s important to note, any report involving alleged sexual misconduct gets reported to the appropriate Title IX authority for investigation.
Outcome of the Proceedings
The disciplinary action taken against a student at Florida State University (FSU) can result in some or a combination of the following:
Reprimand (written or verbal).
Parental Notification Letter.
Service Hours – completion of tasks under the supervision of a University department or outside agency.
Educational Activities – attendance at educational programs, interviews with appropriate officials, planning and implementing educational programs, or other educational activities.
Counseling Assessment – referral for assessment at a counseling center for alcohol/drug dependence, general mental health, or other counseling issues.
Restitution only in cases involving University property. Restitution must be submitted to the appropriate University department in a manner that is approved by that University department.
Disciplinary Probation – During this probation, any further violation of the Student Conduct Code will place your status with the University in jeopardy. If you are found “responsible” for another violation of the Code during the period of Disciplinary Probation, serious consideration will be given to imposing an outcome of Suspension or Expulsion from the University.
Change in University Housing assignment.
Exclusion (either temporary or permanent) from University Housing.
Suspension – separation from the university for a specified period, not to exceed two years. This may include restricted access to campus and/or other specified activities.
Expulsion – separation from the University without the possibility of readmission. This may include restricted access to campus and/or other specified activities.
Withholding of diplomas, transcripts, or other records.
Transcript Notations – a written notation indicating that disciplinary action was taken.
Restrictions on contact with specified people.
Any of the above actions taken by FSU can be very expensive, both for the student and their parents.
Many of these allegations are investigated by officers with the Florida State University Police Department (FSUPD). We are familiar with the standard operating procedures that these officers must follow. We can help the student invoke their right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney represent them at every stage of the case, including in the courtroom and at the disciplinary hearing.
Undergraduate and graduate students at Florida State University (FSU) should immediately contact an attorney if they are charged with a crime or told that disciplinary action will be brought against them. The criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law are experienced in representing FSU students charged with the following types of criminal offenses:
With more than sixty-seven (67) sworn law enforcement officers, the Florida State University Police Department (FSUPD) takes a proactive approach to law enforcement to protect students, staff, and visitors at the campus in Tallahassee and Panama City. As the third-largest law enforcement agency in Leon County, the FSUPD provides 24-hour protection for more than 40,000 students, faculty, and staff across the 450-acre Tallahassee campus. Its jurisdiction also includes facilities of the university in outlying areas, such as properties within Innovation Park and the Capital District.
830 West Jefferson St.
PO Box 3064215
Tallahassee FL, 32306 (850) 644-1234
Florida State University Student Conduct Code
The code appears in State of Florida Administrative Code FSU-ER15-3. The code outlines the rights, offenses, procedures, and policies that are upheld by FSU’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The code was last updated in June of 2016.
FSU Student Conduct Hearings Have Own Set of Rules
Read a news article from the Tallahassee Democrat about Florida State University’s system for determining whether a student has violated its code of conduct which is very different from what defendants in criminal cases encounter in the courtroom. The article explains why the standard of proof is lower and why the accused doesn’t always get to face the accuser during cross-examination.
Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney for FSU College Students
College is supposed to be some of the best four years of your life. Sometimes the party gets out of hand. Underage possession is one of the more common charges college students face. If you get caught while underage drinking in a dorm, or out at Potbelly’s on Macomb Street, you will face more than just an early-ended night. Any violation, whether on or off-campus, is usually prosecuted by the Dean of Students under the FSU Student Conduct Code. This can result in multiple repercussions, with both legal and academic implications. There is the potential of missing classes and failing, losing Bright Futures scholarships, or even expulsion. Read more about College Student Criminal Defense and the types of charges students typically face. There are serious consequences for getting in trouble with the law, especially as a university student. After going through the long process of applying to schools, paying tuition, and even making it across campus, you don’t want to throw it all away because of one mistake.
If you or your child is a student at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee facing a criminal charge or violation of the student conduct code and disciplinary hearing, then contact an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney at the Pumphrey Law.
At student conduct code violation hearings, FSU students found responsible for the violation can face punishments including reprimand and community-service hours and, in more serious cases, removal from student housing, suspension, and expulsion. The punishments at the disciplinary hearing can occur even before the student enters the courtroom to face the criminal charges.
Students need an attorney that can protect them at every stage of the case. With offices conveniently located in Tallahassee in Leon County, call us to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.