On-Campus Disciplinary Actions

There are a variety of offenses and violations that can occur on a college campus, with varying degrees of severity. For more severe crimes and offenses, off-campus law enforcement frequently must be called in to handle the incident, resulting in criminal charges against the accused individual(s).

However, for a wide variety of offenses that take place on colleges and universities across the U.S., the schools themselves have a system in place to deal with violations of school code, rules, or honor codes.  Some schools have a disciplinary committee in place, often comprised of both students and teachers or administrators, while others have a completely student-run Student Court that will rule on offenses that take place on campus and issue penalties to those accused.

In 2011, various alcohol-related violations were the most frequently dealt with on-campus crime, with 81,541 incidents reported at public, 4 year (or higher) institutions with 10,000 or more students. Depending on a school’s rules, many of these cases will be dealt with internally, and outside law-enforcement and criminal lawyers will not be involved in the case at all.

However, for more serious offenses, like drug-related offenses, incidents might be dealt with on campus, by outside law enforcement officials, or by both. For campuses the same size as those referenced above, there were 21,689 drug abuse incidents reported in the U.S. in 2011 that resulted in on-campus disciplinary action.

Much less common of an on-campus offense was possession of a weapon, with only 423 incidents reported in 2011.

While alcohol intoxication, drug use, and weapons possession can all pose potential dangers to the safety and well-being of college students, many universities are taking aggressive action against students accused of these actions, exposing some to state or federal legal action, while others to on-campus penalties, including suspension or expulsion.



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Larry Benneth+