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Colorado Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys

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Boulder Student Conduct Defense Lawyer

What does OIEC mean?

OIEC means the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. Those schools who establish OIEC offices are usually seeking to integrate complaints of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment—whether against a student, employee, or third party—into one office. Not all schools have an OIEC Office.

A Student Conduct Office at most schools will be typically focused on investigations and sanctioning for violations of the student conduct code. If your school does not have an OIEC Office then Student Conduct will also address claims of sexual misconduct.

Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Cases

Exploiting a federal preemption loophole in the new Title IX rules some schools, including those in the University of Colorado system, are investigating and sanctioning students for sexual misconduct based on school codes rather than the Title IX Rules. This means that at certain schools’ students can face an investigation for sexual misconduct claims that allegedly occurred away from school – perhaps even in a different state or country or involve a non-student or student from another school, in circumstances which have nothing to do with your school or any of its programs.

This over-reaching will eventually be resolved in the federal court system, but for now the lawyers at Mertes Law defend every school sexual misconduct claim the same, whether it is based on Title IX or a student conduct code.

Student Conduct Cases

If you are a student in a secondary school, college or university setting any allegation of misconduct – such as honor code violation/cheating, theft, or harassment of another student – will be handled by school administrators or by an office at your school which is dedicated to student conduct matters.

In Colorado, and the majority of other U.S. States, student conduct codes can be considered legal contracts and a student can force schools to follow through on their specific promises regarding the process and procedures laid out by their conduct code to resolve the matter. The exception occurs when the school creates a code of conduct and then specifically disavows the code to be a binding contract.

Most student conduct codes provide an opportunity to appeal an adverse decision in a student conduct matter. However, student conduct codes are often very specific as to format of an appeal, as well as the timing of any appeal, including appeal guidelines with inflexible dates that require that an appeal be filed in a matter of days after an adverse decision has been made by the governing authority.

Constitutional Rights and Federal Law

In public schools a student facing a student conduct matter can also rely upon his or her Constitutional Right to Due Process, and any applicable protection of a federal statute such as Title IX for sexual misconduct claims, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects individuals with disabilities in program and activities that receive federal assistance, to ensure their school has a fair process and that they adhere to the process in dealing with a student conduct case.

In a private school setting the school’s code of conduct is the primary source of remedy – unless some other federal law such as Title IX, FERPA, or Section 504 applies.

At many schools there is a meaningful opportunity to challenge an accusation or to provide mitigation, or in plain terms, an explanation for a student’s deviation from the code of conduct. Whenever you have received a Notice of Investigation (NOI) or Notice of Allegation (NOA) it is time to contact an experienced Student Conduct Attorney for advice.

It is also possible that a student conduct complaint can involve a parallel criminal investigation making it pivotally important to have an experienced Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyer assist you with your case, particularly if the student conduct complaint involves any sexual misconduct allegation which most schools will refer to internal investigative units sometimes called the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) or Title IX Office.

Experienced Student Conduct Help

A timely investigation led by an attorney conversation in both Education and Criminal Law is a pressing part of establishing and proving favorable facts since most schools fail to record their interviews of complaining parties or witnesses, and frequently delay providing you with basic information about the conduct claim that has been made. Your Mertes Law lawyers, specializing in both criminal defense and education law, can help. Call now for a free consultation.

The Student Conduct/OIEC Defense Lawyers at Mertes Law also handle Colorado student school district conduct complaints across Colorado.

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