Student Conduct

Precharge Representation

  • College Code Violation Overview
  • Campus Crimes
  • Campus Disciplinary Process

The attorneys at Hamasaki Law represent students and faculty members in campus disciplinary proceedings and hearings at universities across the Bay Area. We successfully advocate for students accused of misconduct, ranging from plagiarism to sexual assault, by taking an aggressive, comprehensive, and creative approach to each case.

Our student conduct attorneys are uniquely positioned to provide this approach. We understand the rapidly changing laws that shape student conduct hearings, and are experienced in navigating the complicated and often unfair administrative process. As criminal defense attorneys, we approach each case as if we are going to trial. We conduct a thorough investigation, fight for every piece of evidence, and advocate on your behalf at each stage of the college disciplinary process. And, when necessary, we are prepared to defend you in criminal proceedings. Even when the college disciplinary hearing has ended, our civil litigation attorneys will challenge your school's administrative procedures to protect your due process rights.

If you are a student or faculty member accused of campus misconduct, the attorneys at Hamasaki Law can help you navigate your disciplinary hearing. Our attorneys understand the serious nature of these accusations. If you have been accused of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other violations of your university's code of conduct, you should take the process very seriously. Although your initial instinct may be to tell your side of the story to clear your name, remember that you will likely be facing an administrative process that is stacked against you. It is essential to remember that if you speak with any school officer, your only job is to listen.

You should consult with a university conduct attorney who is familiar with your campus disciplinary hearing process as early as possible. Do not wait until the school has developed adamaging and one-sided view of your case. The attorneys at Hamasaki Law can help through this difficult process.

We represent student and faculty members at colleges and universities across the Bay Area including:

California State University, East Bay
Golden Gate University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Clara University
Sonoma State University
Stanford
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Hastings
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, San Francisco
University of San Francisco

California State University, East Bay
Golden Gate University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Clara University
Sonoma State University
Stanford
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Hastings
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, San Francisco
University of San Francisco

We represent students and faculty in campus conduct violations, such as:

  • Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other Title IX violations
  • Academic misconduct, such as plagiarism
  • Charges of assault or other aggressive behavior
  • University protest matters
  • Vandalism
  • Evidence seized through locker searches
  • Weapons charges
  • University housing violations

Title IX Violations, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault

Title IX Violations, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault

The Title IX attorneys at Hamasaki Law represent students and faculty members accused of violating their university's sexual harassment policy. This includes allegations of sexual assault, campus rape, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence.

If you have been accused of any one of these crimes, it is essential that you consult an attorney who understands the laws and attitudes shaping your campus disciplinary proceeding. An increase in state and federal regulations has pressured higher education institutions to construct new campus disciplinary hearing procedures that are weighted against the accused. Do not wait to allow your school to build a one-sided case against you.

Our university conduct attorneys have the expertise to successfully represent you in your sexual misconduct disciplinary hearing. We are experienced in navigating the intersection of your university's code of conduct with new federal regulations. And, as criminal defense attorneys, we craft a defense that ensures a student's participation in the school hearing do not jeopardize his or her rights in the criminal case.

If you have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any other violation of your colleges sexual harassment policy, the campus sexual assault defense lawyers at Hamasaki Law are prepared to fight on your behalf.

a. What qualifies as sexual misconduct

Stalking:
Stalking occurs when a person repeatedly engages in conduct directed at a specific person that places that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of others.

Dating violence:
Dating violence any abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

Sexual harassment:
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This includes sexual violence –the two charges are often brought at the same time.

Sexual violence or sexual assault:
Sexual violence is physical sexual acts engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. This includes sexual assault, rape, battery, sexual coercion, domestic violence dating violence and stalking.

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.

Consent:
Consent must be informed. That is, it must be an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent must be voluntary. That is it must be given without coercion, force, threats, or intimidation. Consent means positive cooperation in the act or expression of intent to engage in the act pursuant to an exercise of free will. Consent is revocable at any time.

b. Understanding the law

In the last five years, an increase in federal regulations reigned in a new era of how colleges respond to allegations of campus sexual harassment. Although change was needed, campus administrators often overlook the constitutional right to due process of students while applying these sexual assault policies. At universities across the country, new administrative procedures have been implemented that trample the constitutional due process rights of the accused.

The most influential change came in 2011 when the federal government mandated the use of Title IX to regulate college administrative hearings. Not long after, the SaVE Act bolstered Title IX by requiring schools to provide annual figures on the number of allegations reported each year. This was coupled with new sexual harassment specific training programs for students and faculty involved in the process.

c. Understanding Title IX and the Save Act

Title IX was originally mandated to provide equal opportunity to women on college campuses. It works by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program. For years, Title IX was used to diminish the discrimination women faced in collegiate sports. But, in 2011, the Obama administration issued the "Dear Colleague" letter, which mandated that Title IX govern how higher education institutions respond to allegations of sexual assault.

The letter established that in order to comply with Title IX, universities must 1) disseminate a notice of non-discrimination, 2) designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities, and 3) adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee sex discrimination complaints. Any public university that fails to meet these requirements risks losing federal funding.

In practice, the requirements established in the "Dear Colleague" letter put immense pressure on universities to "properly" handle allegations of sexual misconduct, while offering little guidance on how to actually do so. The only real procedural requirement to properly handle sexual misconduct cases is that the school designate a person to oversee these cases and the disciplinary hearings be "prompt and equitable." That's it. Universities are left to decide who is qualified to oversee Title IX hearings and what an equitable disciplinary procedure looks like. Most importantly, these decisions had to be made while simultaneously being threatened with loss of funding if they got it wrong.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) puts additional pressure on universities to properly respond to allegations of sexual assault. SaVE requires all federally funded colleges to also report annual statistics on incidents of campus crimes and the procedures implemented to respond to them. University administrative policies are now being examined under a microscope.

As a result of these regulations, universities across the country began implementing new policies in hopes of adhering to Title IX. These disciplinary policies include severely limited procedural protections for students. Often students will be denied the right to see the evidence used against them, to cross-examine witnesses, or to have an attorney speak on their behalf in a hearing. Even new "yes means yes" standards of consent eliminate the presumption of innocence. Instead the burden rests on the shoulders of the accused to prove that consent was "affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious."

Despite these strict procedures, since 2014 the Department of Education has identified 230 schools under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations.

The campus sexual assault defense lawyers at Hamasaki Law understand the complex nature of these hearings. We are experienced in navigating the intersection of your university's code with both state and federal laws. From the moment we are retained we pressure school administrators to provide a fair and equitable hearing process to ensure that your due process rights are upheld. We work tirelessly for every piece of evidence and leave no stone unturned in a thorough investigation. We will walk you through each stage of your campus disciplinary process, prepare you to face the administrative panel, and fight to protect your future and reputation.

Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct

The student conduct attorneys at Hamasaki Law represent students accused of academic dishonesty. This can include allegations of plagiarism, cheating, research misconduct, or any other form of academic dishonesty. Students accused of academic misconduct can face serious sanctions, including expulsion, whether they acted intentionally or not.

For example, a student may face allegations of plagiarism if they use a quote without proper attribution. This is true even when the student acted unintentionally. Other instances of academic misconduct include improper reporting of research results, misuse of campus computers, or misrepresenting your academic record.

Academic misconduct violations can have serious consequences beyond university discipline. These allegations can stain a student's record and affect education or career goals. However, with proper representation, academic misconduct allegations may be positively resolved before reaching a hearing panel.

The academic misconduct attorneys at Hamasaki Law are ready to negotiate on your behalf to reach a positive resolution. We understand that your school may have denied you accommodations for your learning disability, or obtained evidence of cheating by violating your right to privacy. We work with the school from the moment we are retained to resolve any allegations of academic dishonestly, and continue to fight on your behalf through each stage of the hearing process.

Other Campus Crimes

Other Campus Crimes

  • Hazing
  • Controlled substance violations
  • Alcohol related violations
  • Weapons
  • Theft
  • Violation of university housing code
  • Physical abuse
  • Disturbing the peace

Reporting and Investigation

Reporting and Investigation

The university disciplinary process begins when your school receives a report of alleged misconduct. Once a report of misconduct has been filed against you, your college will begin the student disciplinary investigation process. If the allegations are related to sexual misconduct, your school's Title IX office will conduct the inquiry.

The Title IX investigator's job is to determine if it is more probable than not that the allegations against you are true. This does not mean that you will be found responsible at the end of the investigation. Instead, the Title IX officer determines if you should be formally charged and move forward in the hearing process.

To do this, the Title IX investigator will likely interview witnesses, and collect any additional evidence available. Often this includes text messages or e-mails, academic records, or eye witness statements

If you have not yet been called in to speak with your school's Title IX officer, it is essential to your defense to speak with a student disciplinary attorney before doing so. Although you may only be trying to clear your name, any statements can be used against you in the student discipline hearing or criminal matter. You must remember that the school is under pressure to ensure that allegations of sexual assault are properly handled. The goal of the investigation is to ensure any allegations of misconduct are properly handled. That does not mean that they are conducted to ensure equity for all students or parties involved.

Once the investigation has concluded, the Title IX officer will produce a report which outlines their investigation and makes a determination whether it is more probable than not that the allegations are true.

Pre-hearing Settlement

Pre-hearing Settlement

If you are facing allegations of academic misconduct such as plagiarism or cheating, there is a chance that you may settle your case before having to go before a disciplinary hearing panel. This can be accomplished through negotiations with your school's Hearing Officer. Often a settlement will be reached where you agree to a punishment in exchange for resolving the issue.

Although most universities do not allow sexual assault allegations to be settled before reaching a hearing panel, the pre-hearing panel process and negotiations can help ensure a positive outcome following a formal disciplinary hearing.

Hearing Panel

Hearing Panel

During the hearing, you will have an opportunity to tell your side of the story and present any evidence to support it. The Title IX officer will also present evidence on behalf of the complainant. For both sides, this can include witness statements, text messages, e-mails, or any other evidence that proves or disproves guilt. The panel then makes a decision of responsibility under the preponderance of evidence standard. That means that they will find a student or faculty member responsible for the alleged misconduct if it is 50.01 percent likely that the code was violated. If you are found responsible for the conduct, the panel will then move to the sanctions stage of the hearing panel where they will determine the appropriate punishment.

At most schools, disciplinary hearing panels consists of three panelists. One faculty member, one administrator, and one student representative. Like a jury, the three-person panel will make the final determination of responsibility under your university's code of conduct after hearing the evidence presented from both the complainant and yourself. Overseeing the disciplinary hearing will be your University's Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer acts like a judge or mediator throughout the process.

Although you will have an opportunity to tell your side of the story, student sexual assault disciplinary hearings are inherently stacked against those accused of misconduct. Despite the fact that due process rights must be afforded in university disciplinary hearings, most school are violating the constitutional due process rights of accused students. For example, it is likely that your school will not let you cross-examine the complaining witness, review discovery before the hearing panel, confront or learn the identity of other witnesses who make statements against you, or allow an attorney to speak on your behalf during the hearing.

Because of the uniquely unfair nature of these hearings, it is essential to speak with a lawyer who understands the process and will fight throughout the hearing to ensure your rights are preserved. Even if your school does not allow an attorney to speak on your behalf, the student disciplinary attorneys at Hamasaki Law will fight for every piece of evidence, help you prepare for a statement, and stand with you every step of the way.

Once the disciplinary hearing has concluded, the panel's findings will be forwarded to the Dean of Students. At most colleges the Dean makes the final decision of responsibility and sanctions. Once a final decision has been reached, both the complainant and the respondent will have an opportunity to appeal.

Appeal

Appeal

After the hearing panel has commenced, your school will allow both parties to submit an appeal. The appeal will address the Dean of Students and ask that they reconsider the panel's decision. If you have been found responsible of any kind of misconduct, it is essential to speak with an attorney who understands the appeals process and has experience working with your school to reach a positive resolution.

Before even reaching the appeals stage, the lawyers at Hamasaki Law work to tirelessly to preserve any issues for appeal. We raise every violation of the code of conduct or violations of your due process rights to ensure the strength of your appeal. Once you have reached that stage, the university conduct attorneys at Hamasaki Law have the experience working directly with schools across the Bay Area to ensure the best possible outcome.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

If you feel that you have been wronged by your university's disciplinary hearing process, the student conduct attorneys at Hamasaki Law are prepared to seek monetary damages against your university.

Our civil litigation attorneys have experience with the Title IX process, and can help guide you through this difficult and complex field. The resolutions we seek for our clients reflect our commitment to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all students. We work tirelessly to preserve evidence, create a record of your school's deficient actions, and advocate to ensure schools are held responsible for their Due Process violations and discrimination under Title IX.

Criminal Matters

Criminal Matters

Criminal charges may be brought as a result of on campus misconduct allegations. The university conduct attorneys at Hamasaki Law represent students in both administrative hearings and criminal court. Our attorneys are prepared to help you navigate both cases to ensure that your participation in a campus disciplinary hearing does not open you to criminal charges or prejudice your case if charges have been filed.

Our university conduct attorneys will guide you through every step of the process to defend against both on-campus and criminal disciplinary measures. Our attorneys evaluate your school's code of conduct, criminal charges, and your constitutional rights in order to create a defense unique to your needs.

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415-525-4245