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Investigating College Student Misconduct

, 224 pages

4 charts

October 2018



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Investigating College Student Misconduct


All colleges and universities grapple with the complexities of student misconduct. How can these institutions conduct efficient fact-finding investigations and disciplinary proceedings? What best practices should administrators and legal counsel follow when student behavior interferes with a university’s mission or poses a campus safety threat? Oren R. Griffin answers these questions and more in Investigating College Student Misconduct, an essential resource for student affairs professionals and university administrators.

Misconduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings are as common in higher education as they are contested. Without the force of law, clear procedures, or even rules of evidence, these proceedings can leave both the accused and the accuser in danger of receiving unfair treatment, opening the university up to legal action. Emphasizing the importance of institutional compliance obligations and students’ rights, Griffin explores the fundamental steps that should guide the investigation process. He describes tactics that academic and student affairs administrators should consider and comments on the importance of managing privileged and confidential information—as well as communicating the results of and proposed remedies to student misconduct investigations.

A law professor, scholar of higher education law, and associate dean who consults with other universities on legal compliance and litigation matters, Griffin brings a unique perspective to this topic. Touching on a range of issues, including academic dishonesty, sexual assault, freedom of speech, quasi-criminal activity, and other acts of misconduct, Investigating Student Misconduct is supported by a review of relevant judicial decisions from state and federal courts, along with a conceptual and pragmatic analysis of important statutory and constitutional provisions, including Title IX and FERPA.

Oren R. Griffin is a professor of law and the associate dean for strategic initiatives at Mercer University.

"Each chapter's opening vignette, taken from real-life events, helps anchor this handbook in a timely way. Griffin’s legal analysis of complex cases is spot-on, and will assist the non-lawyer reader immensely. This book should be given out at conference workshops and made required reading for student affairs administrators new to higher education."

"Investigating College Student Misconduct is a thoughtful, well-organized, highly informative, and very timely text which will prove useful to both senior university administrators and boards of directors. The book is a primer on how to properly plan, conduct, report, and act upon investigations regarding college student misconduct. Griffin has made a significant contribution to academe."

"Oren Griffin provides an excellent blueprint that higher education professionals can use to effectively handle situations involving alleged student misconduct. This book is a must read for any campus administrator who values the importance of getting an investigation right the first time around."

"Oren R. Griffin, through his rich understanding of higher education, and with the informed practicality of an experienced scholar and practitioner, provides an exceptional framework to improve the function of investigations. This guide will help investigators enhance prevention, process, and restoration to minimize recurrence of risk and harm. Well done!"

"In the contemporary academy, students must be held accountable for their actions, but must also receive due process. The first step in due process is an independent objective investigation of the allegations. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities lack the knowledge and experience to perform such investigations. Oren Griffin's new book fills that gap. It is a comprehensive guide containing the legal and policy rationales for each aspect of the investigation as well as practical tips."

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