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- in Student's Corner
- by Stephen Gustitis
My youngest graduated from high school a few weeks ago. These milestones are always bitter-sweet for parents. We are proud of our children for achieving important life goals and we are excited watching them succeed. On the other hand, as our children move off to college and begin a new and uncharted phase of life, we cannot help but worry about them.
Matthew starts his freshman year at Texas A&M University this fall. In addition to preparing him for the rigors of engineering study, I’ve also emphasized how easy it is to run afoul of the University Student Code of Conduct Rules. The Student Conduct Rules are similar to the criminal laws, but with significant differences. Any time a student has contact with the University Police Department, it’s simply a matter of time before they get a letter from Student Conflict Resolution charging them with a violation of the code.
The obvious solution to avoiding prosecution is to make sure your student is familiar with these rules and to avoid violating them. But that can be easier said, than done. If your student does get into trouble, there’s one very crucial right they should exercise in every circumstance. That is, the right to an advisor. The advisor can, in most circumstances, be anyone they choose. It can be a parent, often times a lawyer, or even a friend. The advisor does not serve as an advocate, however. Rather, they serve as a confidant during the disciplinary process. The point is to have someone there to objectively assist the student with their interaction with University officials. The process can be scary and nerve-racking and having an advisor present for support is a huge benefit. This is especially vital if the student rule violations are related to criminal charges. Never allow your student to speak to anyone under these circumstances. Hire a qualified attorney immediately.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.