Ringsmuth, Day & O’Halloran, PLLC - Fort Myers Criminal Defense
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Would you rather play beer pong or earn your degree?

For many students, drinking alcohol is part of the college experience. But when your school's administration prohibits the excessive consumption of alcohol, including games like beer pong, participation in such activities could put your college degree at risk. This is especially true for students under the legal drinking age.

According to the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Office of Housing and Residence Life, residents who are younger than 21 may not consume, possess or provide alcohol. This may be no surprise, considering the state's underage drinking law. However, if you choose to drink while attending FGCU, you may face two different challenges - the legal ramifications of underage drinking and punishments decided through an administrative hearing.

Following the student code of conduct

A student might be required to attend an administrative hearing upon allegedly violating university rules and regulations which could adversely affect the community. Matters related to alcohol or disruptive behavior may apply.

If you find yourself in this situation, possible disciplinary actions you might face include:

  • Community service
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Payment for damages
  • Prohibited access to student housing
  • Permanent separation from the university

While the school is not equipped to handle legal matters related to student misconduct, decisions made by the administrators can significantly affect your education. But, even though a school hearing is not a legal proceeding, you still have the right to representation.

Protecting your rights to an education

The reality is that college kids make mistakes - everyone does. But to what extent should attending a party affect your right to continue your education? And should alleged violation of a school policy destroy your chance to earn a degree?

While administration might frown upon your involving an attorney in a university disciplinary hearing, having a lawyer present can help you determine everything from how to dress to when you should admit responsibility. If you have violated a law, as well as school policies, you may need help negotiating favorable results. But when your future is at risk, you can, and should, do everything within your power to protect yourself and your educational opportunities.

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