UNC Asheville Guidelines and Procedures for Licensed Attorneys and Non-Attorney Advocates Participating in the Citizenship Education Process

August 2013

I. Purpose

The Guidelines and Procedures set forth below provide information regarding how UNC Asheville will interpret and administer the requirements of North Carolina General Statutes Section 116-40.11 (hereinafter, “section 116-40.11”) regarding the participation of counsel and non-attorney advocates on behalf of students and Student Organizations in the Citizenship Education Process.

II. Definitions

As used within this guidance document, the following terms have the meanings provided below.

  1. Accused of a Violation – Occurs when a designated university official within the Citizenship Education process brings a formal charge against a student or Student Organization to initiate a Disciplinary Procedure as described in paragraph V.A. and VI.A. of section 700.4.1. of the UNC Policy Manual.[1]
  2. Disciplinary or Conduct Rules – The Student Code of Community Standards at UNC Asheville, as described in paragraph IV. of section 700.4.1. of the UNC Policy Manual.
  3. Disciplinary Procedure(s) – A hearing or other procedure during which a designated university official, board, or panel of the Citizenship Education process considers information and/or documentation in order to make a determination regarding whether a student or Student Organization has violated the Student Code of Community Standards.
  4. Student Organization(s) – A student group that has been officially recognized or sponsored by a UNC Asheville.

III. Guidelines

A. Background Information Regarding the Citizenship Education Process at UNC Asheville

All students, as integral members of the UNC Asheville community, are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner which enhances an environment of learning in which the rights, dignity, worth and freedom of each member of the academic community are respected and consistently represents the University in a positive light. To that end, responsible citizenship includes an expectation that members actively participate in behavior that complements and upholds the values and mission of UNC Asheville. Members of the University community are expected to engage in conduct that contributes to the culture of integrity and honor upon which University of North Carolina at Asheville is grounded.

The Citizenship Education process is designed to address violations of the Student Code of Community Standards which is grounded in student development and learning.  While this process may result in the imposition of sanctions, the primary purpose is to promote learning, changes in behavior, movement towards more responsible citizenship, campus safety, health and well being. campus safety.

This emphasis upon student education and growth as the primary objectives of the Disciplinary Procedures distinguish these processes from criminal or civil legal proceedings. Consistent with these student learning and development objectives, Disciplinary Procedures at UNC constituent institutions remain non-adversarial; reflect community values, university policies, and Board of Governors standards; and provide for the respect and consideration of all participants.

B. Disciplinary Procedures in which Licensed Attorneys and Non-Attorney Advocates May Fully Participate

In accordance with Section 116-40.11, students and student organizations at UNC Asheville who have been accused of a violation of UNC Asheville’s Student Code of Community Standards may be represented by a licensed attorney or a non-attorney advocate during the Citizenship Education Process except when the violation:

  1. Is an allegation of academic dishonesty (unless forwarded to the Citizenship Education Process for resolution)

The right to have a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate represent a student or Student Organization applies when a student or Student Organization was accused of a violation on or after August 26, 2013.

When scheduling a hearing or other Citizenship Education process in which a licensed attorney,  non-attorney advocate or other advisor plans to participate, reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the attorney, non-attorney advocate’s or other advisor’s schedule. However, UNC Asheville will prioritize the availability of the respondent; complainant; witnesses; board members; Citizenship Education staff  assigned to the matter; and any other necessary participants when determining the date and time for a hearing.

The university does not encourage or discourage the student to have a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate. The securing of legal counsel or a non-attorney advocate is at the expense of the student. Nothing in these guidelines and procedures shall be construed to create a right to be represented in the Citizenship Education process at the expense of UNC Asheville.

C. Requirements to Serve as a Licensed Attorney or Non-Attorney Advocate During a UNC Constituent Institution’s Disciplinary Procedure

In order for a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate to represent a student or Student Organization in the Citizenship Education process, the student or Student Organization must provide the Citizenship Education Coordinator (or their designee) with the three (3) documents described below.  These three (3) documents must be submitted no less than five (5) business days prior to the hearing or scheduled citizenship education meeting.

1. Notice of Representation

Students and student organizations that plan to have a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate represent them during the Citizenship Education Process must notify the Citizenship Education Coordinator (or their designee) in writing that they will be represented by a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate.  This notice must include:

A.  The identity of the licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate;
B.  Whether the individual is a licensed attorney or a non-attorney advocate;
C.  An address, telephone number and email address where the licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate can be reached.

2. FERPA Authorization

In order for a licensed attorney or a non-attorney advocate to represent a student or Student Organization during the Citizenship Education process or to speak with a UNC Asheville Citizenship Education staff member regarding the student or the members of a Student Organization, the student must complete and submit a written Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) authorization and release form.  Even if a student executes a valid FERPA consent authorizing the licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate to receive information or documents regarding the student, UNC Asheville will, at all times, correspond and provide materials directly with and to the student or Student Organization.  It is the student’s or Student Organization’s responsibility to communicate and to share information and documentation with their licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate.

3. Certification by Licensed Attorney or Non-Attorney Advocate

Students or Student Organizations that plan to have a attorney or non-attorney advocate represent them in the Citizenship Education process must submit a certification form signed by the licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate stating that the licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate has read in their entirety and understood the following documents:

The UNC Asheville Student Code of Community Standards;
The UNC Asheville Guidelines for Attorneys and Non-Attorney;
Advocates in the Citizenship Education Process;
Section 700.4.1 of the UNC Policy Manual

D. Participation of Licensed Attorneys or Non-Attorney Advocates in the Citizenship Education Process

Licensed attorneys or non-attorney advocates may fully participate in the Citizenship Education process only to the extent afforded to the student or Student Organization they represent.  The rights and responsibilities of a student in the Citizenship Education Process can be found in the Student Handbook.  The Citizenship Education process is educational in nature and does not parallel the legal system.  Our procedures are not subject to the federal Rules of Evidence or the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Additionally, licensed attorneys and non-attorney advocates may not delay, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with a Disciplinary Procedure.

An attorney or other individual representing UNC Asheville may participate in the Citizenship Education process in which a licensed attorney or non-attorney advocate represents a student or a Student Organization.