FIRE's Guide to Due Process on Campus

By Josh Gewolb and Harvey A. Silverglate | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

(Editor's Note: The following is one of five guides written by FIRE in order to help protect the rights of college students.)

Time and again, students on our nation's college and university campuses are subjected to campus courts without due process and fair procedure. FIRE's Guide to Due Process and Fair Procedure on Campus provides information about the appropriate and inappropriate methods by which university administrators and student judicial panels address issues of academic misdeeds and behavioral misconduct. This Guide also provides a history of how due process issues have been handled by the courts and gives several examples of institutions where procedures are handled with concern for fairness. Because it is crucial to choose the most effective grounds on which to base a claim of unfairness, the Guide will introduce readers to both legal and moral arguments, explaining how these may be used on private and public campuses. Readers can expect the Guide to answer, thoroughly and compellingly, such difficult questions as:

How can I evaluate my school's judicial procedures for objective fairness?

How do I know if my rights have been violated?

What are the best arguments to use against unfair procedures?

Is the law on my side? What are the modern history and current status of the United States Supreme Court's view of "due process of law," and how has this concept been applied to university campuses (public, private, and sectarian)?

What kinds of federal and state legal doctrines, aside from federal constitutional rights, both protect and restrict the rights and powers of public, private, and sectarian institutions of higher learning with regard to disciplinary and other adjudicatory proceedings?