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Does a disciplinary hold on academic transcripts during a university investigation without a hearing violate due process?

Ann Arbor, MI |

I was a student at the University of Michigan, and I was falsely accused of unwanted sexual contact. UM investigated and determined that I had not violated the policy. However, at the start of the investigation, UM placed a hold on my academic transcripts without informing me and giving me a preliminary hearing. Did the hold violate my rights to due process? How could I feel like I would get a fair hearing if they had already taken punitive action against me?

I do not have any hard evidence of damages from the hold. The Interim Procedure allows interim sanctions that protect the community, the complainant or me.

Attorney Answers 4


No violation here

You were heard and cleared and your record shows that is the case

A university is well within its rights to place an "administrative" hold so long as a hearing and investigation and conclusion follows.

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I'm confused. You said UM investigated and found that you had not committed a violation. Are you asking about potential past damages? Or are you still on hold for some reason?

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.

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It is about past damages. I suffered a panic attack among other things because I thought they had already convicted me. Goss v. Lopez states that a temporary suspension requires a preliminary hearing. I wasn't sure if that would also apply to a hold on my official academic transcripts. The hold was removed after I was cleared.

Sean Patrick Lewis

Sean Patrick Lewis


Goss is a case about students being denied education (through suspension) for ten days. It appears to me, absent other facts you haven't presented, that your transcripts were put on hold, but that you were allowed to stay in classes, etc.


They may well have violated your rights, but if you were not damaged in a clear and significant way, you really would have no remedy in any event. Chalk it up to a big arrogant organization ignoring the rights of others, and move on. Good Luck.

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The conduct you are complaining about is standard procedure among virtually all colleges and universities throughout the United States, private and public, and has never been held to be unlawful on any theory. There are strong legitimate reasons for the university's actions. Your rights to administrative due process -- which are in fact very minimal in these circumstances -- do not require that the university freeze in place as to you. Pending the adjudication of a matter for which you have administrative due process rights, the university can suspend you, decline to re-enroll you, decline to certify or distribute your transcript, decline to grade your work or register any grade for completed work, decline to implement course or degree credit, and issue you orders to remain off campus or otherwise limit your university-related conduct. The list of what the university cannot do would be the much shorter one.

Even if the university had overstepped its authority here, the fact that you were exonerated by the administrative procedure would make any such error harmless.

You would not have been happy to have your transcript circulated while there were misconduct charges pending. The transcript would have stated that fact.

Re your panic attack and whether you could feel like you would get a fair hearing: helping you to manage your feelings realistically is one of your attorney's responsibilities. The university is not legally responsible for the fact that there was a complaint made against you, nor for the fact that the complaint merited investigation and referral to the fact-finding process. You had rights to a process, but no right to be exempt from the process in the face of a complaint.

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