Education Law and Student Affairs

Stevens & Lee provides a full range of services to our higher education clients related to educational, faculty, student and campus affairs.

Our higher education lawyers have assisted colleges and universities in certifying new degree programs, addressing shared governance concerns and in resolving NCAA regulatory issues. We assist institutions in preparing for ADA audits and in ensuring compliance with Title IX regulations. We understand privacy issues under FERPA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and regularly counsel clients regarding the disclosure of educational records, health and disciplinary records and law enforcement-related matters, as well as matters pertaining to the Clery Act.

We have been particularly active in faculty affairs matters, assisting with revisions to tenure policies and faculty handbooks, the creation and application of post-tenure review procedures, structuring the text of written performance reviews for faculty members at risk and creating litigation avoidance strategies in the face of adverse evaluations, discipline and termination or expulsion. We understand the positions of AAUP regarding these issues and can identify where those positions and the necessary role of management in non-profit corporations are at variance. We also advise our clients on complying with subpoenas while remaining in compliance with FERPA regulations.

We are regularly consulted to assist in strategizing how to address student disciplinary problems regarding both criminal and internal conduct code breaches. We have rewritten student handbooks, codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures, and have assisted in creating notification strategies in circumstances involving allegations of student assault and campus crises, both to comply with legal requirements and to avoid unnecessary panic and community concern. We have addressed issues of conduct and student accommodation abroad, and have written policies for ensuring that host institutions meet the expectations of our domestic higher education clients for safety, access and hygiene. We are familiar with Greek issues, having assisted in refining policies and expectations for Greek organizations. We understand the delicate interplay between host communities and academic institutions, having assisted in restructuring policies for off-campus housing and institutional expectations for those who seek to live off campus. We have assisted institutions in the creation and restructuring of campus police organizations and have mediated between local law enforcement officials and campus safety officers. We are familiar with the law regarding liquor host liability both on and off campus and assist in minimizing both risk and legal exposure for students and institutions.

We strive to anticipate problems of reasonable accommodation for impaired or disabled students, have addressed campus housing discrimination concerns, and where students are victimized, we seek to ensure that our counsel preserves the dignity of the individuals and the integrity of the institution.