Graduate Student Legal Aid provides peer-to-peer advocacy services to inform and support graduate students who are charged by the University's Office of Student Conduct. Advocates are trained to assist their fellow graduate students in navigating cases with the Office of Student Conduct. Appointments are currently available via Zoom, phone, or email. If you choose Zoom, the link will be sent to you 10 minutes before the scheduled time. Please read on to learn more about who will be helping you, how they can help you, how to request an appointment and how to prepare for your appointment.
Meet Your Graduate Student Advocates!
Martin Rakoff is a second-year graduate student with the School of Public Policy. He completed his undergrad at the University of Cincinnati and has been with GLAO since October of 2020. Martin is experienced in student conduct issues, having worked with them throughout his undergraduate career, and will use that experience to ensure you have a fair process.
Ethan Foley is a second-year graduate student within the College of Education, studying Higher Education. He completed his Bachelor's degree at the University of Vermont in 2020, and joined GLAO in August 2021 after serving across the hall as a Legal Intern in SLAO. Ethan is experienced in student conduct issues as a Resident Director in the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life and as the former President of his Student Government Association. He is committed to serving and supporting his fellow students.
What you Need to Know Before you Request an Appointment
Attention Undergraduate Students: Please contact Undergraduate Student Legal Aid for assistance.
- All consultations are currently conducted via phone, email, or Zoom. If you request a Zoom appointment, we will send you the link five minutes before your scheduled time.
- Confidentiality: Your discussions with the Advocate and other staff are protected by attorney/client privilege. We will not discuss your case with your parents, friends, spouses, or the University of Maryland without your written consent.
- Conflict of Interest: We cannot advise one student directly against another student in a university charge as that results in a conflict of interest*; however, we can meet with all of the involved parties so that everyone receives the same information.
- What to expect at your preliminary interview
- What to expect at your conference or conference board
*Grad Legal Aid is funded by the graduate student activities fee. As such, all registered graduate students are potential clients of our office. In the event that more than one student is involved in a case and other students' interests are not completely aligned, we will not represent any of the students due to the conflict of these interests. In other words, we will not represent one student if representation could potentially have an adverse effect on another student.
How to Request an Advocacy Appointment
- New Case: Request your appointment for a new case by following the instructions HERE. If you have questions about appointment availability please email us at email@example.com.
- Return appointments: To schedule a return appointment with your assigned Advocate, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, noting the name of your advocate in the subject line. This will ensure that the appointment is scheduled at a time when they are available.
Advocacy Throughout OSC's Charging Process
Regardless of whether you are charged with a violation of the Code of Conduct or Code of Academic Integrity by the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), you will go through some combination of the steps below. We recognize that this may be an emotional and stressful process so we strive to provide information and support throughout the process. This following list provides a brief and general description of what to expect at each step and how your Advocate can assist you.
- Notification of Charges - You will be notified of your charges by OSC via email. Along with these notifications you will be provided with a date and time for your preliminary interview. If you meet with us at this stage, we can help you understand your charges, the evidence against you, and what to expect and how to prepare for your preliminary interview.
- Preliminary Interview with OSC - In this meeting, a member of OSC will meet with you to discuss the evidence against you and ask you questions about the circumstances surrounding the violation you have been charged with. If you meet with us prior to your PI, and we jointly commit to the advocacy agreement, we can also accompany you to this meeting. If you meet with us after the PI, we can discuss how it went and help you anticipate what may be coming next and how to prepare.
- Notification of Informal Resolution - After your PI, you will receive an Informal Resolution Agreement from OSC. This IRA will outline whether they have found you responsible for the charges brought against you, the sanctions that you have been offered, and your options as far as accepting or contesting those sanctions. In a meeting with an Advocate at this stage, we will review this document and your options with you to determine what next steps will be best for you.
- Disciplinary Conference, Disciplinary Conference Board, or Honor Review - If you do not agree to the IRA and decide to contest the sanctions it assigns, you will proceed to either a Disciplinary Conference, Disciplinary Conference Board, or Honor Review. You may do so either to plead not responsible and try to get your charges dropped, or to plead responsible and try to negotiate for lesser sanctions. If you ask for our assistance in this process, we will help you prepare your narrative and other documents for the conference/hearing. If we mutually agree on formal representation in this process, we will attend the conference/hearing with you and speak on your behalf.
- Notification of Sanctions - Following your conference/hearing, you will receive a decision via email on your sanctions (if you were found responsible). At this point, your options are to accept and complete the assigned sanctions or to appeal the decision. At this stage, your Advocate can discuss the decision handed down by the board, how to complete the steps assigned in the sanctions, and determine if you have grounds for an appeal.
- Appeal of Sanction Decision - There are very specific grounds for appealing the decision of the board. If you choose to pursue an appeal on one of these grounds, your Advocate can help you complete the appeal process. If your advocate is still providing formal representation during the appeal process, they will collaborate with you to construct your appeal, and submit it to OSC on your behalf. If you choose to move forward with an appeal even without formal representation, an Advocate can still provide you with general advice on completing this process.
- Completion of Sanctions - Whether you accept your IRA, take the sanctions assigned during your conference/hearing, or receive new sanctions through the appeal process, you can reach out to us for assistance. Meeting with your Advocate regarding your sanctions can provide clarification on what exactly is required of you to complete these sanctions and how they affect your academic standing at the university.
- UMD's Codes - For more detailed information on OSC processes and regulations, refer to the Code of Conduct and Code of Academic Integrity.
- Additional Support - For support, particularly with managing the stress and emotions many students encounter during these processes, we encourage you to reach out to the UMD Counseling Center.