The Important Issue of Transcript Notations

The issue of transcript notations on the academic record of students found responsible for student code of conduct violations is of immense importance to the affected student, especially if the conduct violation implicates Title IX and/or the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)/Clery Act.

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What Are Transcript Notations?

Transcript notations can alert prospective employers and prospective institutions of higher education that the applicant being considered for employment or admission was “found responsible” for a code of conduct violation.

In many cases these transcript notations can serve as a “scarlet letter” of sexual assault or domestic/dating abuse and render it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the marked individual to obtain desired employment or the continuation of his or her academic career.

Surprisingly, and encouragingly, the victim oriented advocacy group Know Your IX has taken a position in opposition to mandated transcript notations for those found responsible for committing sexual assault:

“Once someone serves their disciplinary punishment, that punishment should end… transcript notations are permanently punitive measures – marking perpetrators indefinitely and often impacting their ability to access higher education (and thereby job opportunities and earnings).” (see Know Your IX, “Transcript Notations“).

Unfortunately, at least two states, New York and Virginia, have already enacted laws that mandate transcript notations for those responsible for Title IX and/or Clery Act code of conduct violations. New York’s law, part of Article 129-B of the Education Law, requires that:

“For crimes of violence… defined as crimes that meet the reporting requirements pursuant to the federal Clery Act… institutions shall make a notation on the transcript of students found responsible after a conduct process that they were “suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” or “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.” (see NY Education Law section 6444(6)).

Obviously, in the representation of any student charged with a Title IX/Clery Act code of conduct violation, potential transcript notations are an issue of significant importance. When selecting an attorney to represent you in a campus misconduct case involving Title IX or Clery Act allegations, make sure that attorney is aware of, and sensitive to, this issue. The possibility of, and potential to avoid transcript notations should be a part of any discussion with both the client and the institution.

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