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  1. #1
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    Default Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    My question involves education law in the State of: Idaho

    So I'm reading through my school policy, and it says that if after graduation someone is accused of a non-academic policy violation such as sex misconduct, they will decide the case using the preponderance standard and then revoke that person's degree if found responsible.

    So basically, if you are one of tomorrow's leaders and do something that upsets an administrator, watch out. Someone need only say you failed to get explicit consent for something during the time you went to school, and they can just take your degree.

    They have us on a long leash long after graduation. I take issue with that. I plan to file some very controversial lawsuits coming up which I suspect will upset some people.

    Can they actually do this? I read about other schools trying to take degrees from other students for similar reasons, though I did not find a follow up article about whether they succeeded.

    Thanks.


    Students check a box during the application process that says they read and agree to the policy. If you don't check it, your application is automatically rejected. If you go out of state, you pay $15,000 per year in out of state tuition. The policy can be amended at any time by them. This is called a contract of adhesion. For all their claims that consent is important and that coercion is wrong, they don't seem to care if they coerce people into an unreasonable contract. Can their superior bargaining position as one of only 2 universities in my state be grounds to have that part of the contract voided?

    Thanks.

    I'm just upset how drunk on power these administrators are and would like to see a court injunction set them straight. Maybe my time is best spend just focusing on using my degree to get a job and letting other students worry about this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    If you agree as a condition of your enrollment in a university that your degree can be revoked for certain types of misconduct, it is best not to commit those types of misconduct. If you choose to commit the misconduct, the college finds out after you have your degree, and the college seeks to revoke your degree, come here with the facts and we'll discuss them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    I have a problem with the entire premise of a college revoking someone's degree after graduation when an act by the graduate has nothing to do with achieving that degree. Is this not governed by contract law?

    When a person applies to a college and is accepted are they not entering into a contract that if they fulfill the requirements for graduation they will receive a diploma? What theory of law would allow this contract to continue going forward in perpetuity that the college could revoke that diploma? I could understand if during the student's tenure they committed a fraud, found out to be a cheater or otherwise, but that not being the case, I don't see how a college could do it. It's not an honorary degree. It is bought and paid for. Contract is complete.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    Mike should perhaps add this to his plethora of similar self-serving threads.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    I have a problem with the entire premise of a college revoking someone's degree after graduation when an act by the graduate has nothing to do with achieving that degree. Is this not governed by contract law?
    Yes, contract law applies. And if as part of the contract, the parties agree that misconduct in the future by the student or graduate is grounds for the university to revoke the degree, there is no reason why that contract provision would not be upheld. If the student doesn’t like that, he or she should choose another university.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    So the college becomes the moral ruler over the graduate for his life? I have a hard time believing that is true. Kind of a quasi court.

    So according to you, if I were a builder developer and I contract to sell a piece of land and construct a house on it, complete the contract and get paid in full, buyers take title, but I place a clause in the contract that says if the buyer is convicted of a crime I get the land and the house back you are saying that would be upheld in a court under contract law? I don't think so.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    So the college becomes the moral ruler over the graduate for his life? I have a hard time believing that is true. Kind of a quasi court.

    So according to you, if I were a builder developer and I contract to sell a piece of land and construct a house on it, complete the contract and get paid in full, buyers take title, but I place a clause in the contract that says if the buyer is convicted of a crime I get the land and the house back you are saying that would be upheld in a court under contract law? I don't think so.
    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Both parties agreed to it in the contract, and nothing in the contract violates the law, so a court would indeed enforce it. If the buyer didn't like that provision, he should negotiate to take it out or buy from a different builder. What is your basis for believing that such a provision would not be enforced? On what principle would the court be able to invalidate that provision of the contract? I can’t think of one. Can you? Just because you think it would be ridiculous or overreaching for the builder to want to do that doesn’t make the contract invalid. Parties to a contract are free to agree to things that you and I might think stupid or ridiculous, after all.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    For one thing, unforeseeable events or circumstance is not known at the time the contract was signed. A person in this hypothetical doesn't anticipate being convicted of a crime. It is out of his knowledge at the time they sign the contract.

    So again, from what you are saying, someone could put a clause in a contract that required servitude if a condition was not met or violated and that would be consistent with the law? I know, you will say that servitude is not constitutional and therefore not enforceable. Well since I haven't researched this yet, I don't know if there is any equitable components that would be the same.

    Now your client comes to you with a case where the university wants to revoke his diploma because of a crime 10 years after he graduated. Put that hat on and tell me what you do to help him. Will you just say, "well it's in the contract, you are s..t out of luck. I doubt it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    For one thing, unforeseeable events or circumstance is not known at the time the contract was signed. A person in this hypothetical doesn't anticipate being convicted of a crime. It is out of his knowledge at the time they sign the contract.
    Doesn't matter that he doesn’t know that he will be convicted of a crime or not. Not every condition has to be known at the time of the contract for the contract to be enforceable. We see that every day. A company agrees to provide a warranty to fix a product if it breaks. The company does not know at the time the contract is formed what, if any, repair to the product will be needed. But that does not stop the contract from being enforceable. Likewise contracts of insurance. The insurer has no way to know when the insurance contract is issued that the customer's home will be destroyed by fire sometime in the future, but when the fire occurs the fact the insurer did not know the fire was going to occur will not get the insurance company out of the contract. I could point to many other instances in which the parties agree that if a particular event occurs, the parties will have certain rights and responsibilities and those contracts are enforceable even though it is not at all certain that the event will occur. So your argument on this is a nonstarter. Indeed, if the student agrees to this as part of his contract with the school, then he knows what may happen if he is convicted of a crime. So, with that in mind, he ought not to commit a crime and thus avoid that problem, right? It’s not like he doesn’t have some control over the happening of this event, unlike, say the insurance company insuring against the fire.

    As for your slavery example, you knew when writing it that it was a bad one. I specifically noted in my earlier reply that it matters that the contract does not contain a provision that violates the law. Slavery violates the law, so of course a contract for slavery would not be enforced. But the contract with the school concerning the diploma is not one that is illegal or violates any public policy. That being the case, it would likely be enforceable.


    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Now your client comes to you with a case where the university wants to revoke his diploma because of a crime 10 years after he graduated. Put that hat on and tell me what you do to help him. Will you just say, "well it's in the contract, you are s..t out of luck. I doubt it.
    If I looked at the contract and the circumstances surrounding the formation of the contract and found no viable argument that the contract was not enforceable then yes, I absolutely would tell my client that he is out of luck. That’s what good lawyers do. I don’t take money from clients to litigate cases that have no realistic chance to succeed. To do that is just ripping off the client to line the pockets of the lawyer, and ethical lawyers do not do that.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Universities Revoke Degrees for Non-Academic Allegations

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Yes, contract law applies. And if as part of the contract, the parties agree that misconduct in the future by the student or graduate is grounds for the university to revoke the degree, there is no reason why that contract provision would not be upheld. If the student doesn’t like that, he or she should choose another university.
    What if all schools have that policy, partly due to the same federal pressure source? Is a student supposed to just pay out of state tuition at a different school? This contract is entered into under duress. The student's parents paid a ton of taxes and want the benefit of getting state funded schooling. If they don't get a degree, they can't get a good job. Can a publicly funded school administration condition enrolling on waving ones civil rights or liberties, when no state law said so? Is the contract not unconscionable, when one side has vastly more bargaining power?

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Both parties agreed to it in the contract, and nothing in the contract violates the law, so a court would indeed enforce it. If the buyer didn't like that provision, he should negotiate to take it out or buy from a different builder. What is your basis for believing that such a provision would not be enforced? On what principle would the court be able to invalidate that provision of the contract? I can’t think of one. Can you? Just because you think it would be ridiculous or overreaching for the builder to want to do that doesn’t make the contract invalid. Parties to a contract are free to agree to things that you and I might think stupid or ridiculous, after all.
    That is private property, that is not subsidized by any tax dollars. I still find issue with the contract, but I think it has more leg to stand on. A public school is heavily tax payer funded. I think the public has an interest in that school not having unconscionable rules.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
    View Post
    Indeed, if the student agrees to this as part of his contract with the school, then he knows what may happen if he is convicted of a crime. So, with that in mind, he ought not to commit a crime and thus avoid that problem, right? It’s not like he doesn’t have some control over the happening of this event, unlike, say the insurance company insuring against the fire.
    But he does not have to commit any crime to be convicted. They officially use a preponderance of evidence standard, where the accuser's word is the first 50%. All they need is an extra 0.01%, which is just the administrator saying they believe the accuser. And they will because the accuser can bring a million dollar lawsuit and make the school look very bad if they don't side with her and throw the guy under the bus.

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