Online Custom «Legal Issues in Higher Education» Essay Sample

Legal Issues in Higher Education

Scenario 1


A and B are nineteen years old. The age of the maturity in the state is 21 years. This means that the two have not achieved the maturity age and hence are engaged in underage drinking. Underage consumption of alcohol is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 years. It is also illegal for minors to be in the possession of alcohol. The state law provides the following disciplinary measures:

Offenders who are under the age of the maturity in Ohio state face a fine of up to 250 dollars and may be imprisoned for up to 30 days (Kern, 2015). The penalty is even higher for offenders who are under the age of 21(Kern, 2015). They will be faced with a fine of up to 1000 dollars and up to 180 days of imprisonment. First-time offenders may enter into a diversion program (Kern, 2015). A had consumed 20 beers and had therefore exceeded the Blood Alcohol Concentration limit for minors. This means that they would be fined about 250 dollars and will be subjected to up to 30 days of imprisonment for the offense. These may be coupled with other penalties (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).

The university has separate disciplinary measures which include: the termination of the education session, community probation for a minimum of one semester, and 19 community working hours. The students can be fined about 150 dollars (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). The parent or the guardian will be notified about their misconduct in the university. This will heavily depend on whether they are first time offenders or second-time offenders. For first time offenders, the education session could be suspended and the student would be subjected to a fine of about 50 dollars. The guardian would also be informed and the student would engage in a reflection exercise. Second-time offenders can be put on probation for one semester, subjected to 31 community working hours, and a 250 dollar fine. In this case, the parent or guardian notification about the misconduct of the student will also take place (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015).

Colleges may differ regarding how they deal with underage drinking. Public universities may be compelled to strictly adhere to state laws as opposed to private universities (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). This is mainly because public institutions receive funding from the states. This means that the penalties for A and B could be less significant if the regional university was a private institution since a private institution would be less compelled to adhere to state laws compared to a public institutions (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).


The case in Mullins v. Pine Manor forms judicial precedence in regard to the university’s liability on the safety of its students (Lake, 2011). The court argued that an individual assuming that other people will follow the criminal law did not affect the circumstances in that particular case. Additionally, the court's view that Pine Manor had a duty to act with utmost caution is found in community opinion that “colleges of ordinary prudence customarily exercise care to safeguard to guard the wellbeing of their resident college students, including seeking to maintain them safe against the criminal acts of third parties.” The college was in a position to carry out necessary procedures intended to ensure the safety of its students, and as a result, the students were not able to improve the lock on their doors or perhaps provide additional safeguards intended for themselves (Lake, 2011). Therefore, it was the duty of the school to take responsibility for their protection. Pinus radiata Manor took on that duty, for which college students were being charged possibly through tuition or dormitory fees. Sufficient security was part of the required services provided to college students (Lake, 2013).

The judgment of the court was that the crime was foreseeable and foreseen. The college supervisor warned its new college students during orientation about the risks of living near a metropolitan area at a female institution. Moreover, the trespassing incident during the previous night was enough to prompt duty. A had consumed 20 beers with the help of the regional hall director who is an employee of the university. Therefore, the residence hall director is liable for illegal purchase of alcohol on behalf of a minor. The employee showed great misconduct against the alcohol laws and regulations and was individually liable. Since A was raped, the university was liable for the safety of the student. The institution is tasked with the duty of taking care for the students in the institution (Lake, 2011).

B, on the other hand, had taken alcohol illegally and had sustained some injuries while trying to access the swimming pool. The university can be liable for not ensuring the safety of B (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). C, on the other hand, had been assigned to externship site and had sustained injuries in the process. The university was hence liable legally for the injuries the student sustained. The university had not carefully scrutinized the externship site for any safety issues that may have arisen and, therefore, the university would be held liable for the injuries sustained (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).

If the facts had arisen in 1985, such negligence would be assessed differently. In the 1980’s the law of negligence softened. The students did not have any constitutional rights (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). his is because the college enjoyed constitutional privileges. These rights include civil and contractual rights (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The freedom of speech was not allowed in the year 1985 (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). No viable causes of action were in existence. Education mal practices and any negligence were not actionable legally. This means that the college would not be held accountable for the injuries that A, B and C sustained (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The university would be scot free and none of the employees would be sued for the breach of duty. The law rarely took into consideration matters of higher education. It empowered institutions to have self-government. Institutions would hence handle the matters arising in the institutions independently without the laws or the courts interfering with them. The doctrine of loco parentis was still in force which allowed institutions to take up parental responsibilities. This denied the students any legal rights against the institution (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). A, B and C would not sue the institution for negligence since the institution acted like the parent by then. Higher education was not subjected to any federal regulation; hence, the regulations such as title ix were not in force. The school would not be compelled to take any safety measures for the students. A and B would be regarded as the proximate cause of harm. The law regarded the voluntary drinker as the proximate cause of any harm they experienced (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). Students who had illegally taken alcohol were blamed for any injuries that were caused by drinking. C on the other hand would not sue the university since there were no federal regulations that would compel the university to ensure the safety at the externship site (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015).


Title ix deals with discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. It seeks to stop sexual abuse based on discrimination in such institutions (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). It is a short statute that has wide coverage covering sexual harassment and sexually based violence. The institution has a legal obligation to eliminate any hostile environments and failure to do so by the institution will lead to gross violation (Lake, 2013). The institution may be cut from federal funding in such a case.

The U.S department of education provides the guidelines that concern the obligations that educational institutions have to carry out in order to address any sexual violence that may be experienced in schools (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). Sexual violence creates a hostile environment in the institutions and sometimes the learning process of students is crippled completely (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). A university, therefore, has to take some deliberate measures that would ensure that this does not happen. This includes: displaying notices against discrimination, having a Title IX coordinator, and having a clear grievance procedure for sexual abuse. School employees should be properly trained to address sexual violence, while complaints should be addressed promptly among others (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).

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If regional university is being audited for the compliance of Title IX compliance the auditor would check for some of the aspects explained below. The university should have a notice of non-discrimination. This notice should clearly specify that all acts of sexual harassment and violence are prohibited. A notice that is unclear may violate Title IX. The notice must be distributed widely across the university (Lake, 2011). The institution should also have a Title IX coordinator. The coordinator should be available in the schools according to the non-discrimination notice. The coordinator should not be assigned to any other responsibilities that go against Title IX. The coordinator coordinates the investigation and any disciplinary processes. In the case of A, the case should be clearly addressed by the institution’s Title IX coordinator (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). Proper investigations should be carried out by the coordinator to ensure that all disciplinary measures are taken according to the written regulations. The university employees should be properly trained to address any case of sexual violence. The employees should know what measures are supposed to be taken in the incidence of sexual violence and how best they can respond to ensure that the incidences of sexual violence are minimized (Lake, 2011). The residence hall director and all other employees should possess necessary knowledge about sexual violence on the campus.

In regard to the incidence that happened to A, the institution should have provided correct reporting options (Lake, 2011). The university should ensure that all students are aware of their right to report all incidences of sexual violence. The university should also facilitate the process of reporting. The school should have a grievance procedure to address sexual violence should they choose not to report to the police. The university should have a clear standard evidence for disciplinary hearings (Lake, 2013). The disciplinary measures taken should be standard to ensure the punishment of offenders.


The university can enforce certain policies that would minimize the incidences of A, B and C. In the case of A, the university can put in place strict alcohol regulations that would prevent underage drinking (Lake, 2011). Strict punitive measures should be taken regarding any violator who helps a minor to acquire alcohol. This policy would ensure that staff of the university is not engaged in the illegal purchase of alcohol by the minors. The staff should also be properly educated on how they can deal with such incidences. This would equip them with the necessary knowledge about the violence and help them to prevent such cases (Lake, 2011). The security of the hostels should be ensured. This would guarantee surveillance by members of the same gender as the students. The lady’s hostel should be under 24-hour surveillance by a lady say a matron. This was similar to what the jury found in the case of Mullins v. Pine Manor, in which the university should have employed guards to patrol the university (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). This would make the students’ security in hostels a priority. Any incidence of rape would be prevented by guards immediately coming to the rescue of the victim (Bickel & Lake, 1999). A policy should also be put in place to deal with the interaction of female students and any male visitors. This would ensure controlled interactions that would eliminate the cases of offenders scaring females.

As for the case of B, the university should have proper surveillance that would ensure that all illegal acts are monitored (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). The CCTV installation around the campus should be installed. Specific attention should be given to areas that have resulted in injuries in the past. Such areas may include the swimming pool that has resulted in injuries in the past. This would not only restrict underage drinking but also ensure that students who try to sneak to the restricted areas are monitored. This would ensure that B would be seen as trying to sneak and consequently injuries would be prevented (Lake, 2011). The walls of the swimming pool should be manned to ensure that any suspicious activities are monitored. The students should also be educated about the dangers of sneaking around areas that have restricted access to the swimming pool. Additionally, the university should hire guards that would be patrolling the grounds all around the university to ensure that acts of misconduct among students are prevented (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).

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C, on the other hand, was injured during an externship. This was based on the fact that the university had failed to properly investigate the dangers that were in the site (Bickel & Lake, 1999). The university should, therefore, carry out a detailed analysis before dispatching students for the externship. The analysis should focus on the safety and security of students. The students should also be educated about the safety at the externship sites. A student should be required to have an insurance to cover his/ her safety (Fossey & Eckes, 2015).

Scenario 2

The university is liable for the dismissal of D. It’s the responsibility of the university to screen all the applicants before admission. Screening is carried out to ensure that the applicants follow the entry requirements (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The entry requirements are mainly related to the academic field. Various courses have different academic requirements and screening is meant to ensure the success of individuals taking the courses. High school scores are important since they act as a foundation for the knowledge one will acquire in the university (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The university actually adds to the knowledge one has acquired in high school. It also helps determine the strengths and weaknesses of the student hence encouraging him/her to enroll in the best course suitable for him or her. Failure to review this set of requirements amounts to irregularity in the admission process and might cause problems for the student and the university. The admission of the student took place despite the fact that his/her high school grades were low (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). This means that the admission was irregularly carried out by the admissions body (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The admissions officer relied on the judgment of student which was wrong. The university hence knowingly admitted an academically qualified student willingly. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when the student is found to be a poor performer (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). The mentor who was assigned to the student did not carry out his/her task according to the plan. The mentor was supposed to give academic guidance to D to influence his grades positively. The mentor is liable for the negligence of this duty. The professor is also liable for the negligence of duty since he has not been able to carry out his duties of lecturing and delivering the content of lectures effectively (Fossey & Eckes, 2015). However, the student failed in the unit which raised several legal issues. Due to this confession, the university had the right to put him on probation and eventually follow up by expelling him (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). It’s the right of the university’s administration body to rightfully expel the student who does not meet the set academic requirements (Brooks & Scanlan, 2015). Such include putting the student on probation and eventually expelling him/her. The university is however required to give a notice to the student and ensure a fair hearing. This means that the student with a learning disability should be considered before eventual expulsion (Bickel & Lake, 1999). The student did not reveal this during the admission which gives the school some legal grounds to admit the student. However, the student revealed this to the mentor and nothing was done, which puts the university in a position to take responsibility for their actions.

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