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I am 58 y/o, a woman of color with a learning disabilities…

Customer Question
I am 58 y/o...

I am 58 y/o, a woman of color with a learning disabilities diagnosed halfway through my MA in Counseling Psychology program at JFKU in Pleasant Hill Ca. With only one quarter left to finish my degree, I was blindsided when the school put me on probation, quickly followed by suspension from school and now expulsion. I appealed to the president of jfku, but she is standing firmly behind the dean's expulsion decision. The dean told me their decision is final and no further options are available to me, the buck stops at the president's decision.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

JFKU is in Pleasant Hill California. I have reached out to Leigh Law firm in SF, but I am not able to connect with an attorney to even hire if that is my next step. I feel I have been discriminated, not given any hearings and only one academic counseling from the school.

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

I am not understanding your question. My "case" is around wrongfully expelled from a private university in PH, Ca. I was a full time student until end of Sept

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/27/2017
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,423
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
Verified

Hello! I am a California licensed attorney admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating so all that means is that you can count on me to help today.

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. What specific questions do you have? Additionally, Most people believe a phone call is the easiest and most efficient way to handle problems. Accordingly, you will receive an automatic phone call request. If you would like a phone call, please click “Accept” when prompted.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
is the $59 in addition to the $47? Would it be helpful for me to send all the "stuff" school is basing my expulsion and also my appeal response?
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Do you specialize in adults with learning disabilities getting higher education?
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
how come I am not getting any response back from you?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

I'm sorry for the delay. Yes, the $59 would be in addition to the $47, but it's not required for you to have a phone call. You don't have to send me the stuff for the expulsion, your description will work just fine. And I worked in higher education for 12 years and I have worked with adults with learning disabilities in higher ed as well for most of that time.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Ok, I am thoroughly confused. Please help me out. I am not understanding your process
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm curious about the specific questions you had regarding this situation. What exactly can I help you better understand today?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Since JFKU is a private school, now under a corporation, is there any alternatives after being turned down by the president of the university? What can I do at this point? I only have a quarter (3 months) left before I would have graduated. I did not have a hearing in which I was able to defend myself and the charges made against me, the reasons why I did what I did that got my probation turned into suspension followed quickly to expulsion. Do I need an attorney and if so, what is the likely hood of getting it over turned?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. The best thing that you could do is take it to court or to a mediator (if the student handbook requires you to go through a mediator). Your claim would be since they did not give you a hearing, then it would be a breach. An attorney is not normally required, but but it could help you because they can understand the litigation process in your local county. To help you understand, a breach of contract just simply means that one party was obligated to perform and they have either have not performed or have said that they will not perform. Typically, the aggrieved party is entitled to be returned to the same position they were in before the breach. This could include overturning the previous decision plus your attorney's fees. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract (click here). It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
According to the Dean of the school, she states they have sent me all the information and that they HAVE done everything according to the dean. Also, I might add that JFKU in Pleasant Hill Ca is primarily "funded" by their law school/program. That intimidates me as they will have all the "expertise" at their disposal and guidance. So how would I deal with that, particularly since I do not feel they have done things correctly? How does an individual fight a law school and get a fair hearing.
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

I understand. Sometimes, when it appears as if a party is more powerful, then you have to consider what your best alternative is here. Generally, they may have access to legal nerds, but that doesn't guarantee anything. What matters is whether they actually sent you any information regarding your hearing and gave you a real chance to participate in the hearing. For instance, if they sent it to an address from which you had moved, if they switched the time, or if they just simply did not do it, then they would have breached the contract.

There may be lawyers that can help you out. One of the hardest things to do sometimes is find a lawyer that you can trust. Google searches are a good place to start, but usually the lawyers who pay the most can get bumped up to be on the first page regardless of their quality. One thing I recommend is going through your state’s lawyer referral service (LRS). The LRS in each state typically requires the attorney to have several years of practice, be free of discipline, and have adequate staffing to assist people. Here is the link for the California LRS - click here.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Since I was expelled from the school, who am I allowed to talk to at the administration level at school? Is there a time sensitive/ period in which I can "appeal" or go to mediation? Did you look at JFKU's student handbook to get the information stating I had to go through mediation?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Sadly, if you spoke with the President, there's probably no one else at the school with whom you could speak. You may want to check the handbook to find out if there is a higher appeal process. Most of the time, you usually only have 3 days to appeal, but it depends on what the school decided specifically. Unfortunately, I don't have access to their updated catalog. Howewver, their 2016-2017 catalog says that you can appeal ot the Director of Student Affairs within 10 working days of the date of expulsion. If you haven't tried that yet, you may want to do that now. Otherwise, you'll have to take action through court or through informal mediation with the school to settle the matter.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
When the president sent her response, she added an attachment with the appeal process. But I am not sure why that was attached as the Dean stated the buck stops with the president's decision.
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Typically, it stops there because the prez has ultimate authority in those situations, unfortunately.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
am I under any time constraints
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

only the breach of contract statute of limitations which is 6 years in CA

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Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

My sincerest apologies, bu t I have to step away from the computer; however, our conversation does not have to end at this point. You can always come back here to continue to ask questions and I can chat with you indefinitely until you are 100% satisfied with my answers.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
After I was given 6 months probation, I felt intimidated to have a meeting with the very people who had placed me on probation, so I requested a student advocate to be there to be my support person at the meeting. Well that little request quickly escalated to having the student advocate, her boss above her and the dean, who was suppose to be the neutral party to make sure the meeting was conducted impartially, which it was not. She was not interested in my side and basically poo poo'd my reasons. She then proceeded to sentence me with suspension from school.I was in shell shock, traumatized from the meeting. Yes, she had said she was the point of contact and I sort of forgot it due to shell shock from school and my Mom's heart attack. I also have a fear of people in authoritative positions and I had missed my 10 days opportunity to appeal my case due to my mother having a heart attack and in the hospital during my appeal process time. I also was afraid to let the dean know I was going to go against her decision, thinking I would merely be pouring gasoline on an already inflamed situation, so I reached out to someone who I felt had been compassionate with me during my schooling. I was not given an opportunity or meeting to have my "evidence," supportive people speaking on my behalf etc. My phone call to another faculty member caused me to be expelled.My other question is since most of the complaints and bases for my expulsion was directly linked to a letter a student, possibly a collaborative letter a student had sent to the admin in which she blasted me, projected her shit onto me in the letter, exaggerated parts of it, third party telling and also disclosing some personal "client" like information that was shared between us in classroom dyad exercises, is that or would that be considered liable, character deformation or whatever that is called? Would I have a case against this student for what she chose to write? I was not allowed to defend myself against all those accusasions she stated? Doesn't the school have to provide me with an opportunity to defend myself? 90% of what the school is basing my expulsion is based off of that student's letter, which she wrote at the end of the 2nd year of the program, right before starting the clinical training period, which I was not aware of the letter until after my suspension and upon my requesting what the exact complaints against me were.
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Is my session over? Is that why I am not getting any response back from you?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

I'm sorry for the delay. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had to step away from the CPU for the evening, but that I would be back on in the morning. Regardless, as far as the defamation part, it is possible that you could bring a defamation claim. Defamation is generally a false and defamatory statement, published to a third party, that causes harm. That may be a separate issue you want to address. The school does have to give you an opportunity to be heard and if you didn't feel like they did that, you may need to consider a lawsuit or informal mediation on the basis of breach of contract.

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