Amid controversy surrounding the University’s handling of sexual assault cases, state legislators have proposed a bill that could conflict with UNC’s student-run Honor Court’s mission.
Earlier this month, Rep. John Bell, R-Craven, filed House Bill 843, which would grant students the right to hire a professional lawyer to represent them in cases of disciplinary misconduct.
Currently, students are allowed to be represented by only their peers. When a criminal case is concurrent with an Honor Court case, licensed attorneys are permitted to accompany students — but they can only confer with students and cannot address the panel.
Honor Court Bill
An N.C. House bill could alter the legal representation students seek before the Honor Court.
- The bill guarantees students the right to hire a licensed attorney for any type of proceeding regarding misconduct.
- Only students are currently allowed to represent their peers in most cases.
- The bill does not mention representation for faculty.
The bill proposes that any student or student organization charged with misconduct at an institution has the right to be represented by an attorney during the case.
“The bill simply provides language guaranteeing that students would be able to have formal legal representation during any formal disciplinary procedure,” said Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, one of the bill’s sponsors, in an email.