Higher Education

Higher Education

Saiber’s Higher Education Law practice encompasses a diverse range of issues confronting public and private universities and colleges, including federal and state constitutional requirements, statutes and regulations, employment counseling and litigation, real estate, financial services, bankruptcy, environmental, and government liability. We understand that educational institutions have specific needs as they operate in a wide variety of roles as educators, employers, purchasers of goods and services, lessors/lessees, owners of real property, and financial managers.

Over the years, providing strategic counseling and litigation services to institutions of higher education has become a niche practice for Saiber – one in which we are experienced and well-versed. Having worked with public and private universities, colleges, and community colleges around the state for nearly two decades, our clients appreciate our understanding of their unique business needs and our ability to meet their strategic objectives.

Among our higher education clients are: Rutgers University, Princeton University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Kean University and Fashion Institute of Technology, among others.

Litigation

When litigation arises, our lawyers are highly experienced in representing universities and colleges in federal and state courts, as well as before federal and state administrative agencies. We have defended institutions of higher education in litigation involving professors, administrators and students who bring action under a variety of circumstances, including academic, professional, disciplinary, civil rights, and employment related matters.

In addition, our team regularly advises our clients on best practices and preventative measures to avoid litigation and to minimize risk whenever possible.

Investigations

Saiber has earned the reputation as the "go-to" firm for conducting internal investigations for universities and colleges in New Jersey.  Our attorneys have conducted dozens of independent investigations for universities regarding a range of sensitive issues including those related to faculty, staff and student misconduct, involving alleged discrimination, administrative misconduct, academic integrity, and athletics, challenges to student disciplinary actions, student sexual assault claims, and whistleblower claims, among other matters.

As part of our investigations, our attorneys conduct in-depth interviews, review, gather and document relevant evidence, prepare detailed investigative reports, and if needed, work in parallel with law enforcement agencies.

Counseling

We understand that each university and college is unique.  By way of practice, we become immersed in our clients’ culture in order to ensure a cohesive approach that aligns with its standards and principals.  We work closely with senior university leadership to develop internal policies and procedures, comply with extensive government regulations, address student and staff disciplinary actions, and negotiate and draft employment agreements. 

We have provided counsel in a range of issues, including:

  • Bullying and harassment  
  • Challenges to student disciplinary actions (academic and behavioral)
  • Student sexual assaults
  • Title IX compliance
  • Alcohol policies and consumption
  • First Amendment freedoms of students and student groups
  • Student disabilities and accommodations
  • Whistleblower claims
  • Employee terminations and severance agreements
  • Record retention policies and practices
  • Social media policies
  • Student privacy issues
  • Internal and governmental investigations
  • Foreign study programs and the Foreign Corruption Practices Act

From large universities to community colleges, we strive to provide efficient, cost-effective solutions to legal issues. 

Members

DanaLynn T. Colao

DanaLynn T. Colao
Member
t: 973-645-4837
dcolao@saiber.com

Sean R. Kelly

Sean R. Kelly
Member
t: 973-645-4801
skelly@saiber.com

William F. Maderer

William F. Maderer
Member
t: 973-645-4814
wmaderer@saiber.com

Jennifer R. O’Connor

Jennifer R. O’Connor
Member
t: 973-622-3697
joconnor@saiber.com

Joan M. Schwab

Joan M. Schwab
Member
t: 973-645-4829
jschwab@saiber.com

Counsel

John M. Losinger

John M. Losinger
Counsel
t: 973-232-0606
jlosinger@saiber.com

Associates

Monvan Hu

Monvan Hu
Associate
t: 973-232-0607
mhu@saiber.com

Ryan E. San George

Ryan E. San George
Associate
t: 973-845-7728
rsangeorge@saiber.com

Among the colleges/universities for whom we have conducted internal investigations are:

  • A university whose Department Chair was alleged to have engaged in improper computer sexting
  • A university whose varsity football coach had improper contact with a faculty member regarding a student's grades
  • A university whose varsity lacrosse coach was accused of harassment toward his players
  • A university whose varsity football defensive coordinator was accused of bullying a minority athlete
  • A university whose Dean of Admission was accused of favoritism in the admission process
  • A university whose faculty member was accused of faking a disability preventing him from working
  • A college whose construction bidding process was alleged to have been improperly implemented
  • A college where members of its Board of Trustees were alleged to have conflicts of interest
  • A university whose member of the Board of Trustees was alleged to have improperly influenced the promotion process
  • A university accused of overlooking a student’s mental health disability in its graduate program
  • A university whose tenured faculty member was accused of sexually harassing a student
  • A university whose senior Dean was alleged to have failed to report sexual harassment

Among the colleges/universities for whom we have represented in litigation are:

  • A private University in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by a student who alleged the University failed to provide reasonable accommodations for his mental health condition
  • A private University in a lawsuit brought a female student who alleged the University failed to prevent a sexual assault committed by a male student in her on-campus dormitory
  • A public University in a Title IX lawsuit brought by a female student who alleged that the University failed to prevent a sexual assault allegedly committed by two former University football players
  • A public University and several of its faculty and administrators in a lawsuit brought by a former graduate student where the former student alleged that the University wrongfully terminated his Ph.D.-track status.
  • A public University in a lawsuit brought by a former medical student, who claimed that the university had discriminated against her by failing to accommodate her alleged disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
  • A private University and officers thereof, and its insurer, in a breach of employment contract and age discrimination suit in state and federal court
  • A public University and one of its professors in a suit where a former student claimed denial of substantive and procedural due process in a dismissal from medical school
  • A public University and the Dean thereof in a suit where a former student claimed breach of contract, denial of due process, and military status discrimination in his dismissal from the medical school
  • A public University in a lawsuit brought by a graduate nursing student who was expelled because of inadequate academic performance
  • A public University in a lawsuit brought by a former medical student who alleged that the school suspended him in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech by publishing a racially-charged opinion in the student newspaper