COVID-19 Resources


Karen Edler and Jackie Esposito, attorneys in Price, Meese, Shulman & D’Arminio, P.C.’s Education Law Group, successfully litigated an Article 78 proceeding in New York’s Supreme Court vindicating the rights of three New York University (“NYU”) students, and returning them to the classroom.

In what is believed to be the first reported decision of the issue of a private university’s right to suspend students for COVID-19 violations, the Honorable Carol R. Edmead, J.S.C. entered a decision on October 21, 2020 which held that NYU’s suspension of three NYU students for violating NYU’s student conduct policies “are arbitrary, capricious and constitute an abuse of discretion.” Judge Edmead annulled the NYU administrative proceedings against the students by voiding and vacating all of the sanctions, including the suspensions, imposed against all three students. Judge Edmead also directed that NYU remove the disciplinary suspensions from NYU’s official student records, ordered NYU to keep the students in class and required the university to provide them with extensions of time to complete work missed as a result of NYU’s decisions suspending the students.

The Court ruled that since none of the three students received any “pre-conduct notice for the specific social gatherings they attended in early August” during their summer break, the sanctions imposed upon them violated the students’ right to proper notice. Although NYU had sent several communications over the summer to the students regarding rules governing student conduct in light of COVID-19, the Court concluded that those communications placed the students on notice that “the type of conduct they engaged in could subject them to sanctions them [sic] during the academic year,” but did not provide them with the requisite notice that such conduct during the preceding summer break would subject them to discipline. The Court also noted that NYU’s Additional Guidelines communication on September 3, 2020, after the students’ suspension and internal appeals to NYU, explicitly advising students to “stay away from gatherings where there are no masks or distancing, even at off-campus private residences” was “an acknowledgement that its earlier communications did not sufficiently advise students that off-campus gatherings would subject students to discipline.” As a result, the Court found that NYU did not give the students “the requisite pre-conduct notice” and it granted the relief sought by the students.

If you have any questions about this decision, please contact Karen Edler or Jackie Esposito.