The local police department charged Steven Gabrilowitz (plaintiff) with assault with intent to commit rape. Gabrilowitz and the alleged victim were students at the University of Rhode Island. Gabrilowitz then also was charged with violating the university’s Community Standards of Behavior. The university directed Gabrilowitz to defend against these allegations at a hearing before the University Board on Student Conduct. The university sent a letter that explained the procedures for the hearing and stated that Gabrilowitz was prohibited from bringing an attorney to the hearing. However, Gabrilowitz was permitted to bring an advisor of his choice from the community. Gabrilowitz sued university officials (defendants) in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the university from conducting the hearing unless it allowed him to bring an attorney. Gabrilowitz requested only the presence and counsel of an attorney. He did not seek to have his attorney participate in direct or cross-examination. The trial court granted the preliminary injunction, and the university appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.