Law School Student Defense- Baylor University

Baylor University imposes a high standard of academic integrity on its students in order to uphold a community that supports scholarship, research, and learning. The Baylor University School of Law expects law students to abide by these same standards, as well as demonstrate behavior befitting legal professionals. Attorneys are endowed with public trust and are therefore held to standards of professional behavior set by the American Bar Association, state bar associations, and state laws.

As Baylor Law School prepares students to become practicing attorneys, the institution considers integrity and honesty in academic and professional work as vital to legal education. Students who do not demonstrate the qualities required to be an attorney may face disciplinary action from Baylor Law. If a student is found guilty of academic misconduct, it could jeopardize their legal career. They may struggle to find clerkships or employment, or not pass the state bar association's character and fitness evaluation.

If you are a Baylor Law student accused of academic misconduct, contact a student defense attorney-advisor for help.

Student Misconduct at Baylor Law School

Students at Baylor Law must abide by the law school's Honor Code. The Code “applies to any alleged incident of misconduct related to any academic matter involving the program of the Law School, regardless of where such alleged incident occurred.”

In addition to following the Honor Code, Baylor Law students must also adhere to the Baylor University Student Code of Conduct, which covers all forms of misconduct, not just academic misconduct.

Examples of Prohibited Conduct at Baylor Law

The Baylor Law Honor Code lists some of the following actions as violations:

  • Substituting for another student during an exam
  • Copying from another student's exam paper during an exam
  • Giving or receiving exam information without authority
  • Using unauthorized material during an exam
  • Taking time beyond that which is allowed to complete an exam
  • Stealing, buying, obtaining, selling, or giving away part or all of an unadministered examination
  • Divulging contents of an essay or exam in a systematic and coordinated way when the instructor has prohibited doing so
  • Failing to notify the Dean or appropriate faculty that one has come into contact with an unadministered exam
  • Submitting work prepared fully or in part by another as one's own work
  • Submitting work that incorporates the substance or literal expression of the work of another, without giving proper credit to the original author
  • Taking, keeping, misplacing, tampering with, or damaging the property of Baylor University
  • Misrepresenting facts about oneself for the purpose of obtaining an advantage
  • Knowingly or negligently submitting false or misleading information concerning requirements fulfilled with any externship or clinical program undertaken for credit

How Does Baylor Law Handle Misconduct Allegations?

Baylor Law has an Honor Council that oversees the implementation and enforcement of the Honor Code. It includes an Investigatory Committee and an Adjudicatory Committee. The Honor Council is comprised of students as well as two faculty members.

Reporting and Investigation

Students can report suspected violations of the Honor Code to the Dean or a faculty member whose course is involved. When faculty members receive allegations of academic misconduct, they can choose to handle the matter directly with the student or to refer it to the Dean. The Dean, in consultation with the faculty member involved, can decide to settle the case by agreement with the student, or decide to dismiss the report. The Dean may also launch an investigation by reporting the complaint to the Investigatory Committee of the Honor Council.

The Investigatory Committee conducts a confidential investigation into the matter and produces a report either dismissing the case or submitting it for further review to the Adjudicatory Committee. In the report, the Investigatory Committee must also recommend a punishment, detail the evidence accumulated, and list the witnesses.

Adjudicatory Committee Hearing

Once a student is formally charged with an Honor Code violation, the Adjudicatory Committee holds a hearing. Concerning the hearing, the accused student may:

  • Have a clear, concise statement of charges against them
  • Have adequate time to prepare a defense
  • Appear personally before the Adjudicatory Committee
  • Have counsel or representative of their choice from among the student body or otherwise
  • Present evidence and cross-examine witnesses
  • Have an open or closed hearing, per their choice
  • Remain silent without such silence being construed against them

Once the hearing is over, the Adjudicatory Committee adjourns to determine innocence or guilt and recommends a penalty. The Committee must vote by three-fifths in favor of guilt for the determination to be guilty. The Committee's decision and recommended penalty are sent to the student within 24 hours of the hearing.

Appeals

Students found guilty of an Honor Code violation by the Adjudicatory Committee may submit an appeal to the Dean within 10 days of the decision. The Dean will convene a faculty review committee, which can reverse or uphold the decision, as well as modify the imposed sanction. The decision of this faculty review committee is final.

Potential Sanctions for Misconduct at Baylor Law

The Adjudicatory Committee can recommend one or more of the following sanctions if they find a student guilty of an Honor Code violation:

  • Expulsion with or without the right to reapply at a later date
  • Suspension
  • Probation
  • Public reprimand by the Dean
  • Denied course credit
  • Private reprimand

Seeking Help from a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor

If you are facing an academic misconduct violation at Baylor Law, how can an attorney-advisor help? An advisor familiar with student discipline systems can represent you at your hearing, help you gather evidence, and prepare questions for witnesses. Consulting with an attorney-advisor increases your chances of a favorable outcome.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has assisted law students at Baylor Law School and across the country in academic misconduct cases and can help you protect your future as a lawyer. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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