At the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), upholding a learning environment where every student has an equal chance to succeed is of vital importance. Honesty and integrity in academic work help promote a community of scholars that is fair and of a rigorous nature. IIT's law school, the Chicago-Kent College of Law, abides by these same principles. As an institution preparing future lawyers, Chicago-Kent is dedicated to helping students understand the ethical and moral requirements of practicing law, and therefore expects all students to abide by conduct standards.
Law students at Chicago-Kent who do not demonstrate respect for conduct standards will face disciplinary action. The law school may impose severe sanctions, which could set back a student's progress toward getting a law degree. In addition to sanctions, law students with a misconduct notation on their record may struggle to find clerkships, employment, or to pass the moral character and fitness evaluation with the state bar association.
If you are a Chicago-Kent law student who's been accused of a conduct violation, a specialized student defense attorney-advisor may be able to help.
Student Misconduct at Chicago-Kent College of Law
Students at the Chicago-Kent College of Law must follow the rules set out in the Student Handbook. The Handbook contains the Code of Conduct, which describes prohibited behavior for all matriculated or non-matriculated students. The Code also lays out the disciplinary procedures for handling an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct. With the exception of IIT's university-wide sexual harassment policies, the Chicago-Kent Code of Conduct governs all behavior of College of Law students.
Examples of academic misconduct
The Chicago-Kent College of Law Code of Conduct prohibits forms of both academic and non-academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include:
- Representing the work of another to be one's own
- Giving, obtaining, or soliciting unauthorized assistance or using unauthorized material to prepare material for a class, law review assignment, moot court, client counseling competition, or essay contest
- Knowingly or recklessly hiding or stealing library materials
- Defacing library books or materials
- Violating rules imposed by an instructor or exam proctor
- Giving, receiving, or soliciting assistance or information from any person during an exam
- Using unauthorized material during an exam
- Writing after the exam time has expired
- Making material misrepresentations to the Admissions Office, Career Services Office, or a potential employer
- Seeking to gain an unfair advantage over another student
Examples of non-academic misconduct
Chicago-Kent law school students may also face disciplinary action for the following behaviors:
- Cheating, plagiarizing, or knowingly furnishing false information to the university
- Forging, altering, or using university documents, records, or instruments of identification for fraud
- Intentionally obstructing or disrupting teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other university activities on IIT's premises
- Stealing from or damaging university premises
Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Misconduct at Chicago-Kent
At Chicago-Kent College of Law, alleged violations of the Code of Conduct go before the Law School Discipline Tribunal. Every year there are two tribunals, each comprised of two faculty members and one student. When any person believes a violation has occurred, they must submit a formal complaint, in writing, to the Dean.
Investigation by Prosecutor
After receiving a formal complaint of misconduct, the Dean designates a Prosecutor to investigate the claim and represent the school's interest in the matter. The Prosecutor will inform all involved parties about the complaint, including the alleged violator, and begin an investigation. If the Prosecutor finds no probable cause to believe a violation of the Code of Conduct has occurred, then the matter does not go further. If the Prosecutor does find probable cause, however, they must charge the accused student with a violation and submit it to the Law School Discipline Tribunal.
The Tribunal will schedule a hearing, at which the accused student may have anyone represent them, including an attorney. Before the hearing, both the alleged violator and the Prosecutor have the opportunity to submit witness lists and evidence. At the hearing, both parties can make opening statements, cross-examine witnesses, present evidence, challenge evidence, and make closing statements. Once the hearing is over, the Tribunal must begin deliberations as soon as possible. Two members of the Tribunal must vote in favor of guilt for there to be a guilty determination.
If the Tribunal votes “guilty,” there will be a hearing to determine the penalty no more than one week after the violation hearing. Both the Prosecutor and violator can present evidence at the penalty hearing.
Students found guilty of misconduct violations can send an appeal to the Dean within 10 days of the notification of sanctions. After sending their appeal, the student must file a written brief with the Dean within another 21 days. The Dean will discuss the appeal at the next regularly scheduled faculty meeting. The student and the Prosecutor can be present to make oral arguments before the faculty. The faculty will decide the appeal, and the decision is final.
Potential Penalties for Misconduct
The Law School Discipline Tribunal at Chicago-Kent may impose one or more of the following sanctions, by majority vote:
- Grade “E” in the course the violation occurred
- Loss of credit in the course the violation occurred
- Incomplete grade in the course the violation occurred
- Cancellation of work done
- Any other sanction or variation of the above sanctions deemed appropriate by the Tribunal
Working With a Student Discipline Attorney-Advisor
If you are a law student at Chicago-Kent accused of a Code of Conduct violation, you may feel overwhelmed by the formal disciplinary procedures. An attorney-advisor specialized in student discipline and defense can help you through the process, and even represent you at the violation hearing.
Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country with misconduct accusations. If you feel your future as a lawyer is in jeopardy over an allegation of misconduct, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.