Established in 2006, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law (Kline) is the law school of Drexel University. The school is one of Drexel's most recent additions, offering the Juris Doctor, LLM, and Master of Legal Studies degrees. Additionally, Kline offers joint degree programs and enjoys full accreditation by the American Bar Association. Kline adopts a forward-thinking and adaptive approach to its curriculum, with emphasis on experiential learning. Its Trial Advocacy program is nationally-recognized for excellence.
As a diverse law school, Kline prides itself on its inclusive and collaborative community. However, it is strict when it comes to enforcing standards of academic integrity. Ethical behavior is high on the list of faculty expectations, as is the avoidance of academic misconduct. Students must follow the code of conduct closely or face debilitating sanctions like dismissal, expulsion, or the withdrawal of their degree. Without the help of an Attorney-Advisor, law students risk losing more than just the years spent studying – they may not become attorneys at all.
Defining Academic Misconduct at Kline
The Office of Student Conduct and the Office of the Provost oversee the school's Academic Integrity Conduct Process and community standards. These policies apply to every student enrolled at Kline, regardless of the individual school they attend. The Academic Integrity Policy lists prohibited actions relating to academic misconduct and gives examples of each infarction. The University Code of Conduct outlines these actions in-depth. It also highlights adjudication procedures and sanctions for first-time and multiple offenders. According to the code, the academic integrity policy prohibits the following activities:
- Plagiarism: Students who plagiarize use the work of others without providing sources or citations. Other forms of plagiarism involve including previous work completed by the student for another class.
- Cheating: When students cheat, they commit a deliberate act of deception meant to gain an academic advantage over fellow students. Cheating also means allowing another student to copy one's work, unauthorized use of materials such as notes or study guides, or taking an examination for another person.
- Fabrication: The falsification of documents or knowingly providing wrong research findings is a form of fraud. Other examples listed in the code include submitting written work or academic exercises prepared by another person.
- Miscellaneous Academic Misconduct Violations: The following examples give students an idea of what actions constitute academic misconduct. The policy lists selling or buying parts of an exam, bribing administrators to receive a higher mark on a test, or changing a grade or transcript in an unauthorized manner.
Any member of the Drexel community who suspects that a code violation took place must report the incident through a formal complaint to the Office of Student Conduct. Depending on the number of violations committed by the student and their severity, a case resolution and investigation process starts.
Academic Integrity Conduct Process
Students suspected of committing an academic integrity violation must meet with a faculty member to discuss the issue. If the student and professor agree to resolve the issue, the professor informs the Department Head or Program Director. If the student denies involvement or the case is complex, the professor must notify the Office of Student Conduct. Student Conduct conducts a preliminary review of the complaint and sends the student a notice of conference while scheduling a pre-hearing conference. During this conference, the administration explains the process, possible sanctions, and the code to the student.
Although a student may have an advisor from within the Drexel community for support and may not bring an external representative. If the student admits to an infarction, they come to a collaborative resolution through the Conduct Case Administrator. If the student denies responsibility, they must attend an administrative hearing for minor infarctions or a university hearing if the possible sanctions are suspension or expulsion. After a university hearing, The Board makes sanctions recommendations and provides them to the Hearing Advisor, who informs the student.
Fortunately, students may appeal the board's decision. However, students only have the opportunity to appeal under specific conditions. These are unduly harsh sanctions inconsistent with the violation, availability of new information that may alter the case outcome, improper procedure, or insufficient information. The student must initiate the academic sanction appeal process within seven days of receiving the hearing decision. The student may appeal first to the Dean of the College of Law, and if denied, may appeal again to the Provost. The latter's decision is final.
Sanctions for Academic Integrity Violations at Kline
The sanctions for academic misconduct vary depending on whether students are first-time or multiple offenders. For first-time violations, the student receives academic and not disciplinary sanctions. However, repeat offenders do receive disciplinary sanctions, which include:
- Deferred suspension for a minimum of three terms
- Withholding of a degree
- Withdrawal of a degree
- Permanent dismissal with no chance for readmission
With so much at stake, students need the help of an Attorney-Advisor who specializes in student defense. Even a suspension may remain on a student's disciplinary record, posing challenges for their career options after graduation.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento helps students fight allegations of academic dishonesty across the United States day in and day out. With his specialized experience in student defense, Attorney-Advisor Lento understands how investigations and hearing and administrative panels work. When a student is falsely accused, Attorney Lento will work towards a dismissal of charges, and when necessary, Attorney Lento will negotiate the school and parties involved for the least damaging outcome for the student. Whether the issue relates to an honest mistake or is a second or even third violation, every student deserves a fair hearing and appeal if they disagree with a panel's decision.
With years of experience handling even the most complex academic misconduct cases, Attorney-Advisor Lento stands up for students nationwide when they need it the most.
If you or a loved one receive notice of an academic integrity violation at Kline, don't wait to take action. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a discreet and thorough consultation at 888-535-3686.