Student Defense - Duquesne University’s School of Law

For over 100 years, Duquesne University's Thomas R. Kline School of Law has served as a bastion of education, forming attorneys, judges, and legal professionals working in all 50 states and overseas. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne University's JD and LLM programs challenge students through demanding coursework, specialized law clinics, and intense jurisprudential research and writing.

Although law students are tested on academic merits, not all required assessments are clinical hours, reading judicial opinions, or crafting arguments. One of the hallmarks of legal education and the foundation of a future career is obeying Duquesne University's academic integrity and ethical guidelines. The institution's code of conduct outlines the strict rules and regulations students must follow to remain enrolled. Punishments for academic misconduct and ethical violations are not only severe, but they will affect you when selecting a career.

The legal sector does not take chances on troublemakers—academic, behavioral, or otherwise. You must keep your record clean if you wish to gain employment with a firm or in a concentration of your choice. Therefore, if you're accused of misconduct at Duquesne University, retaining the assistance of a professional student defense advisor will ensure that you remain intact with your studies.

Student Conduct Requirements at Duquesne University

Like any law school, Duquesne University has a code of conduct governing all aspects of student life on and off campus. The code, called the Student Handbook at Duquesne University, has guidelines compiled and enforced by the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). The system highlights student success through developmental processes holding individuals accountable for their actions and providing opportunities for personal growth. To uphold the university's expectations, OSC protects the campus community from disruption and harm and encourages appropriate moral and spiritual student development.

Academic integrity is a cornerstone of any law school, and Duquesne University has various policies and procedures mitigating instances of inauthentic academic practice. Examples of misconduct include:

  • Cheating
  • Computer misuse
  • Disruption of the learning environment
  • Failure to achieve satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • Fraudulence
  • Plagiarism

How Duquesne University Handles Accusations of Student Misconduct

When a student is accused of misconduct, OSC will review the matter after notifying the accused (respondent) to set up an initial meeting. Misconduct may be handled informally if the respondent voluntarily admits their responsibility. The OSC will require they sign and return a Letter of Responsibility no later than five business days following notification of allegations. While there is no appeals process, suspension and expulsions may not be levied through informal means.

If the student does not respond to the OSC within five business days or the OSC decides to pursue separation from studies as a possible sanction, formal proceedings will commence.

During the investigative stage of the process, Duquesne University's Director of Student Conduct may request evidence or further testimony from the accuser (complainant), respondent, and any applicable witnesses. All supporting substantiation will be shared with the university Hearing Panel within the 60 days the school has to address misconduct. Parties also have up to five business days before the hearing to submit the names of witnesses testifying at the hearing and the party's “support person.” Duquesne University does not prohibit using a professional student defense advisor as a support person, but they may not speak on the party's behalf.

Duquesne University's Hearing Process

In a private hearing, the only parties present are the following:

  • Complainant and their support person
  • Respondent and their support person
  • Applicable witnesses
  • Hearing Panel members
  • The Director of Student Conduct

The hearing will proceed under the direction of the Hearing Panel Chair. The Chair may reasonably limit the scope and time devoted to each matter and will generally proceed as follows:

  1. The Chair will have all parties present and introduce themselves
  2. Allegations will be read to the respondent, who will answer with “responsible” or “not responsible” to each charge
  3. The complainant will then present their opening statement to the Hearing Panel
  4. The Hearing Panel will ask questions of the respondent
  5. Complainants will have an opportunity to suggest questions for the respondent to the Hearing Panel, who may ask some, none, or all of the questions at their discretion
  6. Witnesses will be called individually to present their information and answer questions from the Hearing Panel
  7. The complainant and respondent may suggest written questions to the Hearing Panel for each witness
  8. The Hearing Panel will have a second opportunity to ask questions of the complainant
  9. The complainant will present a closing statement
  10. The Hearing Panel will have a second opportunity to ask questions of the respondent
  11. The respondent will then present a closing statement

Following the proceedings, the Hearing Panel will deliberate to make a determination of responsibility based on the preponderance of the evidence standard. The Director of Student Conduct will notify each party in writing within five business days of the Hearing Panel's findings and subsequent sanctions.

Misconduct Sanctions at Duquesne University

Typically, sanctions will be proportionate to the misconduct. For example, a student responsible for cheating may be placed on academic probation. The school's Hearing Panel may enforce one or more of the following punishments for misconduct:

  • Written apology to the complainant
  • Academic or disciplinary probation
  • Remediation through educational projects or classes
  • Restitution
  • Loss of membership from on-campus clubs or groups
  • No-contact orders
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Duquesne University's Appeals Process

The complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal the Hearing Panel's decision within five business days after the determination. During the appellate process, all sanctions are held in abeyance.

The following are the only acceptable grounds for an appeal:

  • Material procedural defects substantially prevented the appealing party from a fair hearing
  • Evidence unknown at the time of the hearing exists that is sufficient to alter the findings

Retaining a Professional Student Defense Advisor

The long journey to becoming an upstanding lawyer is fraught with many challenges. Unfortunately, they aren't always academic in nature. Even honest, hard-working students sometimes make mistakes that put them at risk of ruination. Whether it be issues with academic integrity or allegations of unethical behavior at Duquesne University, you have the opportunity to hire a professional to help you gain a fair and just resolution.

Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm have assisted countless law students accused of misconduct. Law students and their parents can have peace of mind knowing that Joseph D. Lento can identify procedural defects, unsubstantiated determinations, and novel evidence. Furthermore, he has the negotiation skills to broker beneficial resolutions on behalf of beleaguered students with a school's internal Office of General Counsel, keeping students on the path toward becoming influential legal professionals. If you face misconduct allegations at Duquesne University, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686, or visit the confidential online consultation form.

Contact Us Today!

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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