As a student at Florida A&M University College of Law (FAMU), you're expected to behave responsibly and ethically at all times. FAMU holds students to rigorous behavioral and academic standards, and it's the student's responsibility to learn and understand which rules apply to them.
If you're a student facing academic misconduct allegations, you're entitled to seek attorney representation. However, here's what you should know at this stage about the FAMU College of Law disciplinary process.
FAMU Student Policies
If you're a student at FAMU College of Law, you agree to abide by the following policies.
- FAMU Student Code of Conduct
- College of Law Student Code of Conduct
- Florida Rules of Professional Conduct
Below, we'll consider how these rules apply and what may happen if you're accused of breaching these rules.
“Academic misconduct” means any action intended to give the student an unfair advantage. It's essentially behavior that goes against the institution's academic standards.
The two main examples of academic misconduct, or academic dishonesty, are cheating and plagiarism.
Cheating is any attempt to use unauthorized material or to receive or give unauthorized assistance in an academic setting. Examples of cheating include:
- Wrongful possession of exam materials
- Using unauthorized materials in an exam setting, e.g., study aids
- Communicating with another student in a prohibited way, e.g., whispering during an exam
Cheating comes in many forms, and the College of Law takes any cheating accusation seriously.
Plagiarism is any attempt by a student to knowingly submit work in their own name which doesn't belong to them. Plagiarism includes:
- Submitting a document identical to work undertaken by someone else, e.g., another student or author
- Rewriting someone else's paper and passing it off as their own
- Submitting work without using proper citations, i.e., trying to pass off someone else's ideas as the student's own, original idea
Even if the student doesn't cheat or plagiarize anything, any attempt to help another student act dishonestly is, in itself, academic misconduct.
When a student participates in legal clinics as part of their studies, FAMU measures the student's behavior against the standards required by Florida’s Professional Code of Conduct.
In short, this means that you're expected to behave like a lawyer when undertaking legal work. To be clear, legal work includes unpaid work for law firms, government offices, and any other organization offering legal services.
The University may take action against you for academic or professional misconduct if you breach the rules.
FAMU College of Law Misconduct Sanctions
If you're found responsible for academic misconduct, the College of Law may impose one or more of the following penalties.
- Denial of academic credit
- Reduction of grade for a piece of work
- Expulsion from FAMU and the College
- Receipt of a formal reprimand from the College
- Suspension from your program
- Revocation of the law degree
There are also a range of penalties that may apply for nonacademic misconduct. The College will consider your academic record and any other mitigating circumstances when deciding which sanctions to apply.
FAMU College of Law holds its students to high ethical and academic standards. Any academic misconduct accusation could jeopardize your future legal career. If you're facing sanctions, contact an experienced student discipline defense attorney for assistance.
College of Law Disciplinary Process
There is a clear disciplinary process for handling academic misconduct accusations.
The student receives an Administrative Request to Appear at a briefing.
The student can either:
- Admit to the violation
- Deny the allegations and request a hearing
- Waive their right to a hearing and seek an informal resolution
If a student waives their right to a hearing, they can't appeal the decision if they're found in breach of the rules. They can only appeal the sanctions imposed.
A student can have an attorney present at the hearing; however, the student must speak for themselves. The student can also request witnesses.
The hearing body will accept any evidence it deems appropriate. It's on the University to prove that, based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” the student is responsible for academic misconduct. Meaning the University must prove its case. It's not your job to prove you didn't violate the rules. An attorney can give you more advice on this.
Students can appeal academic misconduct decisions at FAMU. The Student Handbook includes the appeals process.
- The student appeals to the Dean of Students within ten business days of receiving the written decision
- The student must set out specific grounds for appeal; for example, a significant procedural error, or the discovery of new information which wasn't available at the time of the hearing
- The Dean's decision is final, so there's no further right of appeal after this stage
The outcome of the appeal could seriously affect your ability to graduate or practice law. An experienced attorney can advise if there are grounds for appeal and will help you present your case in the best possible light.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help With Misconduct Allegations
Academic misconduct allegations are potentially very serious for law students. If FAMU sanctions you for academic misconduct, you face penalties ranging from lower grades to expulsion from the program.
Any misconduct sanction on your academic record can have long-term consequences and may adversely affect your future career prospects. To ensure FAMU College of Law treats you fairly and follows due process, you need a skilled attorney advisor in your corner. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced attorney-advisor who understands how to help law students facing even the most serious academic misconduct allegations, and he's ready and willing to help you.
Don't face your struggles alone – call the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686 or tell us about your case by completing the online form.