Becoming a licensed attorney comes with multiple privileges. However, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility towards clients and the law. At Georgia State University College of Law, students must demonstrate outstanding academic integrity or face multiple sanctions. Honesty and ethical behavior are desirable traits for law students that the College of Law starts to hone when training students to become lawyers. Whether it concerns fellow students, university staff members, or society as a whole, law students have a responsibility to maintain strong values. These characteristics allow them to become honest, fair, and firm advocates for their clients in the future.
Georgia State University College of Law prioritizes high academic standards and good conduct. Just as law students can make mistakes or poor decision, however, there are times when law school administrators make mistakes. These mistakes, ranging from administrative bias to overly harsh sanctions, have adverse consequences on the student's educational path and career trajectory. Without the help of an experienced attorney advisor, students may experience graduation delays or, worse, expulsion. Regardless of the potential outcome a law student may face, because any kind of adverse consequence can have severe effects on a law student's path, academic misconduct allegations must be handled carefully and as best as possible.
Academic Misconduct at Georgia State University College of Law
Georgia State University College of Law conforms to the academic conduct policies and procedures outlined by GSU in its student handbook, faculty handbook, and code of conduct. The guidelines cover a wide range of behavior considered infractions in the academic sense. Students must refrain from all behavior deemed dishonorable or unethical or risk receiving disciplinary penalties from the University Senate Committee on Student Discipline. Law students have a separate Honor Code that differs from that of other departments.
Prohibited Behavior at Georgia State University
Students who perform the following actions go against the principles listed in the Academic Honesty policy:
- Cheating: Examples of cheating include unauthorized giving or receiving help on examinations and quizzes, using notes or electronic devices during a test, and exchanging unauthorized information between students.
- Plagiarism: Law students cannot use the work of others without giving credit or try to pass off another person's work as their own.
- Dishonesty: Students must not provide false or misleading information to College of Law faculty, staff, or students.
- Unauthorized Collaboration: Students cannot collaborate on assignments and projects or receive external help without the approval of a professor.
- Falsification: Students who misrepresent material or make up false information to include in academic exercises are misleading staff members and violate the institution's ethical principles.
- Multiple Submissions: Georgia State University prohibits students from recycling work. Using a substantial portion of previously completed work is unethical and can lead to sanctions.
- Unauthorized Distribution and Posting: Students cannot share, post, sell, present, or distribute material they are authorized to see to online forums or give this material to other students. This type of academic misconduct is increasing due to distance learning.
Georgia State University College of Law maintains that these actions apply to all students, even if the discovery of the infraction happens after a student graduates. In this case, the university reserves the right to revoke the student's degree.
How Does Georgia State University College of Law Handle Academic Misconduct?
When a professor or staff member suspects that a student is committing misconduct, they must report the issue to the Associate Dean. When anyone other than a professor believes a violation is taking place, they have the option to notify multiple parties. Examples include the student's instructor, a member of the Student Honor Court, someone from the Faculty Honor Code Committee, or the Associate Dean.
Students may undergo a hearing after the discovery of an alleged violation. After the Associate Dean reviews the report, they decide whether the matter is genuinely an infarction by asking for an investigation. If the inquiry results in a lack of evidence, the Associate Dean may close the case. However, in the case of a violation, the Associate Dean informs the Student Honor Code Chair, the Faculty Chair, and the student that they must stand before a Hearing Panel.
If the violation warrants sanctions, the student must attend a Sanctions Hearing. After the student undergoes questioning and presents both witnesses and evidence, the Hearing Panel deliberates in private until they decide on the result of the case. The college Dean makes a decision based on the hearing's recommendations.
Students may appeal the hearing panel's decision within five business days of receiving the report. The Dean makes a final decision regarding the matter and informs the student and the parties involved.
Possible Sanctions for Misconduct
Depending on the nature of the violation and the number of times the student engages in academic misconduct. These sanctions range from moderate to severe, including:
- Receiving a notation of infarction that stays on the student's permanent record
- A formal letter of reprimand
- Suspension for at least one semester
- Expulsion from the College of Law
- Degree revocation if the discovery of the infarction happens after graduation
The student's instructor may also modify or lower a grade based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
Contacting a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
Law students at Georgia State University College of Law must go through official disciplinary procedures, even if they believe they are innocent or made an honest mistake. However, due to the nature of these stressful processes, the task becomes daunting and quickly overwhelming. During cases like these, students and their families need the expertise of an attorney-advisor skilled in managing student defense cases.
Although taking on the case alone may be tempting for some students, much can go wrong when facing an investigation or panel. Administrative bias, misleading information, and lack of evidence can quickly destroy a student's dream of becoming a lawyer and lead to suspension or expulsion.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with law students with complex cases. With his passion for justice and detail-oriented approach, Attorney Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm help students face investigations and hearing panels with confidence and increase the chance of a favorable case outcome.
Don't let your dream of becoming a lawyer crumble due to a case of academic dishonesty. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a discreet conversation about your options.