Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU Law) is a private, non-profit law school established in 1901 in San Francisco. The law school is among the private graduate schools that are part of the Golden Gate University complex. GGU Law offers JD, LL.M., and SJD degrees. It also provides several programs and clinics and has full accreditation by the American Bar Association. Upon graduation, students can look forward to multiple career opportunities. However, they must maintain excellent conduct and behavior befitting their future professions or face sanctions that can upend their future.
Going to law school is an exhilarating experience. It is also notoriously rigorous, and law students face extreme pressure to succeed. Although students expect stress and late nights studying, sometimes it becomes too much to handle. To keep up with peers and faculty expectations, students may make mistakes that negatively impact their educational progress and career. Some of these errors lead to severe consequences like suspension and expulsion, forcing the student to start over or choose a new degree. Without the help of an attorney-advisor who specializes in student defense, students may not graduate from GGU Law on time – or even at all – with an academic misconduct charge.
Honor Code and Student Handbook
To maintain a level playing field for all students and secure the institution's reputation, GGU Law provides a clear picture of what actions constitute dishonesty. According to the Student Handbook at GGU Law, academic misconduct is a prohibited action that leads to sanctions. The handbook also provides multiple examples of what this behavior entails. Per the handbook, any student who commits or attempts to commit these actions violates the school's standards and faces harsh penalties.
A few examples of what actions constitute misconduct include:
- Cheating: Examples of cheating include copying another student's test, using unauthorized assistance during a quiz, and submitting previously prepared work from another class as new. Other examples include using prohibited materials during a test or committing any act that allows for fraud or misrepresentation.
- Plagiarism: When a student plagiarizes, they copy the words of another author verbatim without giving credit. Other examples include paraphrasing and representing an idea as one's own.
- Misrepresentation: Actions that constitute misrepresentation include forgery, making a false written statement, submitting a tampered document to the law school, and deliberately furnishing the school with misleading information.
Although the list is not exhaustive, it gives law students an idea of the prohibited conduct at the law school. These actions may lead to a disciplinary process, as any member of the GGU community has the right to file a complaint if they believe that a student is committing unauthorized actions.
Disciplinary Procedures at GGU Law
Any member of the law school who believes that a student committed academic misconduct must report the issue to the Office of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs investigates all reports to determine whether the complaint has merit. If the Office believes that a student committed a violation, it has two options to resolve the issue. Only in cases of academic dishonesty does the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs provide an instructor with a complaint form.
The first option is an informal resolution where the student and the Dean meet and discuss the allegations. If the Dean believes that the student did commit an action, they recommend sanctions. The matter may escalate to a formal hearing if the student does not agree to the claims or the penalties. The School of Law Hearing Panel hears the student's defense, reviews the evidence, and may question witnesses if available. Once the hearing ends, the panel deliberates and makes the recommendation of a sanction, sent to the Associate Dean.
Students may appeal a sanctions decision by sending a letter to the Dean of the School of Law within five business days of the hearing panel's decision. Once the Dean gets this request, they review the case and the panel's findings. The student receives the decision within 15 business days after sending the request.
Some students mistakenly assume that they can bypass the sanctions if they submit an appeal with the help of an attorney advisor. However, the longer they wait to speak to a professional when accused of academic misconduct, the less likely they will receive a favorable case outcome.
Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
Sanctions wreak havoc on a student's future and may lead to reputation damage, the inability to find another law school, or abandoning the field altogether. Since a suspension or expulsion remain on the student's permanent record, they may have difficulties when they want to start their career later. As per the handbook, the following is a list of penalties for academic misconduct:
- A written warning
- A written reprimand
- Loss of privileges
- Denial of course credit or receiving a failing grade
- Loss of tuition
- Withdrawal or repayment of a scholarship
- Discretionary Sanctions
- Disciplinary probation
- Degree Revocation
Due to the irreparable damage that many of these sanctions have on a student's progress, it is necessary to speak to a professional who understands what is at stake.
Contacting an Attorney-Advisor
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with law students facing sanctions for academic misconduct. With an eye for detail and a solid understanding of how hearing panels conduct their processes, advisor Lento knows what to look for and when the adjudication process is unfair.
Advisor Lento specializes in student defense. With his successful track record and expertise, advisor Lento identifies bias, procedural errors, and other factors that can impact your case outcome. You're a student, and law school is a learning experience – don't let one mistake ruin your life. Whether you had a lapse in judgment or are innocent of the charges, you deserve fair and robust representation and support during this stressful time.
If you or someone you love face accusations of academic misconduct at GGU Law, don't wait before it's too late. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for more information.