Student Defense - Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga University School of Law (GU Law) is one of the premier legal institutions in the western United States. The school prepares its student body with academic rigors and clinical hours to work in private firms, non-profit agencies, and federal and state courts and governments.

Law students are assessed by analyzing judicial opinions, penning amicus curiae, working with clients in the courtroom, and developing a professional persona representing the school with distinction. Given the high cost of time and money young adults must sacrifice to obtain a JD at GU Law, the risk of ruination through misconduct allegations is great. Employers in the legal sector do not take chances on troublemakers, whether tarnished by sanctions emanating from academic or behavioral transgressions.

Law students must work hard to keep their records clean between lectures, research, and writing. Not only will low grades or absences from class garner collegiate corrective actions, but so will unsavory social media posts, disruptive public behavior, and acting on false pretenses. An institution's rules and regulations may be straightforward, by deference is held by disciplinary boards that may severely punish first-time offenders. Therefore, if you're accused of misconduct at GU Law, hiring a professional student defense advisor will ensure that you remain on your degree track.

Student Conduct Requirements at GU Law

To ensure academic integrity and ethical behavior among its enrollees, GU Law procures two guiding criteria. Law students are subject to both the GU Student Handbook and the GU Law Student Handbook, which includes the Code of Student Conduct. The GU Student Handbook outlines general standards of conduct for the campus community.

The document governs issues including, but not limited to:

  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Destruction of property
  • Disorderly conduct
  • False identification
  • Forgery of official university documents
  • Smoking or vaping
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

On the other hand, the GU Law Student Handbook takes a more stringent approach to legal students, enforcing further academic requirements. Some of the standards include:

  • Academic good standing
  • Clinical experience
  • Credit hour requirements
  • Directed research standards
  • Examination procedures
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Moot court competition
  • Original work
  • Proper citations
  • Tardiness

If students violate the above or any number of the rules in the GU Student Handbook, they will be subject to allegations of academic dishonesty or behavioral misconduct, leading to subsequent disciplinary action.

How Accusations of General Misconduct Are Handled

When a student is accused of misconduct under the general code of conduct, GU's University Conduct Board (UCB) will address the matter, contacting the accused student for an initial fact-finding meeting. When UCB representatives determine there is substantiated evidence to proceed with a formal hearing, the student will be given a chance to compile witnesses or statements and submit them at least three days before an official hearing. The UCB will also investigate.

Hearing Board procedures will be held in private and will proceed as follows:

  1. The Panel Chair will read the statement of charges.
  2. Conduct Officers will present evidence, including documents, investigative and incident reports, or witnesses.
  3. The accused student (respondent) may present a reply to the charges, including documentation, evidence, in-person testimony, or witnesses.
  4. Conduct Officers may direct questions to the respondent or any witnesses involved.
  5. The Panel Chair will allow the respondent to present additional evidence in response.
  6. The respondent may make a closing statement.

Upon closing the hearing, the UCB will make its determination based on a majority vote, supported by a written statement of the rationale for the decision.

Hearing Process for Violations of GU Law Student Handbook

Upon receipt of a reported violation, the Associate Dean will conduct an initial inquiry and discuss the matter with the student. If the Associate Dean determines cause for further investigation, they will appoint a faculty member to investigate "as expeditiously as is reasonably possible." The student will be notified of the commencement of the inquiry within two days.

After completing the investigation, the Associate Dean will prepare a charge and send a written notification to the student, proceeding toward an official hearing. A public announcement of the charge will be made, but it may not name the parties involved. The accused must respond in writing to the charge with a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty" within 14 days.

Within 14 days after the student has responded, a three-member tribunal will convene in a closed hearing. Formal rules of evidence do not apply, and neither do official hearing procedures of when the tribunal shall hear witnesses, evidence, or testimony. Nonetheless, they will listen to witnesses submitted by the accused or called by the tribunal, review all evidence, and question the accused, witnesses, and the investigator. No more than 14 days after completion of the hearing, the tribunal will determine responsibility based on the "clear and convincing evidence" standard through a majority vote.

Misconduct Sanctions at GU Law

Sanctions will be proportionate to the corroborated misconduct. Both handbooks governing law students have similar punishments, including:

  • Letter of reprimand
  • Retaking a course or an assignment
  • Lowering a course or an assignment grade
  • Denying credit for a course or an assignment
  • Requiring a public or private apology
  • Loss of student privileges or leadership roles
  • Restitution, compensation, or community service
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Withholding degree

Students may appeal sanctions—but not findings—within 14 days of the tribunal's decision. The Dean of the Law School has the discretion to dispose of the appeal in any way except for imposing harsher punishments.

Retaining a Professional Student Defense Advisor

Unfortunately, honest and conscientious law students make mistakes when met with the pressures to succeed. Although the journey toward becoming an upstanding lawyer is fraught with many challenges, ensuring ignorance is not one of them. For example, respondents subject to GU Law misconduct charges have the right to retain counsel, yet the school "has no obligation to inform the student of this right."

Whether you're subject to allegations of academic dishonesty or unethical behavior, 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 in recognizing how disciplinary boards treat students with excessive impugn. He has experience brokering beneficial resolutions on behalf of students with a school's internal Office of General Counsel (OGC), keeping students intact with their legal education. If you face allegations at GU Law, call the Lento Law Firm 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.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.