At Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU Law), students must observe high standards of honesty and integrity. These standards not only comply with the behavior expected of students about the enter the legal profession but also to with the BYU Code of Honor. Lawyers are considered honest professionals with moral standing in their communities, so law students should aim to emulate honesty and ethical conduct during their studies.
Students who do not conduct themselves with integrity in their academic work at BYU Law can expect disciplinary action from the law school. An instance of academic misconduct on a law school record can prevent a student from finding employment or clerkships. It can also make passing the character and fitness evaluation with the state bar association more difficult. Students may also face sanctions from the law school, such as suspension, that could delay their progress toward getting a law degree.
If you have been accused of academic misconduct at BYU Law, consider contacting a student defense attorney-advisor to help protect your future as a lawyer.
Student Misconduct at BYU Law
All students at BYU Law must follow the University Code of Honor and its principles. J. Reuben Clark Law School does not have its own honor code and cooperates with the University Honor Code Office when appropriate. Concerning academic matters, the law school may follow its own process when it suspects a student of violating the Code of Honor.
Examples of Prohibited Academic Misconduct at BYU Law
The BYU Law policy on academic misconduct only covers plagiarism and disciplinary procedures for a violation. The BYU Code of Honor provides several examples of academic dishonesty that are subject to disciplinary action, however, including:
- Intentional or inadvertent plagiarism
- Citing a source that does not exist
- Attributing to a source ideas and information that are not included in the source
- Citing a source for a proposition that it does not support
- Intentionally distorting the meaning or applicability of data
- Copying from another person's work during an exam or while completing an assignment
- Allowing someone else to copy one's exam or assignment
- Using unauthorized materials during an exam or assignment
- Collaborating on an exam or assignment without authorization
- Taking an exam or completing an assignment for someone else
- Inappropriately providing or receiving information or academic work to gain an unfair advantage
- Planning to commit an act of academic dishonesty with someone else
- Changing or altering grades or other official educational records
- Obtaining or providing answers to an unadministered test
- Continuing to work on an exam after the allocated time has elapsed
- Submitting the same work for more than one class without approval
How Does BYU Law Handle Academic Misconduct?
At BYU Law, discipline for academic misconduct consists of two main procedures. The first involves course-related misconduct that an instructor can handle directly. The second is misconduct that goes beyond a course or involves the review of an instructor's decision.
Instructor Handles Course-Related Misconduct Directly
If an instructor suspects plagiarism or other academic misconduct from one of their students, or if they learn of it by report or admission, they have the first responsibility to act. The instructor meets with the student and may conduct further investigation as they see fit. The instructor must also consult with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs concerning a sanction, if applicable.
Instructors can determine that a student should receive a sanction and may choose one of the following:
- Oral reprimand
- Written reprimand to go in the student's file
- Reduce a grade
- Adjust credit
- Require additional work
- Impose another appropriate sanction
If a student opposes the decision and the sanction from an instructor, they can appeal to the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs for review within two school days.
Misconduct Goes Beyond a Course or Requires Review
The Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs may refer an academic misconduct case to an ad hoc Committee in one of the following situations:
- The misconduct did not involve only performance in a course.
- The activity in question may warrant a sanction greater than what the instructor has the authority to impose.
- A student requests the Dean for Research and Academic Affairs to review an instructor's decision.
The ad hoc Committee consists of the Dean for Research and Academic Affairs and two faculty members who are not involved in the case. Both the accused student and accusing instructor have the right to go before this Committee to present their views. After the Committee hears from both sides and reviews the facts of the case, it decides by majority vote.
Either a student or a member of the ad hoc Committee who does not agree with the decision can write a request to the Dean to review the matter within two school days. The Dean may reverse the decision only if they determine that the Committee has made a clear error.
Potential Sanctions for Misconduct at BYU Law
The ad hoc Committee may impose one or more of the following sanctions:
- Restitution or community service
- Probation with specific conditions
- Suspension for a specific period of time
- Dismissal from BYU Law
- Any other appropriate sanction
The Committee also has the right to impose the same sanctions an instructor can impose.
How a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Going through an academic misconduct disciplinary process at BYU Law can feel overwhelming. An attorney-advisor specialized in student defense can help you prepare a statement to give before the ad hoc Committee, coach you on how to discuss the matter with your instructor, and do everything necessary to ensure a fair process and the best possible outcome.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students nationwide with academic misconduct cases and can help you keep your career as a lawyer on track. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to book a consultation.