The Ohio State University maintains high academic standards and expects all students to behave honestly and transparently in academic settings and when submitting academic work. The Michael E. Moritz College of Law also reflects these values and expects its students to adhere to standards of academic integrity. The College of Law also promotes the high standards of the legal profession in its students and, to this end, has adopted an Honor Code.
Law students who do not exhibit the behavior befitting a law practitioner will face disciplinary action and future consequences. The Moritz College of Law may impose sanctions if a student is guilty of academic misconduct, but students may also struggle to find employment, clerkships, or other professional opportunities as well. A notation of academic or professional conduct on a student's law school record may also interfere with their passing the character and fitness evaluation of the state bar association.
If you are a Moritz College of Law student who has been accused of an Honor Code violation, know that your future as a lawyer may be in jeopardy. Sanctions from the law school could set back your progress toward a law degree, costing you more time and money. To assist throughout the formal disciplinary procedures and help improve your chances of a favorable outcome, consider contacting a qualified student defense attorney-advisor.
Student Misconduct at Moritz College of Law
The Moritz College of Law Honor Code governs students' academic and professional misconduct. The law school also has an Honor Council, which oversees the administration of the code and adjudication of suspected violations. The Honor Code applies to all enrolled students at the College of Law, who have not permanently withdrawn, been expelled, or completed their intended course of study. However, the Honor Council may still take action if behavior comes to light after a student has left the College of Law.
Law students at the Moritz College of Law are also expected to comply with the Ohio State University’s Code of Student Conduct where it applies to them.
Examples of Prohibited Conduct at Moritz College of Law
The Honor Code only covers instances of academic misconduct. Other forms of misconduct go through the College of Law's administrative procedures, or University procedures. The Honor Code prohibits the following actions:
- Knowingly receiving or giving any information to others except as authorized by the instructor regarding an exam
- Giving or receiving prohibited aid in courses, seminars, applications, competitions, moot court teams, groups sponsored by the College of Law, or intramural or extramural competitions of law-related nature
- Knowingly stealing, destroying, or impeding another student's academic work
- Knowingly influencing a member of the Honor Council
- Failing to maintain the confidentiality of adjudicatory proceedings as an Honor Council member
- Failing to report a violation of the Honor Code
Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Misconduct
Any student who suspects that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred can report it to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean will informally gather information about the allegation and decide whether to notify the Honor Council. If the Associate Dean reports the case to the Honor Council, they will decide together if the allegation qualifies for an Administrative Disposition or a hearing.
At an Administrative Disposition, the Associate Dean and the accused student may resolve the matter directly, determining if there has been a violation and the appropriate sanctions. The Dean can make a final decision in an Administrative Disposition.
The Associate Dean and Honor Council may decide the case is not appropriate for an Administrative Disposition and proceed to a hearing instead. An accused student can also ask for a hearing instead of an Administrative Disposition. Before the hearing can take place, a member of the Honor Council must conduct an investigation to determine if it's likely that a violation occurred. If the investigator recommends a hearing, the Honor Council will choose a time and date for the hearing.
At the hearing, accused students have the right to present evidence, confront and cross-examine witnesses, and may decline to testify. An accused student can also have representation, but this person may only be a member of the College of Law student body. The Honor Council appoints representation for the accused student. At the end of the hearing, the Honor Council will deliberate and come to a decision.
If the Honor Council decides the accused student is guilty of an Honor Code violation, the accused student and the College of Law's Prosecutor will argue for recommended sanctions before the Honor Council. Once the Honor Council decides sanctions, the matter is closed. There is no option for appeal.
The Honor Council can impose any of the following sanctions, or another sanction it feels is appropriate:
- Written or oral warning
- Restitution or reimbursement for damages
- Restriction of privileges
- Disciplinary suspension
- Disciplinary dismissal for two full semesters
For sanctions of disciplinary probation, suspension, or dismissal, the guilty student will receive a notation in their file. The Honor Council cannot impose sanctions related to course grades, as grading remains under the authority of the faculty instructor.
How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?
If you are a Moritz College of Law student accused of an Honor Code violation, you may be overwhelmed by the formal disciplinary process. If you've never gone through such procedures before, you may not know the best way to prepare your defense. Although an attorney-advisor cannot represent you at the hearing, they can still help your prepare. They can also assist you with gathering evidence and formulating questions to ask witnesses.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country in academic misconduct matters with their universities and graduate schools. His expertise in student discipline matters can help you protect your future as a lawyer. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more.