Student Defense: S.J. Quinney School of Law

The S.J. Quinney School of Law (Quinney), established in 1913, is a public university and the law school of the University of Utah. Quinney enjoys a strong reputation and high rankings for several of its programs, and one example is Environmental Law. It is a Tier-1 Research Institution and boasts one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in the state. Due to these factors and the myriad opportunities students have upon graduation, Quinney also has an extensive student code of conduct and adjudication process to deal with violations.

Academic integrity principles are an essential component of a future attorney's education. However, there are times when students make mistakes due to the extensive pressure to succeed. In other cases, a student goes against these principles unknowingly but still undergoes a hearing and may receive sanctions. Although not all sanctions end in expulsion, even a temporary dismissal negatively impacts the student's career options and future. Without the help of an attorney-advisor who specializes in student defense, law students may not have the best tools to protect themselves against harmful allegations.

Quinney Academic Integrity Expectations

According to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, academic misconduct is a severe offense that comes with consequences. The code applies to students in all departments at the University of Utah, including Quinney. According to its contents, the University fosters an environment that supports intellectual, personal, and ethical development. Engaging in academic misconduct is a direct violation of those principles and comes in many forms, such as:

  • Cheating: The University defines cheating as the unauthorized possession of information that aids in an academic exercise. Examples include communicating with another student during a test, copying from someone else's exam or vice versa, altering work after submission, and having someone take an exam for a student. Moreover, the University also considers violating a professor's course rules as a form of cheating.
  • Misrepresentation: Students may not use another person's work and represent it as their own. Some examples listed in the code include submitting the same previously-completed work for multiple professors or having someone prepare material for the student to present to a professor.
  • Plagiarism: The act of plagiarism involves the intentional unacknowledged use of another person's work, ideas, data, or theories in an academic exercise.
  • Fabrication: According to the code, this infarction is when a student manipulates or alters data and presents it as factual. Fabricating comes in many forms, such as making up information in an essay, quoting a source that is not real, or altering the data in a transcript.

Students who engage in any form of academic misconduct, including actions not listed explicitly in the code, may receive sanctions that range in severity. Those who suspect that a student is engaging in academic dishonesty must report the incident to a faculty member within 30 days of observing the act.

Investigation Process and Hearing

Once a faculty member receives a complaint of discovery of academic misconduct, they must discuss the issue with the accused student and allow them to defend themselves. If the professor believes that the matter warrants a sanction, they must provide the accused with written notice. The professor must also inform them of their right to appear before Quinney's Academic Appeals Committee. If the sanction is severe, such as a suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation, the professor notifies the student's home college for proceedings, and the committee conducts an investigation.

The Academic Appeals Committee schedules a hearing date if they believe the case warrants a review. Students may have a legal advisor present during the meeting, but the advisor may not directly participate in the proceedings. After the hearing concludes, the Chair presents a written report of the committee's findings and recommendations to the Dean of the College of Law or their Designee.

Appeals Process

Students have the right to file an appeal within ten days of receiving the committee's decision to the Cognizant Senior Vice President or President. After reviewing the findings, the SVP may accept the decision, ask for a clarification of matters, or reject part or all of the sanctions imposed on the student. The SVP then sends the student a written notice of their decision, which is final.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

The penalties for academic misconduct can be on the minor or involve separation from University grounds. Some of the sanctions listed in the student code for academic misconduct include:

  • A grade reduction or failing grade
  • A written reprimand
  • Placement on probation
  • Suspension for a minimum of one semester from the University
  • Dismissal from the University with no chance for reinstatement
  • Having the discharge recorded on their student transcript
  • Revocation of a degree or certificate

Most of these sanctions negatively affect the student's academic progress, job opportunities, and stress levels. Without the help of an attorney-advisor, students may not be able to appeal a case, leading to severe repercussions that may end their dream of becoming a respected attorney.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student discipline defense and helping students overcome academic misconduct allegations. Attorney-Advisor Lento applies his years of experience to cases nationwide, helping students and their families shoulder the burden when they face hearings and sanctions. Whether negotiating a better outcome or monitoring the hearing for procedural errors and bias, Attorney-Advisor Lento is your ally when facing any kind of sanction, including suspension or expulsion.

You worked hard and spent years to be accepted to law school, likely hoping to become an attorney one day. Sometimes, stress and pressure to succeed can result in consequences that affect your career prospects and your reputation. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when there is so much at stake. Don't let allegations of academic misconduct ruin your future – help is available.

If you or someone in your family face an academic integrity charge at S.J. Quinney School of Law, call the Lento Law Firm today for a discreet consultation at 888-535-3686.