Student Defense: Southern University Law Center

The Southern University Law Center (SULC) is a public law school established in 1947 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. SULC offers full-time, part-time, and evening programs for students seeking Juris Doctor and MPA degrees. This flexibility helps all students study comfortably at their own pace. SULC has a study-abroad program in London and publishes two legal journals. The law school prides itself on its history and ranking among the best law schools nationwide in public service. After graduating, students can look forward to multiple career opportunities in law and a vibrant legal profession.

To remain enrolled in SULC, students must abide by the honor code and maintain high academic integrity and professional standards. As future lawyers, students have a public responsibility and must embody these characteristics even while learning. SULC deals swiftly and decisively with students who do not maintain acceptable standards. The sanctions for violations range in severity and include suspension or expulsion for the most significant offenses.

Honor Code Violations at SULC

The Student Conduct Manual is exclusively for law students attending SULC. The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities details the privileges and freedoms granted to students in addition to their responsibilities. SULC also enforces an Academic Honor Code that relies on five key points:

  • The duty of each student to act honorably
  • The condemnation of stealing, lying, and cheating
  • Prohibiting actions that allow a student to gain an unfair academic advantage
  • Forbidding scholastic dishonesty
  • The duty to report violations

SULC's manual is different from other universities because it doesn't contain a list of specific actions that constitute academic misconduct. Instead, these actions are open to interpretation depending on every individual case. If the move goes against one of the five key points, they are cause for an investigation and possibly a hearing.

The Hearing Process

The Honor Code Committee of the Law Center is responsible for enforcing the honor code. It possesses full authority to exercise its jurisdictions, as mentioned in the manual. However, before the committee takes an active role, the case receives a review by an Investigator appointed by the administration.

Once they receive a violation report, the Investigation Committee at SULC reviews the details of the allegation to determine whether it goes against the honor code. If the conclusion is negative, the Investigation Committee contacts the Chancellor of the Law Center and informs them of their findings. The Investigator then meets with the chairperson of the Honor Code Committee to determine a hearing date.

The hearing is not public. It is an informal event that aims to inquire about the matter to determine whether an honor code violation occurred. After presenting the evidence and statements, the Honor Code Committee deliberates within a reasonable time. It explains their findings and evidence to the Chancellor of the Law Center.

Appeals Process

Students have the right to appeal a guilty verdict to the Chancellor of the Law Center. If a student wishes for a review, they must send a written notice to the Chancellor asking for the committee to reconsider their decision. If the committee decides that the student is guilty and imposes sanctions, the decision is final. The student cannot receive further consideration after this single opportunity.

Sanctions for Violations at SULC

Although the Law Center does not have an exhaustive list of possible violations, it does have a detailed list of possible sanctions. Sanctions range depending on the severity of the case, the student's reputation, and whether this is another offense. Remember that even if it's your first offense, you may receive the harshest sanction if the violation is severe.

As per the code, possible sanctions for academic misconduct violations at SULC include:

  • A verbal or written warning
  • A written or oral reprimand
  • Obliging the student to retake an examination or complete an alternate academic exercise
  • Suspending the student from one or more courses for not less than a semester
  • Lowering the student's overall grade
  • Obliging the student to withdraw from their course credit
  • Receiving a failing grade for an entire course
  • Receiving a temporary suspension from the law center for a minimum of one semester
  • Permanent dismissal from the law center

Students may receive more than one sanction for the violation. Although some may assume that obtaining a sanction other than a suspension or expulsion will not adversely affect the student, this is not the case. Sanctions may delay a student's graduation date, cause them reputational damage, and prevent them from attaining high-quality employment.

In worst-case scenarios, students who receive an expulsion may not find another law school that accepts them. A suspension or permanent dismissal remains on a student's permanent transcript. It would pose obstacles even if a student underwent punishment for these actions. Whether the issue is due to a lapse in judgment or a genuine mistake, a panel determines based on the evidence.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

All of your hard work and effort studying to become a lawyer at SULC can cease in the blink of an eye. Additionally, some students make the mistake of waiting until they have to appeal to seek the guidance of a professional. More often than not, this puts the student at a disadvantage. Regardless of the severity of the issue, however, you still have the right to defend yourself against harmful accusations that impact your future.

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student discipline defense cases nationwide. With his years of experience handling and negotiating even the most egregious cases, attorney-advisor Lento knows what's at stake.

Don't let your effort and time go to waste because of an academic misconduct allegation at SULC. Contact professional attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento for a higher chance of a favorable case outcome.

If you or someone you love face allegations of academic misconduct at Southern University Law Center, there is hope. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for an honest and thorough consultation.

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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.

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