Student Defense – Suffolk University School of Law

Suffolk Law School is among the oldest private law schools in New England. Established in 1906, the university has multiple programs ranked among the best in the nation. With such a prestigious reputation to maintain, the university expects its students to abide by its rules and regulations or face severe penalties. Although ensuring a level playing field for students is a top priority, this does not mean that administrators are immune to error.

Law students face a myriad of issues once they enroll in prestigious universities. Due to the strict nature of their future professions, these universities place severe sanctions on students who commit acts of academic misconduct. However, these sanctions wreak havoc on students' academic progress, especially harsh punishments like failing a grade, semester, or permanent dismissal. With so much that can go wrong, law students need the guidance of an advisor who can help them overcome the challenge of facing a panel and fight for a fair outcome.

Academic Misconduct at Suffolk Law School

The student handbook at Suffolk Law School outlines the standards for ethical behavior, including what constitutes academic misconduct. According to the guide, the resolution of minor cases of academic misconduct may occur at the academic departmental level. However, for more severe violations, the incident undergoes review through a hearing by the Academic Misconduct Committee. The following actions constitute academic misconduct at Suffolk Law School:

  • Cheating: Using any means that allows a student to gain an unfair advantage over their peers. Examples of cheating include allowing another person to copy off of one's exam, using notes during a test, or obtaining answers for an exam through online means.
  • Plagiarism: When a student plagiarizes work, they use the ideas, theories, material, or information from the original author without providing citations or references. Another example of plagiarism is when students paraphrase an idea and do not credit the original author. The university published a form with plagiarism hypotheticals as examples of what may constitute a violation.
  • Unauthorized collaboration: Students may not collaborate with other individuals on an academic exercise or test without permission.
  • Use of unauthorized electronic devices: Students cannot use an electronic device to source information or answers unless authorized by an instructor.
  • Self-plagiarism: The act of self-plagiarism is when students use their work for one class during another class without letting the instructor know.
  • Fabrication: Fabricating information or data and deliberately passing it off as genuine information is a severe violation.
  • Falsification of Data: Students may not falsify data or information to their professors, college administration, or employers. Examples include providing false documents or claiming to have an experience that one does not have.
  • Miscellaneous Actions: Law students may undergo penalization for any act considered a form of academic dishonesty.

If a professor suspects that a student is committing academic misconduct, they initially contact the student and schedule a meeting to discuss their concerns. The professor also fills out an Academic Misconduct Incident Form and sends it to the Academic Misconduct Committee. If the faculty member determines the occurrence of academic misconduct, they may impose limited grade sanctions.

The Hearing Process

The AMC Hearing at Suffolk Law School is private, and the student may not have an advisor present. They can, however, have a person of support who assists them in their preparations and waits for them outside of the hearing room. The committee decides the outcome of the case based on the strength of evidence. It imposes sanctions recommendations sent to the student, the faculty member, and the chair.

Appeals

Students have the right to make one appeal to the provost by sending a written letter within ten business days of receiving the committee's decision. Not all requests qualify for a review; the student must submit additional information and explain why this information was not present during the hearing. The provost will review the details of the case and makes a final decision regarding the matter.

Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

The possible sanctions for academic misconduct include:

  • A verbal or written reprimand
  • Obligation to complete a remediation plan
  • An F on the exam or academic exercise
  • Failure of the course
  • Revoking privileges on-campus
  • Academic probation
  • Temporary dismissal
  • Permanent Dismissal

Any kind of sanction for academic misconduct can have devastating consequences For Suffolk law students unfortunately. As academic misconduct findings will be reported by Suffolk Law to the Board of Bar Examiners, students found responsible can have difficulty passing the character and fitness portion of their bar exam.

Additionally, a dismissal charge is especially egregious because it shows on the student's permanent record. Even if a dismissal is temporary (a suspension in other words), and even if employment opportunities are pursued as a J.D. and not as an admitted attorney, this status may prevent students from finding good legal career opportunities after graduation. As for a permanent expulsion, it can ruin a student's chances of practicing law altogether. With so much that can go wrong, students need a strong defense strategy and an ally by their side when all seems lost.

Hiring an Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor

The road to becoming a lawyer is exciting. Still, it comes with multiple challenges that may derail a student's educational goals and prevent them from becoming attorneys. Academic misconduct cases may be clear-cut at times. In many instances, however, potential wrongdoing exists in shades of gray. This certainly does not mean that there may not be enough evidence to charge a student unfortunately. Since students may not have an advisor present during the hearing, they need the help of a reliable attorney-advisor who understands how the process works and who can do everything possible within the bounds of Suffolk Law's procedures to ensure a fair and just resolution.

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento works with law students nationwide accused of engaging in academic misconduct. With years of experience in student defense and passionately fighting for their rights, Attorney-Advisor Lento knows when students receive the short end of the stick. Law students and their parents can breathe easier knowing that Attorney-Advisor Lento expertly identifies procedural errors, bias, and insubstantial evidence. Whether it is helping students fight against damaging allegations or helping them craft an appeal letter, Attorney-Advisor Lento is in your corner from start to finish.

If you are the parent of a student or are a student facing an investigation or hearing for academic misconduct at Suffolk Law School, you don't have to face such challenges alone. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for a confidential consultation at 888-535-3686.

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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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