Student Defense – Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University (TSU) expects all students to uphold high standards of academic excellence and behave in a responsible manner. Students at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law are no exception – all students are expected to act with integrity. The School prepares students for a career in law, where all attorneys must act ethically and honestly at all times.

If you're facing misconduct allegations, you should consult experienced legal counsel or an attorney-advisor for help; however, here is a summary of the disciplinary processes, so you know what to expect.

TSU Student Discipline Policy

Thurgood Marshall Law School students must abide by two codes: The TSU Student Code of Conduct set by the University and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Student Rules and Regulations.

Thurgood Marshall Rules and Regulations

Law students must abide by the Honor Code, meaning they must act honestly, fairly, and ethically. The Law School also has its own disciplinary process based on the American Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility.

Behavior that could result in disciplinary action is behavior that falls below the expected standards of conduct. This includes cheating, plagiarism, and helping another student cheat.

TSU Code of Conduct

Section VI, “Student Code of Conduct Violations,” provides examples of prohibited ethical and academic behavior. It's not a complete list, so the University reserves the right to deem other actions inappropriate.

Under the Code, students could also face criminal charges, depending on the allegation. You must consult an experienced defense attorney immediately in these circumstances.

Breach of Thurgood Marshall School of Law Student Rules

Under Article VIII Section 2, the following behavior could result in departmental disciplinary action:

  • Theft: Any felony or misdemeanor involving theft or wrongful appropriation of property
  • Unauthorized Practice: Practicing law without authorization
  • Client Relationship: In the event the student can give legal advice, e.g., through an authorized program, their conduct falls short of what's expected from an attorney
  • Cheating: Accusations of plagiarism or cheating
  • Assisting: Knowingly helping another student break the Student Rules
  • Falsification: Deliberately giving false information to the Law School or TSU

Should the School find you breached the Student Rules, you could be reprimanded, suspended, or dismissed. Any of these punishments will go on your student record.

Breach of the TSU Code of Conduct

Students who breach the TSU Student Code of Conduct face a range of sanctions, depending on the nature of the alleged violation. The sanctions include a written warning or reprimand, suspension, probation, or expulsion. In extreme cases, they may lose their degree.

Expulsions and suspensions go on your permanent student record, which can have serious long-term consequences. A skilled attorney-advisor can help you avoid such severe penalties where possible. Reach out to our team today for help if you're facing student misconduct charges.

Thurgood Marshall Disciplinary Procedure

The Law School has separate processes for academic misconduct and fitness and disciplinary sanctions.

Academic Misconduct

The Law School can often resolve matters without referring the student for University disciplinary action. Any penalties imposed by the Law School such as grade point deductions, probation, or suspension are academic rather than disciplinary actions.

  • A law student accused of academic misconduct will be notified in writing of the allegations by the Dean of the School of Law
  • If the matter is resolved internally, the Dean can still report the incident to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services/Dean of Students
  • The Office may take disciplinary action against the student if they commit another act of academic dishonesty

Fitness and Disciplinary Sanctions

Thurgood Marshall Law School expects all students to act with integrity. Prior to admission, you must disclose any adverse behavior which could affect your fitness to practice. Adverse behavior includes traffic violations and any offenses relating to drugs, alcohol, or other controlled substances.

If you don't reveal this information prior to admission, you could face an Admissions Character and Fitness Hearing. The longer you withhold the information, the steeper the sanction could be. Remember, you're expected to act honestly – any attempt to withhold information could jeopardize your chance at securing a license to practice law.

You must consult an experienced attorney-advisor immediately if you're facing an Admissions Character and Fitness Hearing.

TSU Disciplinary Procedure

TSU has its own procedures if you're facing disciplinary action outside the Law School. Your case will be handled informally, or if appropriate, the Office will schedule a hearing. The hearing is your opportunity to make your case and present your defense.

If you're called to a hearing, and you fail to attend, the hearing will proceed without you, and you'll lose your opportunity to make a case. It's always in your best interests to attend with an advisor or attorney present.

Student Appeals

Law School students can appeal faculty decisions under Article IX.

  • Students who breach the Academic Rules can petition the Academic Standards Committee. The Committee will issue a written report, and the Dean will issue the decision to the student.
  • There's no further right of appeal once the Committee makes its decision
  • Students who breach the Fitness and Discipline Rules have an automatic right to appeal and schedule a due process hearing
  • It's best to have counsel present representing you at any due process hearing; this ensures the School upholds your rights and acts fairly at all times

At the University level, you can only appeal a decision if you're suspended or expelled.

Let the Lento Law Firm Help You

If you're facing disciplinary or academic misconduct proceedings, it's crucial you have access to effective legal counsel. An attorney-advisor can represent you at every step of the process and ensure the Law School honors your rights during the proceedings.

Joseph Lento is a skilled attorney-advisor who has successfully represented many students across the United States facing academic misconduct allegations – contact the Lento Law Firm now on 888.535.3686 to find out how he can help you.

Contact Us Today!

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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