Student Defense: Texas Tech University School of Law

The Texas Tech University School of Law is a public law school established in 1967. TTU Law offers ten dual degree programs and three academic centers. Its international writing program is among the top nationwide, and third-year students can participate in eight clinical programs. TTU Law boasts a bar pass rate of 87%, and 85% of students find employment within ten months of graduating.

Being part of the TTU Law School requires that students demonstrate ethical behavior and honor. This behavior includes avoiding acts of academic dishonesty that go against professional standards. Since law students are future attorneys, these actions go against the legal profession's principles and can permanently damage their reputation. Without the assistance of a professional attorney advisor who specializes in student defense, law students may face graduation delays that delay – or end – their graduation prospects and even hopes to practice law.

Honor Code Principles at TTU Law

According to the Honor Code, the School of Law holds students to rigorous professional demands that involve academic integrity. Actions that go against these principles subject students to the adjudication and hearing process and strict sanctions. The Honor code and the University Code of Student Conduct govern student conduct. The code outlines the School of Law's expectations for acceptable behavior and student ethics. Actions that go against the code include:

  • Cheating: This violation involves using unauthorized means in connection with an academic exercise or exam. Examples include using mobile phones or laptops to find answers during a test or having another person complete classwork for a student.
  • Improper Collaboration: Students cannot collaborate with others unless their instructor gives them express permission. Some forms of prohibited collaboration include talking about an exam or its questions and receiving assistance with editing or completing an assignment.
  • Unfair Academic Advantage: Students may not gain an unfair advantage over their peers by performing actions like failing to return books and documents needed for a class. Other examples include gaining access to exam questions on the internet or duplicating them to distribute among peers.
  • Deception and Misrepresentation: Students must refrain from deceiving the TTU community by misrepresenting their grades, achievements, or experience. Another way students may do this is by forging documents, certifications, and letters of recommendation.
  • Electronic Dishonesty: When students commit this violation, they are inappropriately using the internet to gain unauthorized information. Other forms include tampering with a peer's account, stealing work through electronic means, and impersonating another person.
  • Plagiarism: This activity involves using the information provided by another source but failing to cite or give credit to the original author. One way that students plagiarize is by paraphrasing a concept and deliberately omitting references.

Any individual who suspects that a code violation occurred must report the matter to the Dean, Honor Code Investigator, or the Associate Dean for Student Life.

Investigation and Hearing Process

Any member of the TTU campus may report a violation if they suspect a student is engaging in academic misconduct. Once a report of a possible violation reaches a designated faculty member, they refer the matter to the Honor Code Investigator. The Investigator reviews the issue and decides whether there is probable cause for escalation. If so, an investigation begins by contacting the student and any other person who may offer more information. After collecting data, the Investigator determines if a hearing is necessary.

The student may have an attorney present during the hearing, but they cannot participate in the proceedings. Students may also request a recording of the hearing at least a day before it occurs. The Honor Council hears the evidence and witness statements and determines whether a violation occurred. If so, they send a report within two weeks of the hearing with sanctions recommendations.

Appeals

Students may submit a written request to the Dean to review the council's decision within 30 days of the hearing. Although the Dean can modify the sanctions or remove them, they cannot add more severe penalties. Once the Dean decides, they send a notification to the student, the Honor Code Investigator, and the Chair of the Honor Council. The Dean's decision is final.

Sanctions for Honor Code Violations

The decision to impose sanctions depends on the number of times the student committed previous violations and the severity of the case. Sanctions have a detrimental effect on a student's future, especially if they involve dismissal. Moreover, the student may have a notation on their permanent transcript, making it difficult to find employment after graduation. The possible penalties include:

  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Educational sanctions
  • A written letter of reprimand by the Dean
  • Completing additional work (not exceeding 15 hours)
  • Temporary dismissal from the School of Law
  • Expulsion
  • Suspension or revocation of a degree, certificate, or recognition by TTU Law

Any of these sanctions may permanently alter a law student's career trajectory. If students cannot defend themselves appropriately, they risk losing their dream of becoming attorneys. However, students and their families have options when accused of academic misconduct.

Hiring An Attorney-Advisor

The stress of an academic misconduct accusation affects law student performance and places them under pressure. Even if a law student does not receive a severe sanction, the risk of reputation damage and loss of time can still affect their future. Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento understands their issue and works hard to increase the likelihood of a favorable case outcome.

Attorney-Advisor Lento specializes in law student defense, working with law students nationwide to help them get past these serious allegations. With the support and expertise of a seasoned professional, students and their families don't have to face this trying process alone.

Don't let a mistake or lapse in judgment ruin your future as a lawyer. Attorney-Advisor Lento identifies bias, procedural errors, and inconsistencies to ensure that your investigation and hearing is fair and transparent. Don't wait until the appeals process to seek help. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a 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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