The University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth is a public law school established in 2010. It is the only public law school in Massachusetts, succeeding the Southern New England School of Law. UMass Law is part of the University of Massachusetts system and has full accreditation by the American Bar Association. It offers multiple degree programs, including the Juris Doctor, JD/MBA and JD/MPP degrees. After graduating, students can look forward to various career opportunities due to the school's high bar passage rate and positive reputation.
If you are a law student facing accusations of academic misconduct, you may not know what steps to take. No student enters law school intending to make mistakes. Still, they are a normal part of the journey to becoming a lawyer. However, since some errors have a more significant impact, you may face sanctions that include suspension and expulsion. And because UMass Law is the only public law school in the state, you have limited options if you receive a permanent discharge from the law school. With so much on the line, you may decide to forfeit your chance of becoming a lawyer altogether. However, there is hope for a better outcome if you work with an advisor specializing in student defense.
Academic Integrity Policy
The Academic integrity policy at the University of Massachusetts applies to all students, including those attending UMass Law. The policy statement maintains that students must demonstrate exemplary standards to promote the pursuit of truth and justice. As a future attorney, you must keep those same standards to represent your clients, making these standards doubly crucial as you learn and complete your degree. According to the policy, the following actions constitute academic misconduct:
- Cheating: When students cheat, they use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids to gain an unfair advantage during an academic exercise.
- Fabrication: Students may not fabricate or falsify information, such as citations, in their academic exercises. Another example of this violation is when students knowingly place false information on a form.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Law students must take precautions to prevent others from using their work. Some examples of this violation include taking an exam or quiz for another student or allowing them to copy from an academic exercise. Another is providing copies of their work for others to use without authorization.
- Plagiarism: When a student plagiarizes, they copy the work of another author verbatim or paraphrase the content without giving credit. Using any material without inputting citations, intentionally or accidentally, is prohibited.
- Denying Access/Willful Damage: Students must not damage property or restrict others from accessing scholarly resources. Additionally, they must not deliberately provide their peers or professors with wrong information or deface books and journals.
In addition to the above, other forms of academic misconduct include violating research or professional ethics and those involving selling exam material or stealing a test from a professor's office. According to the policy, these violations fall under potential criminal activity and lead to severe sanctions.
Procedures for Reporting Academic Misconduct
According to the policy, academic integrity violations are serious offenses that come with penalties. In addition to sanctions, professors also have the right to address violations under their authority to evaluate and assign grades. Any member of UMass who believes that an infarction occurred may report a Student Code violation through the Academic Integrity Reporting Form. Once the Director of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution receives the complaint, they inform the accused student within 72 hours of the incident and schedule a Conduct Conference.
During the Conduct Conference, the accused student and the Facilitator discuss the incident and review their resolution options. If the student takes responsibility for the charges, the Conduct Conference Facilitator recommends sanctions. If the student disagrees, an investigation determines whether a breach occurred. After the inquiry ends, the investigator sends their findings to the Administrative Review Panel, which may:
- Affirm the findings and sanctions
- Accept the findings but alter the sanctions recommendation
- Alter the results and recommendation
- Reject the investigator's findings
- Return the matter to the investigator with recommendations
- Ask for a different investigator to review the case
After this process ends, the Director of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution sends the accused student a decision letter within three business days with the recommended sanctions.
Students can appeal the findings by sending a letter to the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution. The appeal comes with conditions, such as if there was a violation of the basic tenets of due process or new evidence. An Appeal Officer reviews the petition and determines whether to affirm or deny the appeal.
Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
Sanctions for academic misconduct depend on the type of violation and the student's past behavior. These penalties include:
- A letter of warning to the student
- A letter of apology to the instructor
- Disciplinary probation
- Deferred Suspension
- Suspension for up to two years from the university
- Permanent Dismissal
Although the list of sanctions is not lengthy, the penalties are enough to cause significant damage to the student's reputation and academic path.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
If you face accusations of academic misconduct at UMass Law, do not get angry or panic. You can work with a skilled attorney-advisor who understands your situation. You need the experience of a professional specializing in student defense like Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento.
Advisor Lento has years of experience working with students accused of academic misconduct nationwide. With his attention to detail and expertise, advisor Lento identifies mishaps and biases that prevent you from receiving a fair review of your case. It's essential to take the charges seriously and not approach the matter alone. Without the right approach and defense strategy, your years of hard work and effort won't protect you from a suspension or expulsion.
You are a student and making mistakes is part of the learning process. Don't let one error be why you can no longer become an attorney.
If you or someone you love face accusations of academic misconduct at UMass Law, don't delay. Call the Lento Law Firm for a discreet and thorough consultation at 888-535-3686.