Established in 1980, Touro Law Center is a private, not-for-profit law school located in Long Island, New York. Touro Law Center offers Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees. Students have multiple enrollment options to choose from, with full and part-time programs and an accelerated JD program. All law students have the chance to partake in clinical programs and externships before graduation. With its flexible study options, you can finish your degree at a pace that's comfortable for you.
Enrollment in a law school is the first of many steps on your path to becoming an attorney. However, you must also consistently demonstrate academic integrity and ethical behavior to remain enrolled. Misconduct charges harm your reputation and may delay your graduation prospects. Without the help of an attorney-advisor, you may face sanctions at Touro Law Center that can place your dreams of becoming a lawyer on hold – in some cases, permanently.
Academic Integrity at Touro Law Center
Academic integrity is high on the list of desired student traits within the Touro College and University System (TCUS). The administration released a video explaining what constitutes a violation of the School's academic integrity principles. The policy applies to all TCUS students, including Touro Law Center students. The written policy, however, is more thorough and contains a comprehensive description of actions, such as:
- Plagiarism: This action is when a student deliberately or knowingly fails to provide a citation or reference after using another person's work. Students also plagiarize when they summarize a theory or idea without crediting the original creator.
- Cheating: When a person cheats, they use multiple means to gain an unfair advantage over their peers. Cheating happens during exams, quizzes, and using unauthorized materials not approved by administrators.
- Research Misconduct & Other Ethical Misconduct: Students engaging in research must not fabricate, falsify, or plagiarize any results to improve their grades.
- Misleading or Fraudulent Behavior: Students must not engage in actions intended to mislead professors, administrators, or peers. Examples provided in the policy include reporting false information, omitting data, falsely accusing others of misconduct, or inputting incorrect information into an application.
- Tampering: This violation comes in many forms, such as deliberately removing pages of an article from a journal, sabotaging another student's work, making changes to a transcript or official document, and changing electronic data.
- Copyright Violations: Students may not make copies of copyrighted material and distribute them to others or on the internet.
To deter instances of academic integrity, TCUS engages in best practices to promote academic integrity. They apply to staff members and students, include training, and encompass testing and teaching procedures. Despite these safeguards, however, students will make mistakes. Due to this, the policy lists a series of sanctions depending on the severity and magnitude of the violation.
Upon suspicion of an academic integrity violation, a faculty member or student must report the incident to a department Chairperson. The latter reviews and then submits the report to the Chief Academic Integrity Officer or CAI. Students have two options: they may choose an informal resolution if they agree with the charges and sanctions or a formal one that leads to a hearing.
The hearing occurs before the Standing Committee on Academic Integrity of the School. The committee hears the student and accuser's statement, reviews information and evidence, and deliberates before recommending sanctions. Since, as mentioned in the policy, this process is non-adversarial, accused students may not have counsel attend.
A student may appeal a committee's decision on three conditions:
- Procedural error
- The emergence of new evidence or material that was not available during the hearing
- One or more members of the committee demonstrated a bias towards the accused
If a student believes that one of these conditions applies to their case, they may send a formal written appeal to the Appeals Dean for the School. The Dean may ask to see the student and discuss the matter further.
After an appeal, an acceptance, modification, or rejection of the committee's decision is possible. The Dean will notify the student in writing. The student may also appeal to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) after receiving the Dean's decision. The CAO's decision is final.
Possible Sanctions for Academic Integrity Policy Violations
Sanctions for violating the academic integrity policy are part of three Classes: A, B, and C. They include the following penalties:
- Revocation of a degree in the event the student graduated
- A letter of reprimand
- An indication of “Disciplinary Action for Academic Integrity Violation” on their permanent transcript
- Academic Probation
- Failure of the Course
- A grade reduction
- Repeating the academic exercise
Although Class C sanctions do not affect a student's transcript, the other two classes are more damaging to a student's reputation and progress. If you face an accusation of academic misconduct, don't wait until the issue snowballs and becomes more than you can handle. Any sanctions can quickly ruin the years of time and effort you spent studying to become a lawyer. Even if Touro does not allow an advisor to attend, you can still receive sound advice that helps you argue your case before a panel.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Allegations of academic misconduct negatively affect your future and cause issues down the line when seeking employment. Even if you make an honest mistake, developing a defense strategy to protect against harsh sanctions is necessary.
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with law students facing allegations of academic misconduct. Because he specializes in student defense, attorney-advisor Lento helps decrease the likelihood of a negative sanction, even if Touro does not permit counsel to attend the hearing.
If you or someone in your family face accusations of academic misconduct, you don't have to go through it alone. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a consultation at 888-535-3686.