Established in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School (UB Law) is the only graduate professional law school within the SUNY system. UB Law is part of a research-intensive public university school that is the largest in the Northeast. It ranks among the top ten institutions for the LL.M program in the state and is one of the highest-rated law schools for Super Lawyers. UB Law also offers cross-border learning opportunities for students due to its close location to the border.
Students graduating from UB Law have numerous career opportunities to look forward to upon graduation. However, they must maintain high standards of academic integrity to complete their program. Suspicions of academic misconduct may lead to severe sanctions, including grade failure, suspension, and expulsion. Without the help of an adept attorney-advisor, students may face stressful challenges and consequences due to a misunderstanding or mistake.
Academic Integrity Policy
Although University of Buffalo Law has a separate policy that outlines student conduct standards, it maintains the general academic integrity policies of the University at Buffalo. The university-wide policy lists examples of misconduct and describes the adjudication and appeals processes. As per the university's website, academic integrity is a fundamental value. It prohibits all actions that undermine the honest completion of a student's work, such as:
- Aiding in Academic Dishonesty: Students may not deliberately take action that allows a peer to engage in dishonest academic activity. Examples include taking an exam for another student or completing assignments for them.
- Cheating: When students cheat, they gain an unfair advantage over their peers. These activities include bringing prohibited items to a test, quiz, or assignment and gaining unauthorized access to exam material that belongs to the professor.
- Falsifying Academic Material: Students must not fabricate notes, forms, reports, and other academic materials or submit work completed by others.
- Misrepresenting Documents: This action involves incidents that include forgery or deliberate misuse of forms, ID, or records.
- Plagiarism: Students must always give original authors credit for their ideas if they use them during an academic exercise. Other forms of plagiarizing work include paraphrasing another person's theory and not including citations.
- Purchasing Academic Assignments: Students cannot purchase an academic assignment, such as an essay or homework from another source, and attempt to pass it off as their work.
- Selling Academic Assignments: Students may not sell or offer to sell their writing services to assist other students in cheating.
- Submitting Previous Academic Work: If students want to use previously submitted academic work, they must inform their professor of their intent. Failing to do so is prohibited and is a form of misconduct.
Any student who suspects that someone is engaging in academic misconduct must report the incident within ten days of the alleged violation to the instructor.
The Resolution, Appeal, and Hearing Process
An instructor has the power to impose sanctions at University of Buffalo Law. If a professor believes that a student engaged in academic misconduct, they schedule a consultative meeting to discuss the matter. After the meeting, the instructor determines whether the student committed a violation. If not, the student doesn't receive a punishment. If, however, the professor believes the student is at fault, they may impose one or multiple sanctions, depending on the nature of the violation.
Students who disagree with the sanctions or professor's findings have the right to appeal the matter to the Academic Integrity Office within ten days of the decision. The office may dismiss the student's appeal or call for a hearing. Although students may have an advisor present during this process, it prohibits attorneys from attending or engaging with the committee.
After the committee reviews the matter, they take one of three decisions:
- Findings overturned with no imposed sanctions
- Findings and sanctions sustained
- Revising sanctions but supporting findings
Appealing the Committee's Decision
Students have one final chance to appeal the committee's findings. They must send an appeal letter to the Office of Academic Integrity Director within ten days of receiving the decision. Students may only submit this request if they believe a procedural error occurred or if new evidence emerges that potentially changes the case's trajectory.
The Director may call for a new hearing or affirm the original findings. The subsequent hearing, if any, incurs a final decision with no chance to re-appeal.
Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
The sanctions list ranges from a warning to more severe penalties that may affect students' graduation prospects. They include:
- A written notice outlining the violation and that additional misconduct may lead to more severe sanctions
- A revision of previously submitted work
- Reducing the student's assignment grade
- Decreasing the student's course grade
- Failing the course with mandatory remediation
- Suspension with a permanent notation on the student transcript
- Expulsion with a permanent note on their transcript
The university maintains that students have a chance to remove all but severe sanctions from their transcript if they complete remediation courses. However, suspension and expulsion remain on their record. These punishments also decrease the likelihood of students transferring to another law school.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Although the University at Buffalo does not allow students to have an attorney present during the adjudication process, they can still turn to a professional for help. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with law students facing challenging and uncertain futures due to academic misconduct. Specializing in student defense, Attorney-Advisor Lento helps students fight for a fair chance, regardless of the severity of the violation.
With a professional by their side, students have a higher chance of a favorable case outcome. They don't have to accept sanctions without negotiating or defending themselves. Although students can take on the case independently, the experience is stressful. They may not have the expertise to identify procedural errors and biases.
If you face academic misconduct charges at University of Buffalo Law, don't wait until the appeals process to take action. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or send a message today to discuss your options.