Student Defense – University of California Los Angeles

UCLA and the UCLA School of Law are both committed to maintaining a community that promotes honesty, integrity, and responsibility, and is free from all forms of exploitation, intimidation, and harassment. To these ends, both the University and the Law School have student conduct policies in place to ensure students behave according to these values and standards.

UCLA Law is particularly concerned with law students' conduct and their fitness for the practice of law. Not only must law students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the law, but they must also demonstrate the moral character it takes to be a lawyer. Students must show respect for others as well as respect for the law.

For many graduate students, the next step after completing their degree requirements is obtaining official licensure in their profession. The same is true for law graduates, but law graduates generally must also pass a character and fitness evaluation with the state bar's board of examiners. Any misconduct violations during your time as a law student can interfere with your ability to enter the legal profession.

Student Misconduct at UCLA School of Law

While UCLA Law defers to the wider UCLA policies concerning student conduct, the Law School does specifically prohibit forms of academic misconduct, including:

  • Cheating on exams or papers
  • Plagiarism
  • Submitting work as “multiple submission”
  • Misrepresentations of a student's academic record

For academic and non-academic misconduct violations, law students at UCLA Law are subject to the UCLA Student Conduct Code, a university-wide set of student conduct policies. The Student Conduct Code prevents several forms of misconduct by students, including academic, personal, and professional.

Examples of Academic Misconduct at UCLA and UCLA Law

  • Cheating: Includes but is not limited to using unauthorized materials, information, or study aids for an academic exercise or not respecting examination instructions
  • Fabrication of research: Inventing information or citations for a term paper, exam, or another academic exercise
  • Falsification of research: Manipulating research materials
  • Plagiarism: Use of another person's work without proper attribution. Work could words, ideas, designs, or data. All submissions for academic credit should be the student's own work.
  • Multiple submissions: Submitting work for credit in a UCLA course that was previously done for another institution or another UCLA course.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty: Knowingly helping another student commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  • Coercion or threats regarding evaluation of coursework: Threatening an instructor to change a grade.
  • Other forms of dishonesty: May include fabricating information or knowingly giving false information, or reporting a false emergency to the University.

How UCLA Law Handles Student Misconduct

UCLA Law doesn't have its own misconduct procedures but rather refers cases of law student misconduct to the UCLA Office of Student Conduct.

Steps of Student Conduct Procedures at UCLA

When the Office of Student Conduct receives a formal complaint about student misconduct, they follow these steps:

  • Review by Dean: The Dean of Student Affairs reviews the complaint and decides to move forward with it or not.
  • Notice: If you are accused of misconduct, you will receive notice from the Office of Student Conduct and must respond within five days to set up a meeting.
  • Meeting with the Dean: After you meet with the Dean, the Dean may either 1) send you a letter of admonition, 2) impose sanctions, 3) refer you to the Student Conduct Committee, 4) close the case for insufficient information, or 5) come to an Agreement of Resolution with you.
  • Appeal of the Dean's Sanction: If the Dean imposes a sanction of deferred suspension, deferred dismissal, suspension, or dismissal on you after your meeting, you may appeal. You have five days to send notice of appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, who will review the case and give you a decision 10 days later.
  • Hearing with the Student Conduct Committee: If the Dean refers you to the Student Conduct Committee, you will have a hearing. At the hearing, you're allowed to have an advisor, such as a legal counsel, to assist you. You will present documents, answer questions, or question witnesses at the hearing, and the Hearing Committee will determine if it's more likely than not that you violated the code.
  • Decision: 10 days after the end of the hearing, you'll receive the Hearing Committee's report and the Dean's decision.

Appealing a Misconduct Determination at UCLA

If you want to appeal the Dean's decision following the hearing, you must submit a written appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs within five days of receiving written notice of the Dean's decision.

You can only appeal if:

  • You believe the hearing didn't follow the procedures in the UCLA Student Conduct Code.
  • You have new information that may alter the findings, that wasn't reasonably available at the time of the hearing.
  • You believe the imposed sanctions are disproportionate with the severity of the violation.

After you submit an appeal, the Vice Chancellor will have 15 days to respond, and their decision is final.

Possible Sanctions

If you're found to be in violation of the Student Conduct Code, you may face one of the following sanctions:

  • Warning
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Deferred suspension
  • Deferred dismissal
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Revocation of awarding of degree
  • Exclusion from areas of campus
  • Community service
  • Restitution
  • Letter of apology

Can a Specialized Student Defense Advisor Help?

If you're facing a misconduct allegation at UCLA Law, how can a student defense attorney-advisor assist you? They can help hold your institution to account, ensuring they follow the proper procedures. An advisor can also help you understand your rights throughout the disciplinary process.

Joseph D. Lento has helped thousands of graduate and undergraduate students across the country defend themselves from misconduct allegations at their colleges or universities. If you want to protect your future as a lawyer, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.

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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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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