At the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law (UF Law), students must conduct themselves to the highest degree of ethical integrity. UF Law's goal is to serve the public and the legal profession by producing attorneys dedicated to promoting justice, excellence, and respect for the law. As lawyers in training, students must understand the importance of honesty in academic and professional behavior, as conduct in law school demonstrates whether students are fit to become fully licensed and practicing attorneys.
Students who do not hold themselves to UF Law's ethical standards in the classroom and other law-school-related work may find themselves facing disciplinary action. Although formal sanctions from UF Law can be strict, the repercussions of an academic honesty violation on a student's record can last well beyond law school. Students found guilty of academic or professional misconduct during law school may have difficulty obtaining clerkships, seeking employment, enrolling in another law school, or even passing the bar's character and fitness evaluation. Law schools usually have a responsibility to communicate such violations to the bar association where a student is seeking admittance as well.
If you are a UF Law student accused of academic or professional misconduct, your future legal career could be at stake. Before it's too late, consider contacting a student defense attorney-advisor to guide you through the disciplinary process at UF Law.
Student Misconduct at UF Law
UF Law has an Honor Code, which is part of the University of Florida Student Conduct Code. The law school's Honor Committee oversees the administration of the Honor Code and includes two law students, two faculty advisors, the Dean of the law school, and one representative from the University of Florida Office of Student Judicial Affairs.
The purpose of the Honor Code is to ensure all students flourish academically in an environment where mutual trust and respect form the bedrock of community relationships. Every member of the UF Law community is considered trustworthy until proven otherwise.
Examples of academic misconduct at UF Law
According to the UF Law, any violation of the University Academic Honesty Guidelines is a violation of the UF Law Honor Code as well. Some actions prohibited by the University Academic Honesty Guidelines are:
- Making a false or misleading statement to procure an academic advantage
- Collaborating when not authorized to do so on an exam
- Collaborating or consulting in any other academic or co-curricular activity after receiving written notice that such conduct is prohibited
- Using unauthorized materials or resources in an academic activity
- Submitting a paper or project to satisfy an academic requirement that was previously submitted by the student for another academic requirement
- Using any materials or resources prepared by another student without their consent
- Using fabricated or falsified information
- Interfering with or sabotaging academic activity
- Tampering with another student's work
- Unauthorized taking or receipt of materials or resources to gain an academic advantage
- Submission of academic work purchased from an outside source
How Does UF Law Handle Student Misconduct?
Any UF Law student or faculty member can report suspected violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Committee. If the allegation warrants an accusation and falls within the scope of the Honor Code, the Honor Committee can proceed with the case. If not, the report may be dismissed or referred to Student Judicial Affairs in the Dean of Students' Office.
Honor Committee hearing
Once an accused student is notified of the accusation against them, they may accept responsibility and proceed to the sanctioning process or request a hearing before the Honor Committee. The hearing board consists of three Honor Committee members. Students may choose an informal or formal hearing, depending on the severity of the violation. At informal hearings, students can have an advisor present, but they may not present evidence or question witnesses. At formal hearings, students may have an advisor present as well, and they can question adverse witnesses and provide evidence.
If the Honor Committee determines that the student has violated the Honor Code, the Committee then decides an appropriate sanction to recommend to the Review Board. Determination of a sanction takes place at a sanctioning hearing, which students who have been found guilty may attend. The Review Board, which consists of the Dean of the College of Law, the University of Florida Dean of Students, and the Chair of the Honor Committee, must confirm the sanctions before they're implemented.
If a student has received a guilty adjudication from the Honor Committee hearing, they can ask the Review Board to review the case. If the Review Board upholds the guilty determination and accompanying sanction, the student has a final option for appeal, to the University of Florida Vice President for Student Affairs. The Vice President's decision is final.
If a student is guilty of an Honor Code violation, any one of the following sanctions in the University of Florida Regulations 6C1-4.016(3) may apply:
- Formal written reprimand
- Conduct probation
- Loss of university privileges
- Reduced or failing grade
- Community/university service
- Education requirements
- Residence hall transfer or removal
- No contact order
Contacting a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
If UF Law has accused you of an Honor Code violation, you must consider it a serious matter. You will have to go through formal disciplinary procedures to clear your name and avoid an official sanction. If you've never dealt with discipline processes at a university before, you may feel overwhelmed. A student defense attorney-advisor can guide you through the process, ensuring your defense is solid and that your law school respects your rights. Too much is at stake to not respond to law school disciplinary allegations as seriously as possible, and an experienced attorney-advisor will do everything within their power to work towards a fair process and a favorable outcome.
Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students involved in academic misconduct cases and with other with other issues which can affect a law student's academic and professional goals. To protect your future as a lawyer, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.