Student Defense - University of Oregon School of Law

Established in 1884 in Portland, Oregon, the University of Oregon School of Law is Oregon's only state-funded law school and among its oldest. UO School of Law offers multiple prominent law programs in legal research and writing and conflict and dispute resolution. The institution's students have various career opportunities to look forward to since 9 in 10 of its graduates find employment within ten months of graduation. However, graduation also requires that students maintain high integrity standards befitting their future profession.

The UO School of Law takes a harsh stance against academic misconduct, imposing strict rules and severe penalties for those who commit egregious or multiple violations. Whether the action was deliberate or unintentional, students must defend themselves before a panel and go through the hearing process. While some cases lead to minor sanctions, others have severe penalties, like suspension or expulsion. Without the help of an attorney-advisor, students may lose years of time and effort due to allegations of academic misconduct that can destroy their dream of becoming attorneys.

Academic Misconduct at UO School of Law

The University of Oregon's Student Conduct Code applies to all students enrolled in the university. Its academic misconduct section is the first in the code, defining the term and giving examples of violations. According to the document, the following actions constitute a violation and may lead to sanctions:

  • Assisting others to commit academic misconduct: When a student knowingly helps peers engage in an unauthorized activity relating to academic work.
  • Cheating: This action relates to any activity that allows a student to gain an unfair advantage over other students. Examples include collaborating with others on tests, using prohibited items like study aids and notes, and accessing unauthorized information.
  • Fabrication: Students who provide false information in academic exercises are engaging in fraudulent activity. Examples include making up data, sources, and results.
  • Multiple Submissions: It is a violation of the student code for students to recycle the work of one class and use it for another.
  • Plagiarism: Students may not use the work of another individual, including their ideas, digital material, or theories, and present it as their own without citation.
  • Unauthorized dissemination or use of information: In some cases, a student may purchase an exam online or copy exam questions and sell them. These actions are egregious offenses that may lead to suspension or expulsion.

The university also published a list of standard operating procedures for academic misconduct with detailed information about the process. Any member of the university may report a violation to the instructor, chair, or dean of the school. Once a faculty member receives notice of the issue, they schedule an initial meeting with the student to discuss the case. After the meeting, the faculty member may dismiss the case, offer a resolution, impose sanctions if the student admits, or refer the matter to the Director when the student denies wrongdoing.

Administrative Conference

If the Director believes that a case should progress to a hearing, they send the student a written notice. The notice includes details of the allegation and what the adjudication process entails. After scheduling an informal meeting, the Director decides whether the issue requires an administrative conference. During the conference, a student may have a support person present and propose witnesses. Unlike a traditional hearing where a student stands before a panel, this meeting only involves the student, their support person, the case manager, and any persons the case manager deems appropriate.

After the administrative conference concludes, the case manager determines based on the evidence whether a violation occurred. The student's records also undergo review. The student receives notice of the decision within 15 business days. Fortunately, students have the chance to appeal this decision.

Appeals Process

Students wishing to appeal the administrative conference decision must do so within ten business days of receiving formal notice. However, as listed in the policy, there must be a basis for the appeal. These bases include procedural irregularities, the emergence of new information, disproportionate sanctions, or insufficient evidence to support the findings. The request receives consideration by the University Appellate Body that has the power to amend, dismiss, or proceed with the recommended sanctions.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

The penalties for committing academic misconduct depend on the severity of the violation or the number of times it occurred. According to the code, sanctions include:

  • A conduct warning provided as a written notice
  • Failure of a course or receiving a reduced grade
  • Loss of privileges
  • Loss of student housing
  • Disciplinary probation that may lead to more severe sanctions in the event of recurrence
  • Suspension for a temporary period and having to reside in non-university housing during that time
  • Permanent dismissal from the university
  • Degree revocation after graduation
  • Negative notation on the student's permanent transcript

If a student receives a suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation, it will certainly affect their future. Other law schools will likely reject the student's application due to the negative notation on their transcript. Moreover, employers may also review the student's conduct history and reject their application.

Any finding of responsibility, however, even probation, can potentially derail a law student's plans because aside from potential legal employers and other professional opportunities considering the matter, law students have to overcome the character and fitness portion of the bar exam. Unfortunately, a finding of academic misconduct can raise questions in the minds of bar examiners as to the applicant's fitness to practice law. Thankfully, law students can receive the guidance of an attorney-advisor who can help them navigate these difficult circumstances with the goal being to avoid these potential consequences.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

Even if a case seems hopeless, every student deserves a fair chance to defend against allegations and decrease sanction severity. Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student academic misconduct defense. With years of experience handling cases of varying complexity nationwide, Attorney Lento works hard to help law students receive the best possible outcome during the investigation and hearing process.

Law students work tirelessly to become the attorneys of the future. Still, their dreams can end if they receive a finding and sanction. Attorney-Advisor Lento helps during every step, identifying bias, procedural errors, and opportunities that help students have a fighting chance.

Don't wait until the appeals process if you face academic misconduct sanctions such as suspension or expulsion from UO School of Law. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a discreet consultation 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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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