Going to law school to become a lawyer is one of the most important and difficult undertakings for a student. You already know about the importance of academic integrity in your undergrad years, but the need to maintain a stellar academic reputation is even more important in law school.
Being completely trustworthy and sticking to a code of ethics is one of the principal tenets of the legal profession, so being accused of any sort of misconduct while in law school can put you in a very difficult position. If you've been accused of wrongdoing or academic misconduct, you need to act fast in order to protect and save your reputation.
The University of South Carolina School of Law Takes Academic Integrity Very Seriously
The University of South Carolina School of Law expects its students to be stellar representatives of the community. The school is training its students to enter the legal profession and, as such, expects them to abide by an explicitly laid out Honor Code. Some of the rules of the Code that students must follow include the following:
- The student must not plagiarize. This means that the student mustn't knowingly take the words and thoughts from someone else and present them as their own.
- The student must not commit a criminal act that includes a violation of any local, state, or federal law.
- The student must not lie, including knowingly communicating false information or withholding information that would reveal something to be a lie. The rule against lying doesn't only apply to activities connected to schoolwork but also prohibits lying during an investigation into any sort of academic misconduct.
- The student must not cheat. Cheating means gaining or giving information that eliminates other students' opportunities to have a fair advantage when it comes to tests, exams, or grading. You may think that cheating is only cheating when someone gains information unfairly, but you could also be accused of cheating if you're the one who gave someone else answers or information they weren't supposed to have access to.
If a student believes that another student has committed academic misconduct at the Law School, it's that student's responsibility to relay that information to the instructor or to the Dean. If a student believes that they themselves may have violated the Code in any way, even inadvertently, they must report themselves to their instructor or to the Dean immediately.
Disciplinary Process for Academic Misconduct at the University of South Carolina School of Law
There are specific procedures that the School of Law follows once a student has been accused of academic misconduct.
- Once an instructor or someone else other than an instructor has reported an alleged violation, the report will be sent to the Dean, who will make an initial determination as to the plausibility of the accusation.
- If the Dean agrees that misconduct may have taken place, the Dean will appoint an investigator to look into the allegation. This investigator must be a law school faculty member who's been at the school for at least three years. The investigator cannot be the instructor of the course where the violation took place.
- If you are found guilty, the findings of the investigator will stand unless you file an appeal. You'll have ten days to file an appeal with the Dean. If you don't, you're accepting the decision of the school as final.
- You can file an appeal if you believe that your rights were denied in any way under the Code. You can also file an appeal if there's new information that's been discovered. You can also file if you believe that the sanctions levied against you by the school don't match the allegations.
The Outcome of an Academic Misconduct Hearing at the Law School Could Change Your Life Forever
There are several outcomes that could come about at the end of an academic misconduct investigation and/or hearing at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Some of those outcomes include the following:
- You could be excluded from taking part in extracurricular activities at the school for at least a semester. The record of that exclusion will be recorded in the office of the school's University of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity as well as in the Law Registrar's office.
- You could receive a letter of reprimand that will be sent by the Chair of the Hearing Panel, and that will also be recorded in the Law Registrar's Office and as well as in the University Office of Student Conduct.
- You could receive an oral reprimand by the Chair of the Hearing Panel. The record of that reprimand will then be kept in the Law Registrar's Office as well as in the University Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.
- You could be suspended from the Law School for at least one full semester.
- Depending on what stage you are at in school, the school could decide to rescind your acceptance into the Law School, expel you from the school permanently, or revoke the law degree that you received from the school.
Working With an Experienced Attorney Is Critical During an Academic Integrity Investigation
As you can see, your educational life, and possibly your entire future, is on the line when you're facing academic misconduct allegations at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Depending on the outcome of any disciplinary action, you could be facing an outcome that is impossible to come back from. Having an experienced student discipline attorney by your side can make all the difference between salvaging your education and your career and losing everything. Taking the chance by going it alone is one of the worst things you could do since decisions are considered final.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience representing law students all across the nation who have dealt with all types of academic misconduct allegations. By having him and his team by your side as you fight your battle, you have a better chance of presenting the best defense possible. Call the Lento Firm today at 888-535-3686 to help ensure that you have the best chance of saving your educational life and your career.