Student Defense: University of St. Thomas Minneapolis

The University of St. Thomas School of Law is a private law school in Minneapolis established in 1999. It is part of the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution of higher education. The law school advocated for social justice, emphasizing practical training, clinical programs, and externships for a well-rounded modern education. Upon graduation, students can look forward to multiple career opportunities that help them start a solid legal career. However, to remain enrolled at the law school, students must demonstrate the highest ethical behavior and responsibility standards that set them apart as future lawyers.

It's not a secret that law school is tough. Between the sleepless nights studying and the hours of effort you put in daily to succeed, it's not for everyone. However, every student makes mistakes, and administrators understand that this phase of your life is a learning process. However, not all errors lead to the same result. Some are serious, while others harm the student and the university's reputation. Students must refrain from academic misconduct violations to remain in good standing and graduate without issues. When issues arise, and you need help, the experience of an attorney-advisor decreases the likelihood of facing penalties that negatively affect your future.

Student Handbook and Misconduct Violations

According to the most recent student handbook for the school of law, all students must respect and follow the Honor Code. Students must also not engage in academic misconduct, including actions like omissions and violations. The code has an extensive list of what constitutes infarctions and includes the penalties for noncompliance.

According to the code, the following actions constitute academic misconduct violations:

  • Cheating: Multiple actions fall under this category. Some examples provided in the code include giving or securing information without a professor's authorization and possessing prohibited items during an exam. Other examples include concealing or withholding law school property and copying material to distribute to others.
  • Plagiarism: When students plagiarize another person's work, they use the material without citing the author. In other cases, they may paraphrase material and attempt to pass it on as their work. Another way that students engage in this violation is if they submit the same work to multiple professors without permission.
  • Misconduct Involving Library Materials: Students must respect the law school library and only use it ethically and responsibly. Thus, destroying and defacing property is a severe violation, including disrupting others or preventing them from using the facility.
  • Misrepresentation: All actions involving misrepresenting a fact are violations. For example, students may not use another person's work and claim it is their own. Additionally, the failure to disclose important information is another form of this action.
  • Miscellaneous Offenses: All actions that don't fall into one of the above categories but involve academic misconduct are part of these offenses. Examples include accessing material inappropriately, substantially disrupting class, and recklessly providing inaccurate data to faculty members.

Because the law school at the University of St. Thomas prides itself on religious and moral values, students must ensure that they do not commit actions that lead to sanctions. The law school is serious about prosecuting violations and will impose harsh penalties for egregious actions.

Hearing Process

Every member of the St. Thomas University School of Law must report violations and have a duty to comply with the code's provisions. Suppose someone believes that a student committed an offense. In that case, they must report the incident to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, or the Assistant Dean for Professionalism. If, after review, an investigation shows that a violation occurred and the student does not admit wrongdoing, the student must stand before a hearing panel.

The hearing panel contains members of the honor council and the Hearing Officer, who notifies the accused of the time and date of the hearing. The university maintains that the procedures are inquisitorial, not adversarial. Accused students have the right to one personal representative of their choice to attend the hearing. Still, they may not participate directly in the proceedings. Once the panel hears the witness statements, questions the parties involved, and examines the evidence, it recommends a sanction based on a voting system.

Appeals

Students have the right to appeal the hearing panel's decision by writing to the Dean of the Law School. However, for the appeal to receive consideration, the student must give a reason for their request, not merely because they disagree with the decision. Once the Dean receives the request, they may alter the decision depending on the evidence. The Dean's decision is final.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

St. Thomas University School of Law imposes strict sanctions against students who go against the code. Many penalties are minor, but some potentially drastically affect a student's progress and chances of graduation. As per the code, the following are possible penalties for engaging in academic misconduct:

  • Loss of eligibility for pro bono services
  • Loss of scholarships and grants
  • A written acknowledgment and apology
  • Restitution or community service
  • Restriction from law school privileges
  • Dismissal or suspension from student organizations
  • Grade reduction for an exam or course
  • Involuntary withdrawal from a course
  • Denying course credit
  • Notation on the student's transcript
  • Public or private reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of Degree

Sanctions can change your career trajectory and make employers hesitate to hire you. With all that can go wrong, you need the help of an experienced professional specializing in student defense.

Contacting an Attorney-Advisor

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento understands what you and your family are going through when your degree is on the line. With years of experience working with students nationwide, advisor Lento knows what is at stake and how to work with even the most challenging hearing panels.

Advisor Lento decreases the likelihood of an unfavorable case outcome due to bias, lack of evidence, and false accusations. With his experience and professional demeanor, you have a shoulder to rely on when the going gets tough.

If you or a loved one face accusations of academic misconduct at St. Thomas University School of Law, don't delay. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a confidential 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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