Student Defense – University of Tulsa College of Law

The University of Tulsa College of Law (TU Law) demands high ethical standards from its students. Members of the legal profession must act with honesty, integrity, and fairness, so TU Law expects no less from students who are training to become lawyers. Students should conduct themselves in a manner that avoids even the appearance of impropriety and always act with honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. Students should also be aware that their behavior reflects on TU Law as an institution.

TU Law students who do not act according to these values may face disciplinary action from the law school. Instances of academic dishonesty may go on a student's law school record, which TU Law can share with state bar associations. Students with a misconduct incident may struggle to pass their character and fitness evaluation or to gain employment after graduation.

If you have been accused of academic misconduct by TU Law, your future as a lawyer could be in jeopardy. Consider contacting an experienced student defense attorney-advisor for assistance.

Student Misconduct at TU Law

All students at TU Law must follow an Honor Code, which describes prohibited behavior related to academics and the procedures for handling suspected violations of the Code. The Honor Code applies to all students enrolled in TU Law courses, all on-campus student conduct, and student conduct within the public sector and community that affects or involves another student of TU Law.

The Dean of TU Law and the Honor Code Committee (HCC) are responsible for handling reports of Honor Code violations and administering the Code. The HCC consists of three faculty members and two students chosen by the Student Bar Association (SBA) President. One of the faculty members serves as chair of the Committee.

Examples of Prohibited Conduct at TU Law

  • Knowingly breaking the security maintained for preparation and storage of exams
  • Taking an exam or preparing an academic assignment for another student; permitting another student to take an exam or prepare an academic assignment in one's place
  • Possessing or referring to any source not authorized by the professor on an exam or during an academic exercise
  • Giving, receiving, or obtaining information or help on an exam or academic assignment when it is not authorized by the professor
  • Discussing any part of an exam a student has already taken with another student who has not taken the exam
  • Conversing or otherwise communicating with any person during an exam, except the person administering the exam
  • Submitting work prepared, submitted, or used for any other purpose for academic credit at TU Law
  • Taking or copying material belonging to or in the rightful possession of another student or faculty member without their consent
  • Plagiarism
  • Willfully or intentionally marking, tearing, mutilating, destroying, hiding, mis-shelving, misfiling, or removing library material

Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Misconduct a TU Law

TU Law handles suspected violations of the Honor Code in two stages, involving the Dean and the HCC.

Stage One

Anyone can report a suspected violation of the Honor Code to the Dean in writing. Once the Dean receives this report, they will investigate the alleged violation take one of the following actions:

  • Enter a plea agreement with the accused student
  • Refer the matter to the HCC after determining there is probable cause that an Honor Code violation has occurred
  • Dismiss the matter

Stage Two

After the Dean refers a report of an allegation to the HCC, the Committee calls a hearing within 20 days. Accused students that show good cause can ask for a later hearing date. At the hearing, the Dean acts as the prosecutor on behalf of TU Law.

Both the Dean and the accused student may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses during the hearing. The burden of proof rests on the Dean, and the standard is clear and convincing evidence. Accused students also have the right to have counsel represent at the hearing and may remain silent during the hearing if they choose.

The HCC will hear arguments and witnesses and evaluate evidence during the hearing, then once it's over, deliberate as long as needed to reach a decision. The Committee requires a majority vote to decide if a student is guilty or not guilty of committing an Honor Code violation. If the HCC decides a student is guilty, it may also impose sanctions.

Appeals

Students who find the decision of the HCC erroneous may appeal it within 20 days of the HCC issuing its report. The faculty of TU Law hear appeals and may decide that the HCC decision was made in error and order a new HCC to rehear the case or affirm the HCC's decision.

After the faculty's decision, students may still appeal to the University of Tulsa. Students have five days to send an appeal to the University Student Conduct Board (USCB), which can affirm or overrule the findings. The USCB Review Panel decision is final.

Potential Sanctions

The HCC may impose one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Restitution
  • Oral reprimand
  • Written reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Other appropriate sanction

The HCC considers all the evidence, severity of the offense, and prior conduct by the student when determining a sanction.

Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?

If you have been accused of violating TU Law's Honor Code, what can a student defense legal advisor do for you? A specialist with experience dealing with university and college disciplinary procedures can help you prepare your defense. They can also represent you at your hearing and ensure your rights remain protected throughout the entire process.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless law students across the country with disciplinary concerns procedures and has the experience to help you through your Honor Code hearing at TU Law. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to ask for a consultation.

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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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