Law school is rigorous, no matter what university a student attends. It's not just the content, however, that makes law school difficult for some students to navigate. Each university, including Washington University in St. Louis, has a code of conduct that its law students need to abide by. Failure to abide by this code can see law students brought up on allegations of academic misconduct.
These kinds of allegations are more than just roadblocks on the way to a law degree. If the charges brought against a student are upheld by Washington University in St. Louis, then the student in question may never be able to pursue a career in law. With that in mind, it's important to understand what behaviors Washington University in St. Louis frowns upon and what action it may take against students who violate its honor code.
Academic Misconduct at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis's law school shares its code of conduct with students during their first days on campus. This code prides honesty and fairness above all else. It also, however, goes into detail regarding its definition of academic misconduct. Behaviors that the law school at Washington University in St. Louis frowns on include:
- Cheating on exams
- Unapproved collaboration on assignments
- Copying or otherwise exchanging assignments with instructor permission
- Falsifying lab data or other information submitted to the university
- Lying about one's classroom needs
- Changing elements of an assignment without the professor's express permission
- Damaging the work of another student
- Collaborating with other students to engage in academic misconduct
- Buying or selling classroom materials without the permission of the university
The law school notes that its definition of academic misconduct does not address all potential instances of bad behavior. Professors, with this in mind, may report any and all behaviors that they believe violate the spirit of the law school's code of conduct. Students, in turn, may expand the law school's understanding of academic misconduct if the university believes they have acted in bad faith.
Student Hearings through the Washington University in St. Louis Law School
The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards does not address allegations of academic misconduct in the law school at Washington University in St. Louis. Similarly, the office may not issue sanctions against a student facing accusations of academic misconduct. Instead, the law school handles allegations of academic misconduct internally. If a board is not available, then a hearing or other applicable responsibilities regarding a case may fall to either the University Student Conduct Board or the College Academic Integrity Panel.
Regardless of the party overseeing a case, the process through which an academic misconduct hearing kicks off involves the following steps:
- Instructors with Washington University in St. Louis's Law School have the right to report student behavior that they believe violates the law school's code of conduct.
- Upon receiving an instructor's report, the law school will collaborate with the Student Conduct Board to determine whether or not the case should move forward.
- If the case moves forward, the law school will have a representative reach out to the student in question. At this point, the student in question may admit or deny the charge.
- Students who accept their charges will face sanctions for their behavior. These students, however, do have the option to request a hearing regarding their sanctions. They may argue for lessened sanctions at this hearing.
- Students who accept the charges brought against them by the law school also have the option to request a leave of absence from the university. They also have the option to withdrawal with a transcript notation. Students may only re-enroll with the university if they resolve their academic integrity case.
- Students who deny their charges have the right to appear before an academic integrity officer as assigned by the law school. These students have the opportunity to explain their behavior to the department and to contest any evidence instructors or other applicable parties may bring against them.
- Academic integrity officers, in tandem with appropriate department representatives and/or representatives from the Student Conduct Board or College Academic Integrity Panel, will weigh a student's case. These parties will then determine what consequences, if any, a student may face.
Students who are brought up on charges of academic misconduct have the right to appeal their sanctions. The student must submit an appeal to the university judicial board within fourteen days of the law school's original decision regarding their behavior.
Consequences for Academic Misconduct
Student consequences for academic misconduct, known as sanctions, vary based on the perceived severity of a student's code violation. Students can face academic sanctions, disciplinary sanctions, or both. Academic sanctions include:
- Writing formal apologies to applicable instructors.
- Required plagiarism or academic ethics workshops.
- A penalty to the student's grade in the course where the alleged behavior took place.
- A failing grade in the course where the alleged behavior took place.
Disciplinary sanctions tend to impact a student's standing within the law school at Washington University at St. Louis. These can range from disciplinary probation to expulsion and denial of degree. Students found violating the student code of conduct after their graduation may even have their degrees revoked.
Don't Let Accusations of Academic Misconduct Disrupt Your Future
Going through the academic misconduct disciplinary process is not easy. Luckily, students and their families don't have to go through the process alone. Instead, interested parties can reach out to the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help students best assess their cases and determine what their best path forward may look like. Law students at Washington University at St. Louis Law School can also rely on Lento Law Firm for representation during an academic misconduct hearing.
Ready to reach out for a consultation? You can contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or via the Firm's online form.