Student Defense - Willamette University College of Law

At Willamette University College of Law (WUCL), all students are expected to exceed the requisite character and fitness standards that are set for admission to a state bar. WUCL wants students to be honorable and ethical members of the legal profession and, to that end, has instituted a Student Honor Code.

Students who do not take responsibility for their actions and who are suspected of academic dishonesty, misconduct, or unprofessionalism will be subject to the procedures and possible sanctions spelled out in the Honor Code. Sanctions for this kind of academic misconduct can be severe—like expulsion or degree revocation—and may jeopardize a student's legal career.

If you have been accused of violating the Honor Code at WUCL, you should consider consulting with a specialized student defense attorney-advisor to see what your options are.

Willamette University College of Law Student Honor Code

WUCL has a Student Honor Code that makes up Section 12 of the Student Handbook. This code encompasses academic standards, but it is guided by the professional standards of the Oregon State Bar Essential Eligibility Requirements. The Honor Code applies to all WUCL students, and every member of the WUCL community has a responsibility to report any suspected violations.

Examples of Honor Code Violations

The Honor Code in the WUCL Student Handbook provides a list of example behaviors that are considered Honor Code violations. Students are held to high standards of personal, professional, and academic conduct in general, so the list is not exhaustive.

  • Theft, conversion, or unauthorized use of library, classroom, or faculty teaching materials
  • Falsely representing attendance
  • Obstructing the learning efforts of fellow students
  • Patterns of disrespectful or disruptive behavior in the classroom
  • Violating express rules about video or audio recording in the classroom
  • Collaboration with another student during an exam
  • Use of prohibited materials during an exam
  • Unauthorized acquisition or divulgence of exam information or other graded course material
  • The false representation of the completion of a course requirement
  • Unauthorized collaboration on a required course project
  • The false representation of another's work, words, or ideas as one's own, in any academic project
  • Failing to respond to or provide information to the Honor Code Committee
  • Falsely accusing a student of an Honor Code violation

Students must also follow the Willamette University Code of Student Conduct, and any violation of that code is processed through the WUCL Honor Code.

The Process for Dealing with Honor Code Violation at WUCL

Anyone who suspects an Honor Code violation at WUCL must inform the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or a faculty member as soon as possible. Faculty members can also deal with Honor Code violations directly if they involve evaluative work, classroom behavior, or other matters relating to their instruction. For these informal resolutions, faculty members have the discretion to impose a sanction they believe is appropriate.

If the Associate Dean learns about an Honor Code violation and it doesn't fall into an evaluative or classroom category, the Dean can either refer the matter to the Honor Code Committee or resolve it informally by imposing a reasonable sanction.

Once the Honor Code Committee receives the matter, there will be a formal review, hearing, and decision on the suspected violation. Students may also have the chance to appeal a formal decision of the Committee.

  • Review: The Chair of the Honor Code Committee reviews the allegation to gather more information about it and determine if it constitutes a violation, if it were to be true.
  • Hearing: A hearing takes place, and the Honor Code Committee acts as the hearing panel. Accused students can have one advisor of their choosing present at the hearing, but the advisor may not speak on their behalf. The student can submit questions to be asked by the Chair to witnesses or a person presenting evidence; they can also argue in their own favor. The Committee deliberates in a closed session once the hearing is over and makes a decision by majority vote.
  • Appeal: Students have five business days from receiving the Committee's decision to appeal to the Dean. The Dean may interview the student, review the record, modify the final findings, reduce or eliminate sanctions, or leave sanctions in place. The Dean's decision on the matter is final.

Sanctions for Honor Code Violations at WUCL

Sanctions for academic or professional misconduct at WUCL should have a reasonable and proportionate relationship to the gravity of the offense and take into account the student's history of prior discipline or other character and fitness issues. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed by a majority vote taken by the Honor Code Committee upon finding a Code violation:

  • Informal warning that gets expunged from the student's file after graduation
  • Written character-and-fitness concerns in the student's file
  • Grade reduction
  • Reprimand placed in the student's file
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Restitution (financial or service-based)
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Any other sanction deemed appropriate

Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?

Getting accused of academic or professional misconduct at WUCL can be scary and overwhelming if you've never dealt with student disciplinary committees before. You may not know the best way to navigate the formal procedures or ensure your rights are protected. A legal advisor with experience helping students with alleged honor code violations can be an invaluable resource for you. They can help you gather evidence, build your defense, and review WUCL's policies to make sure you have a fair proceeding.

Joseph D. Lento has assisted hundreds of students across the country with misconduct issues at their colleges and universities, and he can help you deal with your WUCL Honor Code Violation charge. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to ensure the future of your legal career.

Contact Us Today!

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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