Student Defense: William H. Bowen School of Law

The William H. Bowen School of Law (Bowen) is a public law school founded by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1975. Bowen is part of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, awarding the Juris Doctor degree through part-time and full-time programs. Bowen leans toward a more traditional form of instruction, combining theory and practice-based learning. It has among the lowest student/faculty ratios nationwide, training law students to transition seamlessly to the legal profession after graduation.

Bowen strictly forbids any form of academic misconduct. Students must demonstrate ethical behavior and avoid gaining an unfair advantage over their peers. A violation of Bowen's academic rules leads to sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion. Since these sanctions negatively impact a student's future and career, they must take these charges seriously. With the help of an attorney-advisor who specializes in law student defense, students are more likely to receive a favorable outcome after an investigation or hearing.

Academic Misconduct at Bowen

According to the Student Handbook, academic misconduct falls under multiple categories. It includes curricular and extracurricular activities. The code lists examples of violations and the process administrators use to resolve issues, including sanctions. The following actions are examples of academic misconduct at Bowen:

  • Cheating: When students cheat, they use an unauthorized method to complete an academic activity. Examples of cheating include giving or securing information about an intellectual exercise without a professor's approval or using prohibited items. At Bowen, continuing with a test after the allotted time expires is also a form of cheating.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is when students take another person's work and attempt to pass it off as their own. Examples include paraphrasing or using words and ideas without providing a citation or reference.
  • Misrepresentation: This is a deliberate attempt to present an untrue fact as accurate. Examples include representing oneself as another or claiming to have experience when one does not.
  • Tampering: It is an egregious violation for students to tamper with any documents, transcripts, files, or other similar items at Bowen.
  • Unfair Academic Advantage Generally: Students should not engage in actions that give them an advantage over their peers, even if unlisted in the code.
  • Miscellaneous Violations: This segment includes any violations that cause significant disruption to Bowen's academic environment. Examples in the code include intentionally or recklessly furnishing misleading information to secure employment or admission to an educational program.

The code also prohibits students from knowingly failing to report violations or destroying evidence used during an investigation. Students may not make anonymous complaints and may become hearing witnesses. Once a Faculty Investigator receives a complaint, they review the contents with a Student Investigator before informing the student to determine if their actions violated the code. If they agree that it does, they notify the Dean's Designee and schedule a meeting with the student.

Informal Conciliation and Formal Hearing Processes

Before a formal hearing, the Dean's Designee attempts to understand the issue by summoning the student to an informal conciliation. The purpose of informal mediation is to address the matter and resolve a problem in the event of a violation. If the accused and the Dean's Designee cannot reach an agreement, then the latter assembles a Hearing Board for a formal hearing. Students may have an advisor present during this meeting.

The Hearing Board allows the accused to present their statement, provide evidence, and defend themselves against allegations during a formal hearing. An advisor may also attend the hearing but cannot make a closing statement before the Board. After the hearing concludes, the Board deliberates in secret and recommends a sanction, sent to the Dean's Designee and the student. Fortunately, this is not the end of the process.

Appeals Process

If students disagree with the Hearing Board's sanctions recommendation, they have the option to appeal their decision. Students must send a written appeal letter to the Dean within seven days of the Board's announcement. The Dean shall review the matter and make a final decision, sent to the Dean's Designee and the student.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

There are multiple sanctions for violating the principles of academic integrity at Bowen. The sanctions depend on the severity of the violation and how many times a student committed similar actions. According to the student code, the following penalties for academic misconduct include:

  • Denying the student course credit
  • A downward disciplinary grade adjustment
  • Administrative withdrawal from the course or Law School
  • Restriction of Bowen privileges such as the use of school facilities and library
  • Dismissal from the Law School
  • Notation on the student's transcript and a reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Dismissals, suspensions, expulsions, and notations negatively affect a law student's future and ability to continue their studies. Admissions officers for other law schools are less likely to accept the student's application due to their record. Additionally, prospective employers may ask for a student's transcript. If the student does not provide one, it raises suspicion and decreases their chances of employment.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

Law students work hard to maintain excellent grades, pass their bar exams, and become the legal professionals of the future. However, one mistake may lead to severe repercussions, even if a student denies wrongdoing. In cases such as these, the advice and guidance of an attorney-advisor is an invaluable asset for accused students.

Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student discipline defense, helping law students navigate the stressful investigation and hearing process. With years of experience assisting law students nationwide avoid overly-harsh sanctions that destroy their future, Attorney-Advisor Lento treats every case with care. Whether the issue is a significant violation or a genuine mistake, Attorney-Advisor Lento presents the best defense to hearing boards and administrators to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you face an academic misconduct accusation at Bowen, don't wait until it's too late to make a difference. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a 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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