Seton Hall University tries to instill certain values in students, such as honesty, respect, and integrity. The School of Law at Seton Hall also insists on the highest ethical standards for its law students. The legal profession requires honest and transparent conduct, which starts in law school. In addition to teaching students the values needed for practicing law, Seton Hall Law School aims to enhance and preserve its reputation as an institution for legal education.
Students who do not behave according to the standards and values set forth by Seton Hall Law School can expect repercussions. The disciplinary process for dishonorable conduct can be severe, as can the school's sanctions on students found guilty of misconduct. In addition to sanctions, students may also have difficulty finding employment or clerkships with an instance of misconduct on their school record. It may also prevent students from passing the character and fitness evaluation with their state bar association.
If Seton Hall School of Law has accused you of academic misconduct, consider consulting an experienced student defense attorney-advisor who can guide you through the disciplinary process.
Student Misconduct at Seton Hall Law School
Seton Hall Law School has a set of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which outline expectations for behavior and include procedures for discipline. They also include the Student Honor Code, which sets forth academic rules for law students at Seton Hall. The Honor Code sets the minimum standards of conduct for students in the law school community and helps administrators evaluate allegations of student misconduct that interfere or disrupt the functions of the law school.
Examples of Academic Misconduct
- Making a material misrepresentation to a law school faculty or staff member concerning admission, financial aid, or academic credit and standing
- Submitting plagiarized work for academic credit or competition
- Submitting work previously submitted or concurrently submitted for academic credit to another instructor or in another course
- Hiding, misappropriating, mutilating, or damaging any materials or property belonging to the school of law, University, another student, or any other member of the law school community
- Failing to comply with exam instructions
- Securing, giving, or exchanging information about the contents of or answers to an examination in advance of or during the exam period
- Possessing or consulting books, papers, notes, or data during an exam, unless authorized by the instructor
- Communicating in any room during an exam
- Accessing computers owned by Seton Hall University or another member of the law school community for improper use
The Disciplinary Process for Student Misconduct at Seton Hall Law
The Honor Council handles suspected infractions of the Honor Code at Seton Hall Law School. The Honor Council includes five tenured faculty members and nine students selected by the Student Bar Association. The Associate Dean hears reports of allegations of Honor Code violations and may act as the complainant (accuser) if the person reporting doesn't want to pursue charges.
Investigation and Reference to the Honor Council
The Associate Dean conducts an investigation into the report and either dismisses the matter or files a written statement on the investigation to the Honor Council. The Council then refers the statement to a Panel of three student members and two faculty members for pre-trial investigation. The Panel can either request more information from the Dean or set the matter for a hearing. If the Panel gets additional information and decides there is no substantial evidence for a code violation, it can dismiss the matter.
The Panel informs the respondent (accused student) of the time and date of a hearing for an alleged violation of the Honor Code. At this time, the respondent can seek an informal resolution by admitting guilt or settling with the Associate Dean. If there's no informal resolution, the matter proceeds to a hearing.
At the hearing, the respondent and complainant will go before the Honor Council Panel assigned to the matter and present evidence and question witnesses. Both respondent and complainant have the right to outside counsel. The complainant has the burden of persuasion at Honor Code hearings, and in cases of academic misconduct, the burden of proof is by clear and convincing evidence. At the end of the hearing, the Panel will issue a decision, and if it determines the respondent has violated the Honor Code, it will impose sanctions.
Complainants and respondents can ask the Honor Council to review the Panel's decision if they've discovered new evidence that would likely alter the final decision. They may also appeal within ten days after receiving notice of the Panel's final decision, and an appeal hearing will occur before the Honor Council. The appellant may have outside counsel represent them at this hearing. After hearing the arguments at the appeal hearing, the Council can affirm, modify, or reverse the Panel's decision, or remand the matter for further action. The Council also has the authority to either increase or decrease the imposed sanction. The Council's decision on the matter is final.
Students found guilty of violating the Honor Code may face one of the following sanctions:
- Restitution for damages
- Private or public reprimand
- Disciplinary probation
- Suspension from holding a student office or honor
- Cancellation of grades for scholastic work or a grade F in the course
- Suspension from the law school
- Any combination of the above sanctions
How Can an Attorney-Advisor Help?
If you're a law student accused of violating the Honor Code at Seton Hall Law School, you may feel overwhelmed by the disciplinary process. An experienced attorney-advisor can help you build your defense, gather evidence, identify witnesses, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Joseph D. Lento has helped countless law students across the country with discipline matters. If you want to protect your future as a lawyer, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.