The University of Iowa College of Law (Iowa Law) prepares students to become ethical lawyers by holding them to standards of behavior during their time as law students. Students who do not display honesty and integrity during their education cannot be expected to do so as practicing attorneys, according to Iowa Law. Maintaining a high moral standard of student conduct also upholds the integrity of the entire Iowa Law community and the institution.
Students who do not act in accordance with the principles of integrity and transparency set by Iowa Law can expect disciplinary action. The law school may impose harsh sanctions that could disrupt your legal studies. You would then have to explain a gap in transcript or a notation of misconduct on your record to potential employers. Instances of misconduct may also make it difficult to pass the character and fitness evaluation with your state bar association.
If you've been accused of academic misconduct at Iowa Law, your future as a lawyer could be at risk. Consider contacting an experienced student discipline legal advisor who can assist you.
Student Misconduct at Iowa Law
Iowa Law has a student handbook that contains all guidelines for behavior as a law student, including rules on academic and non-academic misconduct. When students enroll at Iowa Law, they must write an honor pledge stating that they've read the student handbook and understand the standards of ethical conduct expected of them. The honor pledge must also state that the student will comply with these standards and understands the possible sanctions for not following the codes of conduct.
Examples of Academic Misconduct
The Iowa Law student handbook describes prohibited behavior as academic and non-academic misconduct. Prohibited academic misconduct includes:
- Plagiarism: Quoting another's words without placing quotation marks around those words; paraphrasing another's words without attribution to the original author; expressing another's ideas or analysis without attribution; or submitting another's work as one's own
- Dishonesty on writing assignments: Engaging in unauthorized collaboration or using unauthorized material to complete a writing assignment; or submitting any work for credit in more than one course
- Cheating on exams: Using materials on an exam that the instructor does not permit; attempting to obtain or provide assistance during an exam; obtaining or providing information about the contents of an exam in advance of the exam; or violating exam instructions
- Falsification or misrepresentation: Falsifying, forging, altering, or misusing any law school record or document; misrepresenting any material fact to Iowa Law faculty or staff; and falsifying material or misrepresenting facts in connection with or scholarly activities
- Misconduct in clinical practice: A violation of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct committed by a law student for legal work during a Clinical Law Program
- Other unfair academic behavior: Conduct that a student knows or a reasonable student should know will unfairly advantage or disadvantage any student academically
How Does Iowa Law Handle Student Misconduct?
At Iowa Law, any student, faculty member, or administrator can initiate a complaint alleging academic misconduct by reporting it to the Dean of Students or the responsible faculty member. The responsible faculty member may handle the matter directly or refer it to the Panel on Student Conduct. The Panel consists of two faculty members and one student. The law school faculty may handle incidents of academic misconduct directly if it occurs in a class they are teaching or supervising, and the potential sanction for the action is not likely to be more severe than lowering a grade or deregistration from a class.
Evaluating the complaint
The responsible faculty member or Panel will evaluate the complaint and decide if it provides adequate grounds for proceeding further. At this point, both the faculty member or Panel can close the matter. However, if there are sufficient grounds to proceed, the faculty member or Panel will notify the accused student.
A faculty member can use informal procedures to resolve the matter by conducting an impartial investigation and allowing the accused student to respond to the allegations against them. An accused student may have another person assist or represent them when they make their case with the faculty member. If the student is found guilty, the faculty member can also decide on a sanction.
When the Panel on Student Conduct handles a suspected academic misconduct violation, it will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, during which the accused student can respond to the allegations. The student can identify evidence, testify, and appear before the Panel with another person to assist or represent them. The Panel has 45 days to make a decision and if the student is guilty, impose a sanction.
Students found guilty of academic misconduct by a faculty member may appeal the decision to the Dean and Panel on Student Conduct within 30 days of receiving the faculty member's decision. Students can appeal the decision, the imposed sanction, or both.
Students found guilty of academic misconduct by the Panel on Student Conduct can appeal the decision to the Dean within 30 days of the decision.
Sanctions that faculty members or the Panel on Student Conduct can impose for academic misconduct at Iowa Law include, but are not limited to:
- A failing course grade
- Lowering a course grade
- Community service
- Production of an essay
- Expulsion from Iowa Law
Consulting a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
How can a student discipline advisor help if you've been accused of academic misconduct at Iowa Law? They can represent you when you make your case before a faculty member or the Panel and help you identify evidence supporting your defense. An experienced attorney-advisor will also know how to hold Iowa Law to account and ensure the law school follows procedures and affords you your rights.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country with academic misconduct issues and can help you protect your future as a lawyer. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.