Honor Code

I. Academic Dishonesty
II. Academic Dishonesty: Sanctions and Procedures

The University of San Diego School of Law is committed to providing a legal education in an environment free from injustices and academic dishonesty. Integrity, honesty and respect for others are the cornerstones of the legal profession, and these concepts must be embodied within the study of law. This Honor Code establishes the rules that govern the students of the University of San Diego School of Law for all conduct relating to academic matters. Access to this Honor Code is available to the law school community. By virtue of enrollment at the University of San Diego School of Law, all students are on notice of this Honor Code and its provisions. Each student is responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with this Honor Code and for reporting any violations of the Honor Code.

The definition of "academic matter" includes: any academic course or student activity that may affect a grade; any law school-related extracurricular activity of a professional nature such as a journal, a legal clinic, or a moot court, mock trial, or similar competition; any internship or externship; or any activity that in any way contributes toward the satisfaction of the requirements for graduation. Academic matters also shall include but shall not necessarily be limited to the following: (a) any examination; (b) any research or other assignment to be done for a course; (c) any work that is in whole or partial satisfaction of requirements to receive credit for participation in any activity for which credit is given; or (d) any conduct relating to the use and enjoyment of study materials.

The term "student" includes (a) all persons taking courses or otherwise enrolled at the School of Law, either full-time or part-time; (b) persons who withdraw after allegedly violating the Honor Code; and (c) persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who were enrolled at the time of the alleged violation. The School of Law may, at its sole discretion, apply the conduct procedures described in the Honor Code to students who have accepted an offer of admission and have not yet begun classes. The Honor Code applies to all students of the School of Law and applies to students registered or enrolled in academic programs in another country or state.

The following sanctions and procedures apply at all times to all students of the School of Law, regardless of the course or physical location of the act or activity involved.

I. Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is a violation of this Honor Code.

  1. Violations may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Examination Behavior. Unauthorized giving or use of external assistance during an examination;
    2. Fabrication. Falsification or invention of data, citation, or other authority in an academic matter;
    3. Unauthorized Collaboration. Collaboration by a student engaged in the exercise with any other person, whether engaged in the exercise or not, if the supervisor of an academic matter has stated that collaboration is not permitted;
    4. Plagiarism. Passing off of another's ideas, words, or work as one's own for the purpose of misleading the reader or viewer of the work; "plagiarism" may include using the writings, words, phrases, ideas, data, opinions, citations, arguments, or organization of another person and conveying such information in a way that makes it seem as if the information originated with the writer. Failure to provide proper attribution, including quotation marks when necessary, constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism applies to any source, whether published or not;
    5. Misappropriation of Resource Materials. Unauthorized taking or concealment of course or library materials so as to deprive others of the use of such materials or to gain an advantage in any academic matter;
    6. Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized use of another's materials, electronic or otherwise, to gain an advantage in any academic matter;
    7. Violations Defined by Instructor or Supervisor. Other violations of rules or policies established by an instructor or supervisor regarding academic matters;
    8. Violations Defined by Student Boards in Academic Matters. Violations of the rules or policies established by a presiding student board or the supervisor of the board, as designated by the School of Law, for an academic matter.
  2. A violation may be either an infraction or a serious violation. A serious violation requires that the student have acted with a minimum culpability of recklessness as defined in the Model Penal Code.

II. Academic Dishonesty: Sanctions and Procedures

Academic dishonesty and allegations of academic dishonesty are matters of university-wide concern in the same way that academic integrity is a matter of university-wide concern. Students bear the responsibility not only for their own academic integrity but also for bringing instances of suspected academic dishonesty to the attention of the proper authorities at the university. Members of the faculty are obligated, not only to the university, but also to the students they supervise, to deal fully and fairly with instances and allegations of academic dishonesty. The university bears the responsibility of dealing fully, fairly, swiftly and impartially with instances and allegations of academic dishonesty.

Academic honesty begins in the course or classroom. For this reason the responsibility to ensure academic honesty, and to initiate action with respect to suspected academic dishonesty, likewise begins in the course or classroom. If the instructor of a course or supervisor of an academic exercise is unable to assure the academic integrity of the course or exercise, then those engaged in the course or exercise should bring the situation to the attention of the instructor or supervisor's Dean or his or her designee.

The following sanctions and procedures will be followed with respect to instances and allegations of academic dishonesty as defined in Section I of this Honor Code:

  1. Initiation of Procedures.
    The instructor or supervisor has the initial responsibility for determining whether a person has engaged in academic dishonesty in an academic matter. Therefore, information concerning possible academic dishonesty in an academic matter should be brought to the attention of the instructor or supervisor. If the instructor or supervisor is unable to act or determines that the matter should be taken up administratively, the Dean or his or her designee will assume the role of the instructor or supervisor in the proceedings that follow.
    1. When information of an act of alleged academic dishonesty comes to his or her attention, the instructor or supervisor must immediately undertake an investigation of the information or allegation in a manner that is reasonable under the circumstances.
    2. Unless it clearly appears that there has been no act of academic dishonesty, the instructor or supervisor must contact the subject of that investigation and give that person the opportunity to deny or to explain the events with respect to which allegations of academic dishonesty have been made. (If the person in question is not able to be contacted or fails to respond, then the instructor or supervisor will notify the Associate or Vice Dean, or his or her designee, who will attempt to contact the person on behalf of the instructor or supervisor.)
    3. After investigation and reasonable efforts to discuss the matter with the affected person, and within a reasonable time, the instructor or supervisor must determine whether (A) no act of academic dishonesty has occurred, (B) an infraction has occurred, or (C) a serious violation probably has occurred.
    4. The instructor or supervisor must prepare a written record of the investigation and summary of discussions with the affected person, if any, together with his or her determination made in accordance with section II.(a)(3), above. A copy of this record, together with the penalty or penalties for an infraction, if any, imposed upon the person by the instructor or supervisor with respect to the academic matter, must be made available to the affected person and the Associate or Vice Dean. In the case of a serious violation the instructor or supervisor may also submit a recommended sanction.
  2. Sanctions and Procedures for Infractions.
    In the case of an infraction, unless the instructor or supervisor has erred in his or her determination that the affected person has engaged in an act of academic dishonesty, the instructor or supervisor's imposition of penalty with respect to the academic matter is final and unreviewable.
    1. Penalties imposed by the instructor or supervisor with respect to an academic matter may include: reduction in grade of the affected person in the course or exercise; the requirement that the affected person withdraw from the course or exercise; the requirement that all or part of the course or exercise be retaken; the requirement that the person engage in additional work in connection with the course or exercise.
    2. A student who is determined to have committed an infraction may appeal the determination within 15 days after the date of the written notification of the determination. Such appeal must be in accordance with Administrative Procedures discussed below.
  3. Honor Code Hearing Committee.
    Each allegation of serious violation, and each appeal from the determination of an infraction, will be heard by a Hearing Committee.
    1. The Hearing Committee will be composed of five members of the School of Law community, as follows:
      1. The Dean, Acting Dean, Vice-Dean, or a Dean's appointee from the School of Law;
      2. Two members of the full-time faculty of the School of Law appointed by the Dean;
      3. Two students elected by the School of Law student body;
      4. In addition, two more students elected by the School of Law student body and two more members of the full-time faculty of the School of Law appointed by the Dean shall act as alternates to the Hearing Committee, to act in cases where the original designates are unable to serve due to illness, conflicts of interest, etc.
      5. In making any of these appointments, the Dean of the School of Law may rely on recommendations made by the faculty.
    2. No Dean, faculty member, or student who has a conflict of interest with respect to the subject matter of the hearing may participate as a member of the Hearing Committee. One who, having a conflict of interest, is appointed to serve on a Hearing Committee must disqualify himself or herself after which the dean will appoint one of the alternates of the same category as the disqualified member [see section II.(c)(1)(A)-(C) above] to serve on the Hearing Committee as an ad hoc member.
  4. Administrative Procedures.
    The following procedures apply when (i) an instructor or supervisor has determined that a serious violation probably has occurred [section II.(a)(3)(C) above]; or (ii) an affected person appeals from an instructor's or supervisor's determination that an infraction has occurred [section II.(b)(2) above].
    1. Administrative procedures commence when the instructor, supervisor, or affected student serves written notice upon the Dean of the School of Law or his or her designee.
    2. Upon request of the Dean or his or her designee, the instructor or supervisor must promptly transmit to the Dean or his or her designee a copy of the written record in accordance with section II.(a)(4) above.
    3. Upon receipt of the written record, the Dean or his or her designee will promptly convene the Hearing Committee.
    4. The Hearing Committee, as soon as is practicable after reviewing the record prepared by the instructor or supervisor, and after consultation (or attempted consultation) with the instructor or supervisor who has determined an infraction or alleged serious violation, and with the person who is accused of having engaged in the dishonest act, will:
      1. establish the procedures that are to be applied with respect to the hearing to be held, and communicate those procedures to the affected persons;
      2. establish the date, place and time at which a hearing before the Hearing Committee will be held or, if the hearing is to be by written presentations only, the date by which and place where written presentations are to be submitted to the Hearing Committee;
      3. hold a hearing and determine whether the serious violation or infraction in fact occurred; and
      4. in the event a serious violation has occurred as alleged by the instructor or supervisor, determine the appropriate sanction.
    5. The hearing held before the Hearing Committee, and the deliberations of the Hearing Committee, will be closed to the public, except that, at the request and with the written consent of the person who has been accused of having engaged in the dishonest act, the Hearing Committee has discretion to hold a public hearing.
    6. If the Hearing Committee determines that a serious violation has occurred, it must determine the sanction or sanctions to be imposed. A sanction may be:
      1. expulsion from the University;
      2. suspension from the University or of any or all University rights and privileges, for a period up to one academic year, except that any such suspension may not have the effect of determining the grade received in any course;
      3. a letter of censure;
      4. the requirement that additional courses or credits be taken as a prerequisite to graduation from the University;
      5. a sanction recommended by the instructor or supervisor;
      6. in the event of (B), (C), (D), or (E) of this subsection (6), the imposition of a period of probation on such conditions as the Hearing Committee considers to be appropriate;
      7. or such other sanctions as may be commensurate with the circumstances, as recommended to and approved by the Dean.
    7. If a Hearing Committee determines that no serious violation or infraction has in fact occurred, it will remand the matter to the instructor or supervisor who determined the infraction or probability of serious violation with a request that the instructor or supervisor promptly take further action with respect to the academic matter that is consistent with the Hearing Committee's determination.
    8. The Hearing Committee must prepare a written record of the proceedings, including a summary of the procedures for hearing that it has established, a summary of the information submitted to it by interested persons, and its decision in accordance with sections II.(d)(4)(C) and (D) above, together with any dissenting opinions and any other material the Hearing Committee deems appropriate to include. A copy of this record, together with any and all sanctions imposed upon the person by the Hearing Committee, must be made available to:
      1. the affected person;
      2. the affected instructor or supervisor;
      3. the Dean of the School of Law, and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
    9. In the event the Hearing Committee determines that expulsion is the appropriate sanction, or in the event of two dissenting votes on the Hearing Committee, the affected student may appeal that decision in writing to the Provost within 30 days after the Hearing Committee issues its determination. The Hearing Committee's decision shall be stayed pending the Provost's determination.
  5. Retention of the Written Record.
    1. After the close of the matter, the written record [II.(d)(8) above] shall be retained in the office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for 5 years.
    2. After that period of time, the written record may be imaged or changed to a digital format and retained per the records retention guidelines of the University of San Diego.
  6. Summary of Sanctions Administered.
    At the conclusion of the matter, the conduct of the affected student and the sanctions administered by the Hearing Committee shall be summarized in such a form that the affected student cannot be identified.

    To the extent permitted by applicable law, the School of Law faculty shall be made aware of the summary at the next faculty meeting after the matter is completed. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the summary shall be made available, generally, by filing a copy with the School of Law library or designated place for such documents. The School of Law library or other place designated by the Dean's office shall hold this for one year.
  7. Amending the Honor Code of the School of Law.
    1. Students may propose amendments to the Code as follows: 25 or more students may sign a petition with a proposed amendment and then file that petition with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and the Office of the SBA. The SBA will distribute the petition to all SBA officers, who shall recommend passage or non-passage. The SBA will then forward the petition and its recommendation to the Office of the Dean. The Dean shall have 30 days to schedule the petition as an agenda item at the next faculty meeting in the academic year.
    2. Faculty may propose amendments to the Honor Code as follows: 5 or more faculty members may sign a petition with a proposed amendment and then file that petition with the Office of the Dean and the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The Assistant Dean will transmit those proposed changes to the SBA office. The Dean shall have 30 days to schedule the petition as an agenda item at the next faculty meeting in the academic year.
    3. Once petitions have been circulated through both SBA and Faculty, the Faculty shall vote on the petition and, if approved, the changes approved by the faculty will be forwarded to the President. The changes will become effective upon the approval of the President.
    4. At any time, the Faculty may, by a majority vote, forward to the President of the University the recommended changes to the Honor Code after consultation with the SBA and the Dean and given a sufficient time for full discussion of any changes.

(July 15, 2013)

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