The academic life of students at the MU School of Law is governed by a Code of Honor that has been adopted by the Faculty and the Student Bar Association.
Students should note that they generally will be required to report any Honor Code violation on state bar application forms.
Honor Code (As Amended 2013)
I. Purpose and Introduction
- We, the students and faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, adopt this Honor Code to promote the following objectives:
- to guide pre-professional behavior of law students;
- to provide sanctions for behavior inconsistent with this Code; and
- to prepare law students to meet the ethical standards of the legal profession.
- This Honor Code applies to the following:
- To all students at the University of Missouri-Columbia whose primary designation is in the School of Law;
- Regardless of whether the conduct takes place within or without the School of Law;
- Regardless of whether the academic course is designated a “Law” course or designated as a course by some other department/college of the University of Missouri or any other college or university, PROVIDED, however, that the course counts for credit towards a law degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia;
- To any other student taking classes at the School of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia be that student;
- A student whose primary designation is within another college or department and is enrolled for one or more courses within the School of Law;
- A visiting student in the School of Law, regardless of the home department/college/university of that visiting student;
- A part-time student in the School of Law, regardless of the home department/college/university of that part-time student;
- To any student taking classes within the auspices of the LLM Program in Dispute Resolution at the School of Law, but only to the extent such student or their conduct is NOT covered by the Honor Code of the LLM program;
- In appropriate circumstances, and depending on facts of a particular case, the Associate Dean may cede jurisdiction of a matter covered by this Honor Code to another university/college/department/program which has an approved Honor or Student Conduct Code with concurrent jurisdiction over conduct covered by this Code;
- Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that supports the School of Law’s educational mission. The purpose of the Code is to promote and secure academic integrity, virtue, fairness, equal academic opportunity, respect for others, and professionalism at the School of Law. The Honor Code applies to all applicants, students enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and students taking one or more of its courses. Upon acceptance for admission to the School of Law, entering students shall be informed that this Code exists. Students shall be charged with notice of, and be bound by, this Honor Code. Students are obligated not only to follow these principles, but also to take an active role in encouraging other students to respect them.
- Indeed, all members of the School of Law community should take active roles in the promotion and maintenance of an environment of academic integrity. These roles include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Knowing and abiding by the Honor Code.
- Advising, including advising in writing by the instructor, of his or her policy regarding academic dishonesty at the beginning of each semester.
- Taking safeguards to deter violations of the Honor Code
- Reporting suspected acts of academic dishonesty to the Associate Dean.
- Ensuring that other members of the School of Law community are diligent in their responsibilities to the maintenance of academic integrity.
- Conduct that may violate the Code may also have consequences outside the Code, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Without regard to the outcome of any proceeding under this Code, the course instructor shall make an academic judgment about the student’s grade on that work and in that course. Regardless of the outcome of the proceedings under the Honor Code, the instructor may award a failing grade on the assignment, a failing grade in the course, or may otherwise adjust the assignment or course grade as merited by the work. Students wishing to appeal a course grade should follow the MU grade appeal process included in the University of Missouri M-Book.
- Students should note that they generally will be required to report any Honor Code violation on state bar application forms.
- The School of Law will report Honor Code violations and sanctions to appropriate bar and court authorities consistent with federal and state law.
II. Prohibited Conduct
Cheating. Cheating is any conduct in connection with any examination, paper, competition, or other work that may affect academic credit, a grade, or the award of academic or professional honors at the School of Law, done for the purpose of unfairly disadvantaging another student or gaining an unfair advantage, or under the circumstances such that a reasonable law student would know the conduct was likely to unfairly disadvantage another student or result in an unfair advantage.
Examples of cheating, based on prior cases arising at the School of Law, include, but are not limited to:
- Giving, receiving, or soliciting assistance on an assignment, examination, or other academic exercise without the express prior approval of the professor;
- Using or providing sources or materials in a manner prohibited by the instructor;
- In a timed examination administered in the Law School building, using or providing sources or materials that are not expressly authorized;
- Violating any rule or instruction imposed by the instructor for a course or by an administrator of an exam;
- Submitting in a given course, except with permission of the instructor or other person in authority after full disclosure, any work prepared in whole or in part for another course or for an employer;
- Engaging in conduct that compromises anonymous grading;
- Unauthorized communication with any person during an examination or the preparation of work for which credit may be awarded;
- Acquiring, using, or providing, without permission, examinations, tests, or role materials relating to simulations.
Dishonesty. Dishonesty is any conduct in connection with any law school document, record, class, academic matter, activity, program, or event that is intended, or that a reasonable law student would know is likely, to misinform, mislead, or otherwise deceive, engaged in for the purpose of gaining a benefit or avoiding a detriment.
Examples of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- Furnishing false, incomplete, or otherwise inaccurate information in connection with an application for admission to, or financial assistance for attending, the School of Law;
- Furnishing false, incomplete, or otherwise inaccurate information to or through the Career Services Office or to a potential employer;
- Failing to promptly update information furnished as described in Examples 1 and 2 above as circumstances change, without waiting to be asked, so that all information furnished continues to be true, complete, and otherwise accurate;
- Altering or submitting altered University of Missouri-Columbia documents or records;
- Using network or computer access in a way that affects a class or other students’ academic work. Non-exhaustive examples of electronic dishonesty include tampering with another student’s account so that student cannot complete or submit an assignment, stealing a student’s work through electronic means, or knowingly spreading a computer virus;
- Providing false, incomplete, or otherwise inaccurate information to the School of Law or forging or falsifying records or signatures, either before or after admission;
- Misrepresenting one’s own or another student’s presence or absence from class or any other law school event at which attendance is recorded.
Obstructing the Work of Another. Obstructing the work of another is any conduct engaged in for the purpose of impeding the work of another student in connection with any examination, paper, competition, or other work that may affect academic credit, a grade, or the award of academic or professional honors at the School of Law, or engaged in under circumstances such that a reasonable law student would know that the conduct was likely to impede unduly the work of another student.
Examples of obstructing the work of another include, but are not limited to:
- Taking, damaging, or otherwise interfering with another student’s books, class notes, outlines, study materials, or computer;
- Damaging, concealing, or removing without permission any law school property, including library material.
Impeding the Administration of the Honor Code. Impeding the administration of the Honor Code is any conduct engaged in for the purpose of, or under circumstances such that a reasonable law student would know the conduct was likely to result in, preventing the School of Law Honor Code system from operating as intended.
Examples of impeding the administration of the Honor Code include, but are not limited to:
- For any student other than one suspected of possible misconduct, refusing without good cause to provide relevant information or materials when requested to do so by an individual or entity acting in an official capacity under the Honor Code;
- Providing false or misleading information or materials to an individual or entity acting in an official capacity under the Honor Code;
- Disclosing to others confidential information acquired by virtue of participation in an official capacity in the administration of the Honor Code;
- Failing to report within a reasonable time conduct that clearly and materially violates the Honor Code;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s participation in, or use of, the Honor Code;
- Directly or indirectly harassing, retaliating against, or attempting to influence any investigator, witness, person making a referral, or other person involved with the Honor Code process;
- Violating the terms of any sanction imposed under the Honor Code.
- Word Plagiarism. Word plagiarism when referred to under this Honor Code, shall mean the act of copying literally or with insubstantial variations the written work of another and passing it off as one’s own, without regard to the quantum of copying involved. It does not matter whether the appropriated information is published or unpublished; academic or nonacademic in content; or in the public or private domain. Word plagiarism in an academic matter is deemed to be a violation of the Honor Code, without regard to knowledge that the conduct constitutes a violation. It is not a defense to a charge of word plagiarism that there was no intent to deceive, to misrepresent, or to gain any unfair advantage by the conduct. The remainder of this section is intended to clarify student understanding of word plagiarism. Students should refer to it before working on any law school writing assignment.
- Substantial Copying. It is not a defense to a charge of word plagiarism that the student has changed a few words so as to avoid making an exact copy. As one authority puts it: Plagiarism is not confined to literal copying, but also includes any of the evasive variations and colorable alterations by which a plagiarist may disguise the source from which [the] material was copied. 20 AM. JUR. PROOF OF FACTS, Plagiarism, sec. 2, at 730 (1968).
- Citation of Source. It is not a defense to a charge of word plagiarism that the student has cited the source from which the material was copied. Even extensive citations to the source do not justify the copying. The only proper way to present copied material is described in the next paragraph.
Presentation of Copied Material. There is, of course, no objection to the inclusion in a paper or other assignment of copied material, provided:
(a) it is clearly identified as copied from another source; and
(b) proper citation to that source is given, either in the text or by way of a footnote
There are two standard ways of identifying material as copied from another source. They are:
(a) setting the material within quotation marks; or
(b) placing the material in a separate paragraph with block indention (i.e., with all of its lines indented, not merely the first line).
For an example, see the quotation from AM. JUR. PROOF OF FACTS, supra. Copied material should always be identified as such in one of these ways. Further guidance on appropriate style for quoting both lengthy and brief material can be found in A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION, commonly referred to as “The Blue Book.” The reason that mere inclusion of citations alone is no defense to a charge of word plagiarism should now be clear: if the text is not set within quotation marks or block indented, a faculty member or other reader is entitled to assume that it is the student’s own composition. If the text is accompanied by a footnote or other citation, the reader will normally assume that the cited source supports the position taken in the text, but will certainly not assume that the text was copied from the cited source. The only proper ways of indicating copying from the cited source are to use quotation marks or block indentation as described above.
- Avoiding Negligence. It is not a defense to a charge of word plagiarism that the act was done negligently or without intent. The absence of intent may mitigate the penalty imposed, but it does not excuse the act. Students should therefore use great care to avoid inadvertent word plagiarism. For example, a student who copies material from a law review article, book, or case opinion onto note cards or a legal pad must place quotation marks around the copied material, so that he or she will not later mistake it as his or her own work. The student must also include the source citation in these notes to allow for proper attribution in the student’s finished work.
Idea Plagiarism. Idea plagiarism is submitting as one’s own and without citation, in any academic pursuit, ideas known by the student to be those of another, including those of any person furnishing writing for hire. [Note: A particular action might be both word plagiarism and idea plagiarism. In any such case, the student may be charged with word plagiarism, which does not require proof of knowledge.]
Examples of idea plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
- Incorporating an idea presented in a publication, presentation, or other forum into a report or other document, with or without revision, in a manner that in any way suggests that the student submitting the document created the idea without reference to the original source;
- Adopting the outline or structure of a publication or presentation, with or without revision, without crediting the original source;
- Submitting, with or without revision, a document, or any portion thereof, created or written in whole or in part by someone other than the student submitting the document.
Professional Misconduct. Professional misconduct is any conduct in the context of a clinical course, supervised practicum, public service activity, or other setting in which rules of professional conduct of the appropriate jurisdiction would apply if the student were a member of the Bar, that would violate such rules. A law student who acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer’s reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty is not engaging in conduct that would violate rules of professional conduct, and hence has not engaged in professional misconduct.
Examples of professional misconduct in Missouri, based on Rule 4 of the Missouri Supreme Court Rules, the Rules of Professional Conduct, include, but are not limited to:
- Breaching client confidentiality;
- Failing to identify or avoid a conflict of interest;
- Breaching the duty of competence owed to clients including, but not limited to, the thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation;
- Exceeding the authority granted by a client, the supervising faculty or lawyer, applicable rules of professional conduct, or the student practice rules;
- Failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client;
- Knowingly making a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal, failing to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to a tribunal, falsifying evidence, or counseling or assisting a witness to testify falsely;
- Impermissibly obstructing another party’s access to evidence or altering, destroying or concealing a document or other item with potential evidentiary value;
- In representing or assisting in the representation of a client, communicating about the subject of the representation with a person the student knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the student has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order;
- In representing or assisting in the representation of a client, stating or implying that the student is disinterested when dealing with a person who is not represented by a lawyer;
- Knowingly assisting or inducing another to violate any rules of professional conduct;
- Any other conduct that would violate rules of professional conduct if committed by a lawyer.
- Obstruction of the Performance of Law School Functions. Obstruction of the performance of Law School functions is conduct for the purpose of, or under circumstances such that a reasonable law student would know the conduct was likely to result in, obstructing or disrupting the teaching, research or administrative activities of the Law School.
- Violations of the University of Missouri Student Standard of Conduct. Violations of the University of Missouri Student Standard of Conduct Section 200.010 of the Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri, except for provisions dealing with academic dishonesty.
- Promoting or Facilitating Prohibited Conduct. Promoting or facilitating prohibited conduct occurs when a person, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating prohibited conduct, (i) solicits another person to commit it, or (ii) aids or agrees to aid such other person in planning or committing it.
Examples of promoting or facilitating prohibited conduct include, but are not limited to:
- Giving another student an electronic, paper, or other copy of a report or other document to facilitate that student’s submission of the report or other document in a class or competition;
- Arranging a meeting of students during a take-home exam period when the exam rules prohibit consultation with fellow students.
Attempting to Commit Prohibited Conduct. Attempting to commit prohibited conduct occurs when one purposely does or omits to do anything that, under the circumstances as one believes them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in prohibited conduct.
Examples of attempting to commit prohibited conduct include, but are not limited to:
- Resetting the clock of a computer for purposes of creating an inaccurate electronic record to deceptively indicate that a submission to professor was made before the time it was actually made, even if the erroneous time information is electronically removed during the processing of the submission so that the deceptive record is never received by the instructor;
- Attempting to reveal one’s identity while participating in an anonymously graded exam or other exercise.
III. Student-Faculty Honor Committee
- Student-Faculty Honor Committee
- FACULTY MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE: The Dean shall appoint one faculty member to serve as the Chair of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee and three additional faculty members to serve as members of the Committee. The Chair is entitled to vote on matters before the Committee.
- STUDENT MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE: The five law student members shall be appointed by the President of the Board of Governors of the Student Bar Association (“SBA”) by and with the advice and consent of the Board of Governors and the Dean, provided always that the students selected shall be members in good standing of their respective classes.
- FIRST YEAR MEMBER: The SBA President shall select the first year member as soon as practicable after the beginning of the academic year. The first year member shall hold office until a new first year member is selected the following academic year.
- SECOND AND THIRD YEAR MEMBERS: As soon as practicable after the student body elects the new SBA President during the SBA elections held each Spring for the following academic year, the SBA President shall select the second and third year members. Third year members shall hold office until a new selection is made following the SBA presidential elections or until graduation, whichever occurs first. Second year members not re-appointed shall hold office until the end of the academic year for which they were appointed. Hearings held in the summer will be the responsibility of the newly appointed second and third year law student honor committee members. First and second year law students are eligible to be re-appointed.
- FORFEITURE OF MEMBERSHIP FOR CAUSE: Students are ineligible to continue as members of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee if they are placed on academic or disciplinary probation, or if for any other reason their continued membership on the Committee may not be in the best interest of the School of Law as determined by the Board of Governors after consultation with the Dean. The SBA President will appoint new student members to replace members who become ineligible and fill any vacancies that may occur throughout the academic year.
- FUNCTIONS: The Student-Faculty Honor Committee shall monitor the implementation of the Honor Code. It shall consider any proposed amendments to the Code. It shall perform any tasks assigned by the Dean or the faculty. It shall consider other matters concerning the Honor Code raised by the Chair. Any member of the Committee may ask the Chair to put any such matter before the Committee.
- MEETINGS: The Chair may convene a meeting of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee. Any member of the Committee may ask the Chair to convene a meeting of the Committee.
- AMENDING THE HONOR CODE: Any member of the student body or faculty may recommend amendments to the Honor Code. Recommendations shall be submitted to the Student-Faculty Honor Code Committee. A majority vote by a quorum of the Committee will decide whether to approve the recommendation and present it to the Faculty. The Faculty must approve any recommendation before it becomes an amendment to the Honor Code. As provided by Section 200.010E.7 of the Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri, all amendments must be approved by the Chancellor and Board of Curators, and amendments to procedures must also be approved by the University’s General Counsel.
- Student-Faculty Honor Code Hearing Panels. The principal functions of a Student-Faculty Honor Code Hearing Panel are to hold hearings on alleged violations of the Honor Code, to make findings of fact with reference thereto, and in case there is a finding of violation, to impose or recommend sanctions.
- COMPOSITION OF HEARING PANEL: A Student-Faculty Honor Code Hearing Panel shall consist of the Chair of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee (who shall serve as the Chair of the Hearing Panel), another faculty member of the Committee, and three law student members of the Committee.
- SELECTION PROCESS: The Hearing Panel will be selected before each hearing. The timing and procedure of such selection process is at the discretion of the Chair. If chosen members of the committee are unable to serve, the Chair may select replacements from the remaining pool of committee members, keeping in mind that there must always be three law student honor code committee members and two faculty honor code committee members. The Chair has the discretion to replace or fill spots as needed for cause.
- VACANCY: If the Chair is unable to serve on a Hearing Panel, the Dean shall select another faculty member of the Student-Faculty Member Committee to serve as the Chair of the Hearing Panel.
- VOTING: The Chair shall be entitled to vote on all matters before the Hearing Panel.
- Reports of Violations, Investigations, Notice
- Reports of Violations
- A report of a violation of the Honor Code may be made by anyone.
- A report of a violation of the Honor Code must be made to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the School of Law.
- The Associate Dean shall consult with the person or persons reporting a violation. If the information provided by the person or persons reporting the violation gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that a violation occurred, the Associate Dean shall conduct appropriate further investigation.
- The Honor Code strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to report a potential violation whenever the person reasonably believes that the Honor Code may have been violated.
- Questions as to whether certain conduct violates the Honor Code should be directed to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Investigation and Notice of Proceedings
- During the investigation by the Associate Dean, contact between the accused and the Associate Dean is appropriate and the accused and witnesses have the right to ask questions and be kept abreast of the status of the investigation.
- If, at the conclusion of his or her investigation, the Associate Dean reasonably believes there has been an Honor Code violation, he or she shall have the discretion to: (a) negotiate a complete resolution and disposition of the charges under investigation, or (b) refer the matter to a Hearing Panel. If, at the conclusion of his or her investigation, the Associate Dean does not reasonably believe that there has been an Honor Code violation, the matter will be closed (subject to being reopened based on discovery of additional material information). Once the investigation is complete, the Associate Dean will provide notice to the accused as soon as practicable. Notice to the student shall include a brief statement indicating the provision or provisions of the Honor Code that the accused allegedly has violated and informs the student of his or her right to a faculty advisor. It shall also include a list of the members of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee and a deadline for the accused to file a written request to disqualify any member from serving on the Hearing Panel.
- A negotiated resolution must be approved by a majority vote of the full Honor Code Committee. Before approving a negotiated resolution, the Honor Code Committee shall receive from the Associate Dean an explanation of the reasons for the settlement and a signed statement from the accused indicating that the negotiated resolution is understood by the accused and is freely and voluntarily entered into. If the Honor Code Committee finds by a majority vote that the accused understands the agreement and it has been voluntarily entered into by the accused, the Committee shall approve the settlement unless it finds by majority vote that the settlement is unreasonable or manifestly contrary to the dictates of justice. If the Honor Code Committee fails to find by a majority vote either that accused understands the agreement or that the defendant voluntarily entered the agreement, the alleged Honor Code violation will be presented to a Hearing Panel for adjudication as provided in these rules.
- The Associate Dean shall keep a file of the investigation for five years after any University action is completed, whether there is a decision to present or not present the violation to the Hearing Panel.
- Faculty Defense Panel
- There will be a three person Faculty Defense Panel. One member of that panel will be made available to the accused to serve as his or her advisor at his or her request in the event of a hearing. If the accused elects to have an advisor from the Faculty Defense Panel, the accused may choose which he or she would like to have serve as his or her advisor, subject to the disqualification of a member of the Panel for the particular case.
- The Dean will appoint faculty members to serve on the Faculty Defense Panel.
- Any other adult may serve as the accused’s advisor or attend the hearing with the accused. However, the accused must bear any expenses associated with obtaining the services of any advisor who is not a member of the Faculty Defense Panel.
- Procedure – Hearings
- Upon a determination by the Associate Dean, a hearing shall be held.
- In general:
- At the hearing before the Hearing Panel, the generally accepted standards for a fair and impartial hearing shall be observed. The procedures set forth hereinafter shall be interpreted and administered to accomplish this objective and provide for prompt consideration and disposition of Honor Code cases.
- The proceedings are not to be construed as adversary proceedings or judicial trials, but care shall be taken to comply as fully as possible with the spirit and intent of the procedural safeguards set forth herein.
- Rights of Accused upon Hearing – An accused whose matter is presented to a Hearing Panel shall have the right:
- to be present at the hearing;
- to have an advisor or other adult present;
- to hear or examine evidence presented to the Hearing Panel;
- to question witnesses present and testifying at the hearing;
- to call witnesses to testify before the Hearing Panel;
- to be informed in writing of the findings of the Hearing Panel and any sanctions imposed; and
- to petition for review or appeal as hereinafter provided.
- The accused has the right not to answer questions during the hearing but the Hearing Panel may draw adverse inferences from the accused’s refusal to answer questions or otherwise cooperate.
- Receipt of Evidence
- Formal rules for inclusion or exclusion of evidence are not controlling. Thus, at the discretion of the Chair of the Hearing Panel, testimony of witnesses, affidavits, written reports, other memoranda, photographs, drawings and any other relevant material may be considered.
- Additionally, the accused may present any evidence relevant to a defense or in mitigation of the charge(s).
- The Associate Dean has the right to inform the Hearing Panel of prior Honor Code violations and sanctions involving the accused while attending the University of Missouri School of Law. The Associate Dean also has the right to inform the Hearing Panel of prior honor or student conduct code violations and sanctions involving the accused at any school or college of the University of Missouri or any other higher educational institution if relevant to issues such as motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake or accident, or determination of sanctions.
- The Hearing Panel shall make a complete audio record of the hearing. The accused may bring in his or her own audio recording device or any other recording device of his or her choosing, at his or her own expense, if he or she wants a copy of the record.
- The accused shall be entitled to have an advisor or other adult at the hearing. The advisor’s role is limited to the rights that the accused would have in this process. The advisor may act in the place of the accused for any of the procedures or rights afforded to the accused during the hearing.
- The Chair of the Hearing Panel shall preside at the hearing, call the meeting to order, call the roll of the Hearing Panel in attendance, ascertain the presence or absence of the accused, read the notice of hearing and charges and verify the receipt of notice of charges by the accused, establish the presence of the accused’s advisor or other accompanying adult, if any, and call to the attention of the accused and his or her advisor any special procedures to be employed during the hearing. Any objections to the procedure already taken or to be followed shall be made at this time for consideration by the Hearing Panel.
- Any member of the Hearing Panel may self-disqualify from hearing any alleged violation. The accused shall have the right to challenge any member of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee or Hearing Panel for cause by filing a written challenge with the Chair before the deadline for such challenges set by the Associate Dean. The Chair will decide the merits of each “for cause” challenge. If the Chair is the one who is challenged, the Dean of the Law School will rule on the challenge.
- Vacancies on the Hearing Panel caused by unavailability, disqualification or challenge shall be filled with a temporary member chosen by the Chair with the advice and consent of the Student-Faculty Honor Code Committee. If possible, such student shall be a member of the same class represented by the vacant member. If immediate action is deemed necessary by the Hearing Panel, a temporary vacancy may be filled by the Chair with any law student in good standing.
- If it appears that essential testimony is unavailable, or that for other good cause the hearing should be deferred, the Hearing Panel may continue, recess or discontinue the hearing without prejudice.
- The Associate Dean shall make a brief opening statement outlining the general nature of the matter. The accused or advisor may make a brief opening statement at the option of the accused.
- After the opening statement(s), the Associate Dean will call witnesses and present evidence. Following the Associate Dean’s witnesses, the accused or advisor may call witnesses and present evidence. For each witness, the party calling the witness will ask questions, then the opposing party will ask questions. Any member of the Hearing Panel may ask questions at any time. The Chair may limit questioning.
- Procedural questions which arise during the hearing not covered by these general rules shall be determined by the Chair, whose ruling shall be final; provided, however, the Chair shall present the question to the Hearing Panel at the request of a member of the Hearing Panel, in which event the ruling of the Hearing Panel by majority vote shall be final.
- At the conclusion of all the witness testimony and questioning, the Associate Dean and accused or advisor may each make brief closing statements, with the accused or advisor having the option to give the final closing statement.
- Findings and Recommendations:
- The Hearing Panel shall promptly deliberate and make its findings and determinations in executive session. If a majority of the Hearing Panel believes by clear and convincing evidence that the accused has committed the violation charged, it shall impose one or more of the sanctions provided in the Code.
- As soon as practicable, the Hearing Panel shall provide notice to the accused of its decision.
- Each semester, the Associate Dean will issue a report of the findings of violations and sanctions for that semester. This report will not include student information that is confidential under federal or state law.
- If the alleged violation involved a specific course, the Associate Dean will notify the course instructor of the Hearing Panel’s determination, including the sanction issued, if any. This notice will include the name of the student who was alleged, or found, to have violated the Code.
- Notice to appropriate Administration officials of the Hearing Panel findings of violations and sanctions will include the name of the student who violated the Code.
- If the accused is found not to have committed the violation charged, the accused has the option of having the findings reported to the student body in full or redacted form.
- The Associate Dean shall keep a file of the un-redacted findings of every committee hearing.
- Rights of the Accused after the Finding of a Violation:
- Once the Hearing Panel notifies the accused of the results from the deliberations, the accused has the right:
- to appeal the Hearing Panel’s decision to the Dean of the Law School within five days; or
- to accept, explicitly or by virtue of failing to file an appeal within five days, the findings, conclusions and recommendations for sanctions imposed by the Hearing Panel.
- If the accused appeals to the Dean, the Dean as soon as practicable will review the record and:
- sustain the findings, conclusions and recommendations for sanction proposed by the Hearing Panel; or
- rule that the findings, conclusions or recommendations are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with this Honor Code, at which point the Dean may either make new findings or conclusions, impose new or different sanctions, or remand the matter to the Hearing Panel for further deliberations.
- The Dean shall notify the accused and the Hearing Panel of the determination.
- Procedures – Appeal
- RIGHT TO APPEAL: In cases where the sanction involves separation from the School of Law, the accused has the right to appeal the Dean’s decision beyond the confines of the School of Law using the University of Missouri-Columbia’s appeal process.
- STATUS DURING APPEAL: In cases where the action taken against the accused involves separation from the School of Law, the accused may petition the Dean in writing for permission to attend classes pending final determination of the appeal. The Dean may permit, upon such conditions as he or she may impose, the accused to continue in school pending completion of appellate procedures provided such continuance will not seriously disrupt the School of Law or the University community. In such event, however, any final disciplinary action imposed shall be effective from the date of the action of the sanctioning authority under this Honor Code.
- Notice: As used in this Honor Code, “notice shall mean:”
- For the original notice of an alleged violation setting forth the date, time, and place of the alleged violation and the date, time, and place of any scheduled hearing, notice in writing by:
- Personal delivery to the accused;
- Certified mail addressed to the accused’s last address currently on record with the School of Law (failure by the student to have a current correct local address on record with the School of Law shall not be construed to invalidate such notice); or
- Delivery to the accused’s School of Law student mailbox.
- For any other notice under this Code:
- Any of the means specified for original notice of an alleged violation;
- E-mail to the accused’s “Mizzou” account; or
- Any other method reasonably calculated to reach the student.
- Sanction Options
- The Hearing Panel shall have authority to impose one or more of the following sanctions which may be reviewed by Appeal to the Dean of the School of Law
- Warning. Notice that continuing or repeating the conduct found wrongful may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.
- Written Reprimand. Notice that the charged conduct is wrongful.
- Letter of Apology. Requirement that the accused write a letter of apology or explanation of conduct.
- Probation. Probation is for a designated period of time under the conditions set by the Hearing Panel. It carries with it the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student violates the Code during the probationary period.
- Loss of Privileges. Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Restitution. Requirement that the accused make restitution to the injured persons.
- The Hearing Panel may recommend to the Dean of the School of Law that the Dean impose the following Sanctions:
- Suspension. That the student be separated from the School of Law for a specified period of time. The Hearing Panel may recommend specified conditions for readmission.
- Expulsion. That the student be expelled, which permanently terminates the student’s studies at the School of Law.
- Status Outside the Law School. The above sanctions apply to the status of the accused in the School of Law. The misconduct may be called to the attention of proper University or other authorities.
Mitigating and Aggravating Factors: In determining the sanction, the Hearing Panel may consider mitigating and aggravating factors.
Examples of factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to:
- Pre-referral admission. When a student voluntarily admits misconduct before learning that someone has referred the matter or is about to refer the matter, the Hearing Panel may consider the admission as a mitigating factor. A student who has the courage and integrity to come forth with a good-faith admission has reaffirmed a personal commitment to honor.
- Other admissions. Even an admission made after a referral may have some mitigating value. This type of admission shows acknowledgment of the inappropriate nature of the student’s conduct. However, a post-referral admission is not as strong a mitigating factor as a pre-referral admission.
- Cooperation. The Hearing Panel may consider how cooperative, or uncooperative, the student was during the process, including whether the student responded timely to inquiries and requests for meetings, provided requested information, and dealt honestly and civilly with the Hearing Panel and others involved with the process.
- Intent. Conduct falls on an intent continuum that ranges from malicious, willful, intentional, reckless, and grossly negligent conduct on the more serious end, to merely negligent, careless, and accidental conduct on the less serious end. Where conduct falls on this continuum may be considered when determining sanctions. Conduct that is malicious, willful, intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent may justify a more serious sanction. Less intentional conduct may be a mitigating factor.
- Degree of harm or seriousness of offense. The degree of harm to others and the seriousness of the conduct are relevant factors in determining sanctions.
- Prior violations. Prior violations of this Honor Code or honor code or student conduct codes at other schools or colleges of the University of Missouri or other higher educational institutions may be considered as aggravating factors. The Associate Dean may also inform the Hearing Panel during the sanctioning deliberations of any prior warnings the Associate Dean gave to the accused regarding incidents of alleged behavior that were not presented to a Hearing Panel.
- Nexus to professional standards. The nexus between the student’s conduct and the question of character and fitness of the student to practice law is a relevant factor in determining sanctions.
- Willingness to make restitution. A student’s willingness to make restitution may be considered as a mitigating factor in appropriate cases. Restitution refers to compensation for loss, damage, or injury; compensation may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Discriminatory motive. If a student, in engaging in conduct prohibited under the Honor Code, is also found to have intentionally directed the conduct toward a person or group because of the race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, marital, or parental status of the targeted person or group, that discriminatory motive may be an aggravating factor in determining sanctions.
- Responsibility for Implementation. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall have responsibility for implementing the sanctions warning, written reprimand, probation, loss of privileges, or restitution. The Dean of the School of Law shall have responsibility for implementing, as s/he deems appropriate, the recommendations of the Hearing Panel regarding suspension or expulsion. All other implementation duties shall be the responsibility of the Associate Dean.
- Other Consequences. Upon a finding by the Hearing Panel or a student’s admission of an Honor Code violation, if the misconduct involved a course or academic activity, the faculty member teaching the course or supervising the academic activity involved shall be notified of the misconduct. This notice shall include disclosure of the name of the student who violated the Honor Code. The faculty member shall have independent authority to determine grade- or academic credit-related consequences.
V. Severability Clause
If any portion of this Honor Code is invalidated or deemed unenforceable, the remainder of the Code will remain in effect.
Plagiarism – A Comment
The Honor Code defines plagiarism in Sec. II (E,F):
“Plagiarism,” when referred to under this Code, shall mean the act of copying literally or with insubstantial variations the written work of another and passing it off as one’s own without regard to the quantum of copying involved. Further definition is provided in “Plagiarism – A Comment,” which is contained in the MU School of Law Student Handbook.
Section II makes it clear that plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code:
The following conduct is deemed to be a violation of these Standards and this Code, without regard to knowledge that the conduct constitutes a violation: (a) Plagiarism in an academic matter. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that there was not intent to deceive, to misrepresent, or to gain any unfair advantage by the conduct.
Plagiarism may have two quite distinct consequences:
- it is an Honor Code violation for which sanctions may be imposed; and
- it may result in a reduction in the grade assigned by the faculty member.
Each of these results is independent of the other; hence, a grade may be reduced even if the Honor Code Committee does not find a violation, and the Committee may recommend sanctions even though the faculty member involved does not reduce the grade. Further consequences, less direct but of great importance, include the possibility that a question may be raised concerning a student’s character and fitness for bar admission, and may result in a hearing before one or more bar committees. This could delay or even prevent the student’s sitting for the bar examination. All of these consequences are serious and extremely distressing to everyone involved.
This comment is intended to clarify your understanding of plagiarism. Please refer to it whenever you begin work on any law school writing assignment.
- Substantial Copying. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the student has changed a few words so as to avoid making an exact copy. As one authority puts it:
- Plagiarism is not confined to literal copying, but also includes any of the evasive variations and colorable alterations by which a plagiarist may disguise the source from which [the] material was copied.
- 20 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts, Plagiarism, sec. 2, at 730 (1968).
- Citation of Source. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the student has cited the source from which the material was copied. Even extensive citations to the source do not justify the copying. The only proper way to present copied material is as described in the next paragraph.
- Presentation of Copied Material. There is, of course, no objection to the inclusion in a paper or other assignment of copied material, provided:
- it is clearly identified as copied from another source; and
- a proper citation to that source is given, either in the text or by way of a footnote.
- setting the material within quotation marks; or
- placing the material in a separate paragraph with block indentation (i.e., with all of its lines indented, not merely the first line). For an example, see the quotation from Am.Jur. Proof of Facts, supra.
There are two ways of identifying material as copied from another source. They are:
Copied material should always be identified as such in one of these ways. Further guidance on appropriate style for quoting both lengthy and brief material can be found in A Uniform System of Citation, sec. 5.1 et seq. (16th ed. 1996).
The reason that mere inclusion of citations alone is no defense to a charge of plagiarism should now be clear: if the text you submit is not set within quotation marks or block indented, a faculty member or other reader is entitled to assume that it is your own composition. If your text is accompanied by a footnote or other citation, the reader will normally assume that the cited source supports the position taken in the text, but will certainly not assume that the text was copied from the cited source. The only proper ways of indicating copying from the cited source are to use quotation marks or block indentation as described above.
Avoiding Negligence. It is not a defense to a charge of plagiarism that the act was done negligently or without intent. The absence of intent may mitigate the penalty imposed, but it does not excuse the act. Students should therefore use great care to avoid inadvertent plagiarism.
For example, if you copy material from a law review article, book, or case opinion onto note cards or a legal pad, you must place quotation marks around the material you copy into your notes, so that you will not later mistake it as your own work. You must also include the source citation in your notes so you will be able to give proper attribution in your finished work.
Avoiding Sexist Speech and Writing
The Law School encourages all students to use language, in both spoken and written communications, which includes both women and men in illustrations, examples, and hypothetical cases and which treats women and men with equal dignity and status. Today nearly half of all law students are women, and their numbers in the legal profession are growing rapidly. It is inappropriate to fall into a pattern in which only males appear in legal discussions, or in which women appear only in subordinate roles.
Here are some specific suggestions.
- Employ both female and male names in constructing legal arguments: For example, “Let’s assume that Lucy leases an apartment in her building to Tom.” Avoid usage such as “The typical lawyer is well-trained in his use of Shepards Citations.”
- Avoid stereotyping of roles or occupations as exclusively male or female. Instead: “The doctor administered sodium pentothal to her patient.” “B was elected president of the corporation and assumed her duties.”
- Avoid use of “he” or “his” when a generic reference to a group of mixed gender is intended. Sometimes this can be accomplished by the phrase “he or she,” but a slight rewording often produces a smoother result. For example, the singular may be changed to the plural. “The average student turns in his or her assignments on time,” might be restated as “Most students turn in their assignments on time.”
- Treat men and women in a parallel manner. For example, “We reviewed the opinions of Chief Justice Rhenquist and Justice O’Connor,” not “We reviewed the opinions of Chief Justice Rhenquist and Mrs. O’Connor.”
- Avoid use of “man” as a reference to people of both sexes. For example, use “a reasonable person (or ‘a reasonable automobile driver’) under the circumstances,” not “a reasonable man.” Use “the chair of the committee must rule on the motion,” not “the chairman of the committee must rule.”
Improving our mode of expression in these ways is not automatic; it requires thought and concentration. But accuracy of expression and fairness to others should be characteristic of every lawyer and law student.