5.1 ACADEMIC GRIEVANCES

5.1.1 A grievance is defined as an allegation filed by a law student against a faculty, academic staff, or support staff member of the College of Law or University community.

5.1.2 Any law student may file a grievance within the time periods set forth in Section 5.3.3.

5.1.3 A grievance may allege a violation of any of the rights of law students under this document or challenge an academic evaluation on the ground that the evaluation was based entirely or in part upon factors other than a good faith judgment about the law student’s academic performance, including compliance with applicable professional standards.

5.1.3.1 A law student who receives a penalty grade based on a charge relating to or arising from lack of academic integrity and who is not referred for additional disciplinary action under the Code of Student Discipline may contest the penalty grade by filing a grievance under this section. Instructors seeking sanctions for academic dishonesty other than or in addition to penalty grades must file a complaint under Section 5.2.2. For purposes of this section, a “penalty grade” is a grade assigned to a student by a faculty member based on a charge of academic misconduct. “Penalty grade” does not include any grades or grade reductions based upon factors described in a course syllabus as relating to assessment for the course, including, but not limited to, assignments, exams, deadlines, class participation, attendance, tardiness, or respect for faculty or other students.

5.1.4 A student who has been dismissed for academic reasons by the College of Law may file a grievance under this section alleging procedural violations. Students may not file a grievance challenging such a decision to dismiss on substantive grounds.

5.1.5 Where an instructor or a committee has rendered a judgment regarding a law student’s academic performance, that judgment is presumed to be made in good faith and the grievant bears the burden of proving the contrary by clear and convincing evidence, with the exception of allegations relating to or arising from lack of academic integrity not referred for additional disciplinary action under the Code of Student Discipline. In those cases, the faculty member bears the burden of proof as to the act or actions allegedly constituting lack of academic integrity.

5.2. COMPLAINTS

5.2.1 A complaint is defined as an allegation filed by a member of the College of Law community against a law student.

5.2.1.1 Subject to Section 1.6, in all cases involving a complaint against a law student, the Dean of the College of Law (or the designee of such Dean) shall determine whether the complaint shall proceed under the LSRR and Academic Hearing Procedures or under the Code of Student Discipline.

5.2.2 Any member of the College of Law community may file a complaint against a law student within the time periods set forth in Section 5.3.3 alleging a violation of this document, lack of academic integrity, violation of professional standards, or falsification of admission or academic records. (See also Integrity of Scholarships and Grades policy.)

5.2.3 If a law student or a student enrolled in a joint law/graduate program engages in conduct that would violate a student group regulation, general student regulation, or University policy if the conduct occurred on campus, that conduct may form the basis for a complaint when the alleged violation impairs, interferes with, or obstructs the mission, processes, or functions of the student’s College of Law program.

5.3 GRIEVANCE AND COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

5.3.1 To file a grievance/complaint, the grievant/complainant must submit a written, signed statement to the designated administrator of the College of Law. The statement must contain the following information:

A. the specific provision of this document or other policy/regulation that has allegedly been violated;

B. the time, place, and nature of the alleged violation;

C. the person(s) against whom the grievance/complaint is filed;

D. a concise and plain statement of the sanction or remedy sought; and

E. whether a hearing is requested.

5.3.2 Anonymous complaints will not be accepted. Students may seek assistance from the Office of Student Engagement to understand the grievance process.

5.3.3 Grievances/Complaints must be filed no later than mid-term of the fourteen-week semester following the one in which the alleged violation occurred (exclusive of the scheduled vacation periods, such as summer break (May – August) or winter break (December – January)). If either party to a grievance/complaint is absent from the College of Law during that semester, or if other appropriate reasons exist, an exception to this time limit may be granted by the designated College administrator. If either party to the grievance or complaint leaves the College of Law prior to its resolution, the grievance/complaint may proceed or be dismissed at the discretion of the chair of the hearing body.

5.4 ADMINISTRATIVE RESOLUTION

5.4.1 Where possible, a grievant or complainant is encouraged to seek resolution and redress informally.

5.4.2 If problems arise in the relationship between instructor and student, both should attempt to resolve them by informal, direct discussions. If the problems remain unsolved through such informal procedures, the Assistant/Associate Dean of Student Engagement and/or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs should be consulted. If a problem is still unresolved, the matter shall be referred to the Dean of the College of Law. If after reference to the Dean of the College of Law, the problem remains unresolved, either individual may submit a grievance or complaint under Article 5 of this LSRR.

5.4.3 A respondent who admits his/her violation of this document or other policy/regulation waives his/her right to a hearing regarding the underlying facts of that violation. In such a situation, the designated College administrator shall propose an appropriate redress or sanction for the violation. At that time, the respondent may choose to proceed to a hearing on the sole issue of the appropriateness of the sanction/redress.

5.5. SANCTIONS

5.5.1 Complaints: If it finds a violation, the hearing body may impose one of the following sanctions:

5.5.1.1 Warning: An official written statement advising the law student that additional violations will result in more severe sanctions.

5.5.1.2 Probation: A period of time specified for observing and evaluating a law student’s conduct, with or without special conditions, including a written reprimand, with an indication that further violations will result in more severe disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal from the College of Law. Probation will be imposed for a specific period of time and, provided no further violations have occurred, the law student shall automatically be removed from probation when that period expires. Probation may be accompanied by a requirement that restitution be made for University or College of Law property damages or other losses resulting from the violation, or such other requirements or special conditions as may be appropriate under the circumstances.

5.5.1.3 Suspension: A suspension from the College of Law may be for a specified period of time, in which case the law student is eligible to apply for readmission at the end of that period of time, or it may be a conditional suspension, in which case the law student must demonstrate that he/she has fulfilled stated conditions prior to applying for readmission. Suspensions must be approved by the dean/designated college administrator of the College of Law. If the dean/designated college administrator does not approve the suspension, the dean/designated college administrator may direct that another sanction be imposed. The dean/designated college administrator will normally consult with the hearing body before imposing another sanction.

5.5.1.4 Dismissal from the College of Law: Dismissals must be approved by the Dean of the College of Law and the Provost. If the dismissal is not approved, the Dean and Provost may direct that another sanction be imposed. The Dean and Provost will normally consult with the hearing body before imposing another sanction.

5.5.1.5 Other: Other disciplinary action deemed appropriate to a specific case.

5.5.1.6 Reporting Character and Fitness Issues: In appropriate cases, matters arising herein may be reported to the character and fitness section of any state bar to which the student seeks admission.

5.6.3 General Considerations

5.6.3.1 Any member of a hearing body who has a conflict of interest in a complaint/grievance shall be disqualified from sitting on the hearing body for that specific complaint/grievance. A “conflict of interest” is defined as any academic, financial, scholarly, or social relationship that would, in the judgment of the hearing body chair, impair the ability of a member to make a fair and impartial judgment. In the event that a member of a hearing body is disqualified, an alternate from the appropriate student or faculty group will be selected according to the established procedures for selecting members of that hearing body.

5.7 APPEALS

5.7.1 Appeals must be written and signed by the individual filing the appeal and must specify the basis for appeal in sufficient detail to justify further proceedings. Appeals shall be to the University Graduate Professional Judiciary/Law and must be filed with the Dean of the Graduate School.

5.7.2 Appeals must specify the redress that is sought.

5.7.3 New evidence may only be submitted to the appellate body if it is relevant to the appeal and was previously unavailable to the individual submitting it, although the individual acted with due diligence to obtain such evidence.

5.7.4 Appeals must be filed within fourteen (14) class days following the date of the hearing body’s decision. Except in urgent cases, any redress or sanctions imposed by the hearing body will be held in abeyance while the appeal is pending.

5.7.5 The appellate body shall review the appeal and forward a copy of the appeal to the other party and invite a written response.

5.7.6 Appeals must allege either that applicable procedures for adjudicating the case were not followed in the previous hearing or that the findings of the hearing board were not supported by clear and convincing evidence. (Presentation of new information will normally be inappropriate at an appeal hearing.)

5.7.7 After considering the appeal and response, the appellate body may:

5.7.7.1 Decide that sufficient reasons for an appeal do not exist and that the decision of the hearing body shall stand;

5.7.7.2 Direct the hearing body to rehear the case or to reconsider or clarify its decision;

5.7.7.3 Decide that sufficient reasons exist for an appeal and schedule an appeal hearing in a timely manner.

5.7.8 Following an appeal hearing, the appellate body may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the hearing body. The appellate body may also direct the hearing body to rehear the original complaint/grievance.