General Policies – BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School

General Policies

A.  Attendance

Regular and punctual class attendance is required of all law students.  It is a matter of importance to their professional preparation.  Eligibility to take almost all bar examinations depends upon certification that the person has been in regular attendance; as part of its accreditation standards the Law School must expect such attendance of its students.  In view of the varied objectives and methods used in different curriculum offerings, implementation of the law school policy is entrusted to individual instructors, who may take attendance and participation into account with respect to either the grade or credit given for the course or seminar.  Students must assume that irregular attendance will result in a grade or credit sanction unless the instructor expressly states otherwise.  If the instructor’s decision is to affect the credit given, this action will be implemented by requiring the student to take an appropriate number of additional credit hours in order to graduate.

B.  Placement and Recruiting Break

The Law School will hold one break during the Fall Semester and one break during Winter Semester.

C.  Speakers

The Law School is governed by University policies regarding inviting speakers to campus.  In adherence to that policy, speakers must be cleared as follows.

 

  • Speakers for student events, including clubs and other student organizations, shall be approved by the Assistant Dean of Students and Internal Relations.

 

  • Speakers for external faculty workshops and the distinguished annual lecture, shall be approved by the External Speakers Committee and the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.

 

  • Speakers for the annual law review symposium, as well as speakers for other conferences and symposia, shall be approved by the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.

 

  • Speakers for the annual J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference and Fireside, Founders Day, Education Week, and other similar Law Society-wide and Alumni-wide events shall be approved by the Associate Dean of External Relations.

 

Law classes will not be scheduled on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 11:00 a.m.  Tuesdays are scheduled for University devotionals and forums and Thursdays can be scheduled by law school organizations.  Other open hours will be available as class scheduling permits.

D.  Rescheduling Classes

Instructors are asked not to reschedule classes falling on the day before a vacation except in highly unusual circumstances.

E.  Scheduling Rooms in Law Building 

Rooms in the law building need to be scheduled when used for any purpose.  Classrooms should be scheduled with a staff member in the Fishbowl, 341 JRCB, and rooms in the library should be scheduled at the Circulation Desk.  Rooms in other buildings on campus should be scheduled through Campus Scheduling when needed for law school purposes.

F.  Variance of Rules

The Faculty Variance Committee has authority to grant exceptions from general law school rules.  If an exception is denied by the Variance Committee, a student or faculty member may appeal to the full faculty only upon certification by the Committee that the matter deserves faculty review.

G.  Hours Per Semester

First-year students must register for the required first-year courses.  Optional courseswhich are highly recommended, are: Professional Seminar, Professional Development Lecture Series, and Professional Development Skills Training.  Students may not register for upper-division Law School credit during their first year.  See the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs if a reduced credit load appears necessary.  Second- and third-year students may not enroll for more than 16 law school credits toward the degree in any semester without the permission of the Law School Registrar.  By ABA rule, the Law School Registrar may not approve any student request to register for more than 18 credit hours.  The 18 credit hour limit may not be circumvented by enrollment at another law school.

H.  Overlapping Classes

A student may not register for two classes scheduled for the same hour(s), even if there is only a short overlapping time period.

I.  Official Notices

All class notices will be posted on individual professors’ web pages.  All other academic law school notices will be posted on the Law School’s home page http://www.law.byu.edu/ and/or transmitted via e-mail.

J. Technology

Because the modern study of law requires access to and interaction with a variety of electronic and internet-based materials, students are expected to bring their own technology for note-taking, class exercises, online research, examinations, etc. When making technology choices, students may wish to consider selecting computers from a published list of specially configured models that are used by Law School faculty and staff. These models are tested for compatibility with examination software and Law School IT services and are supported while under manufacturer’s warranty.

Student Technology Support

The Law School Help Desk (Help Desk) has the primary charge of supporting faculty and staff technology.  It also provides support to those students who have the same hardware, operating systems, and warranties as faculty and staff.   For those students who purchase different hardware, operating systems, and software, the Help Desk is, unfortunately, able to provide only minimal help and will typically need to refer students to other resources.

E-mail Communication

E-mail is the official means of communication at the Law School. Students are expected to check their Law School e-mail account frequently for course-related and other Law School communications.

Spamming

University policy prohibits BYU patrons from sending unsolicited electronic messages with materially the same content to 19 or more recipients unless the action has been approved by an appropriate authority.  Consistent with the guidelines in the University policy, the Law School has adopted the following rules concerning unsolicited electronic messages:

1. The Dean, or any law school employee or student expressly authorized by the Dean or his designee, may send unsolicited notices concerning law school business to the entire law school community, including faculty, students, staff and administrators.

2. Faculty members may send unsolicited notices relevant to courses to all members of any class they teach.

3. Any student organization recognized by the Law School may send unsolicited notices concerning its organization to the entire law school community by first sending the proposed e-mail to “Lawmailer.”  Messages from the organization must contain the following information:  a) the name of the individual sending the message, b) an accurate and valid return e-mail address of the individual or organization sending the message, c) the subject of the message, d) a list of the individuals or groups to whom the email is to be sent and e) the message text.  The notice will be reviewed to insure it complies with these criteria and with the limitation on individual and commercial notices described below.  If approved, the notice will be sent to the requested email group(s).  Persons who do not want to receive messages from an organization may create a rule in Gmail to filter out any unwanted e-mail.  For assistance, students may visit the HelpDesk website or call the HelpDesk directly at 2-3884.

4. Any other individual who wishes to send unsolicited notices to the entire law school student body must obtain prior approval from the Dean or his designee.  Approval generally will not be given for information distributed primarily for individual or commercial purposes.  To the extent approval is given to distribute information that a recipient might reasonably interpret as being commercial, the e-mail must also comply with the Commercial E-Mail Requirements detailed in the University Handbook.

5. The Student Bar Association will maintain a classified ad section on its webpage and will allow students, faculty, staff, and administration to post in that section of the webpage any information that is not illegal or a violation of the BYU Code of Honor.  In order to post the information, the individual must provide the information in electronic form to the person designated by the SBA as the SBA webmaster.

K.  Student Discipline Procedures

Law students are expected to observe the high standards of honesty and integrity appropriate for men and women preparing to join the professional practice of law and also to conform to the BYU Code of Honor and its principles.  Conduct in violation of those standards and that code is a matter of deep concern to faculty and students of the J.  Reuben Clark Law School.  The administration of the Law School works closely with the University’s Honor Code Office in dealing with law students accused of violating the BYU Code of Honor to impose sanctions for any violations.  If the violation involves academic misconduct, the Law School will, consistent with the rules set forth below, determine and impose its own sanctions and refer the matter to the University’s Honor Code Office.  Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, fabrication or falsification of information, and cheating.

1. Plagiarism Policy

Definition

Plagiarism is the failure to give sufficient attribution to the words, ideas, or data of others that have been incorporated into a work which an author submits for academic credit or other benefit.  Attribution is sufficient if it adequately informs and, therefore, does not materially mislead a reasonable reader as to the source of the words, ideas, or data.  Attribution (or the lack thereof) is materially misleading if it could cause a reasonable reader to be mistaken as to the source of the words, ideas, or data in a way that could benefit the author submitting the work.

Consequences

Plagiarism can be divided into two categories.  Intentional plagiarism is the deliberate failure to give sufficient attribution to the words, ideas, or data of others with the intent of misleading the reader as to the true source of the words, ideas, or data.  Inadvertent plagiarism is the non-deliberate failure to give sufficient attribution to the words, ideas, or data of others.  Both forms of plagiarism constitute academic misconduct for which sanctions may be imposed by the instructor and the Law School because both create the unacceptable risk that the author will receive credit for work he or she has not performed.  In addition, because it involves intentional deceit, intentional plagiarism is a violation of the University Honor Code, which may warrant additional sanctions, including suspension or dismissal from the Law School.

Standard of Proof

In determining whether plagiarism has occurred, the instructor or representative of the Law School charged with making the determination will apply a preponderance of the evidence standard.  In determining whether the plagiarism is intentional, the instructor or representative of the Law School charged with making the determination will apply a clear and convincing evidence standard.  Intent may be inferred from circumstantial evidence.

In determining the sanction to be imposed, the instructor or representative of the Law School charged with making the determination will consider at least the following factors: the author’s intent, if any, to mislead the reader, the degree of carelessness, the quantity of the plagiarized material relative to the author’s entire work, and the relative materiality of the plagiarized material.  Other factors may also be considered.

Author Responsibility

In order to avoid plagiarism, it is the author’s responsibility to provide sufficient attribution in work he or she submits.  Authors who have any doubt as to whether they have provided sufficient attribution have the responsibility to consult with their instructor or other person to whom they are submitting the paper to obtain guidance.

2. Academic Misconduct B Course-Related Misconduct

Misconduct by a student may relate to a specific course or to academic work in general.  If the misconduct involves performance in a course, seminar, or activity, first responsibility lies with the instructor who learns of the event by observation, report, or admission.  The instructor shall meet with the student and conduct such further investigation as the instructor deems appropriate.  The instructor shall consult with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs regarding the facts of the matter and the appropriate sanction, if any, to be imposed.

If the instructor determines that a sanction is called for, the instructor shall issue an oral reprimand or indicate to the student that after consultation with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, the instructor proposes to place a written reprimand in the student’s law school file, reduce a grade, adjust credit, require additional work, and/or impose other appropriate sanctions within the instructor’s power.  The instructor shall also make a written report of the matter to the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs and mail a copy to the student by registered, return receipt mail.  The proposed sanction shall be imposed unless the student delivers a written request for review to the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs within two school days from the date on the return receipt if school is in session.  If school is not in session, the student must respond within ten calendar days after the date on the return receipt.

3. Academic Misconduct Which Goes Beyond a Course or Review of Instructor’s Decision

If misconduct is not appropriate for handling solely by an instructor, either because the misconduct did not involve only performance in a course, seminar, or activity or because the matter is perceived by the instructor or the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs as warranting a sanction beyond the instructor’s authority to impose; or if the student requests further review of the instructor’s decision, the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs shall refer the matter to an ad hoc Committee, which shall consist of the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs and two faculty members selected at random from those not involved in the matter or possessing a conflict of interest because of a relationship with the student.  In addition to those sanctions an instructor has imposed or can impose, the ad hoc Committee may also order restitution or community service, impose probation with specified conditions, impose suspension for a specific period of time or until the occurrence of specified conditions, dismiss the student from the Law School, or create any other sanction appropriate to the nature and gravity of the conduct.  Both the student and any instructor in whose course, seminar, or activity any of the alleged misconduct occurred shall have the right to present their views to the ad hoc Committee before any decision is rendered.  The ad hoc Committee shall create and maintain a record of the matters it considers in making its decision and will render a decision by majority vote.  The Committee will send a written copy of its decision to the student by registered, return receipt mail.

4. Appeal to Dean

A student or a member of the ad hoc Committee who does not agree with the Committee decision may request review of the decision by delivering a written request to the Dean within two school days after the date on the return receipt if school is in session.  If school is not in session, the request for review must be delivered within ten calendar days after the date on the return receipt.  The Dean may reverse the decision of the ad hoc Committee only if he or she determines that a clear error has occurred.

5. Readmission

A student who is dismissed from the Law School for academic misconduct cannot return to the Law School until readmission is granted.  Readmission petitions by students who are dismissed from the Law School for academic misconduct will be acted upon by an ad hoc Readmission Committee, consisting of five faculty members selected at random by the Dean from faculty members who were not members of the ad hoc Committee in the proceeding in which the student was dismissed nor instructors in any course, seminar, or activity in which any of the alleged misconduct occurred and who do not possess a conflict of interest because of a relationship with the student.  The ad hoc Readmission Committee may grant a petition for readmission only if the student convinces four of the five members of the committee by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has remedied the problem which resulted in dismissal, will observe the BYU Code of Honor while a student, and will be honest in all future conduct as a lawyer.  The ad hoc Readmission Committee may consider all matters, opinions, and evidence that it deems relevant, even if not admissible under standard rules of evidence.

6. Reporting

The Dean may apprise the faculty and the student body of disciplinary concerns from time to time, being as specific about problems and decisions as possible, while bearing in mind that anonymity of persons disciplined is ordinarily desirable.

L.   Policy on Non-Discrimination

The J. Reuben Clark Law School provides equal opportunity in legal education for all persons, including faculty and employees with respect to hiring, continuation, promotion, and continuing faculty status, applicants for admission, enrolled students, and graduates, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender (including identity and expression), sexual orientation, age, or disability. The Law School provides equal opportunity regardless of status in these categories. Notwithstanding the above, consistent with the Law School’s religious affiliation and purpose, the University and the Law School regulate conduct that is inconsistent with essential elements of the religious values and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All members of the Law School community are required to comply with the Brigham Young University Honor Code. The Law School, as is permitted by accreditation standards and the Association of American Law Schools, also prefers faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in employment.

 

Any law student who feels that he or she has been subject to discrimination prohibited by the above policy should contact Assistant Dean Wendy Archibald, 338 JRCB, or may contact the University Equal Employment Office, A-285 ASB.

M.   Policy on Sexual Harassment

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education and pertains to admissions, academic and athletic programs, and university-sponsored activities.  Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment of students by university employees, other students, and visitors to campus.  If you encounter sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact Assistant Dean Wendy Archibald at 801-422-5576; contact the Equal Employment Office at 801-422-5895 or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours), or http://www.ethicspoint.com; or contact the Honor Code Office at 801-422-2847.

N.   Services for Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact Assistant Dean Wendy Archibald at 801-422-5576 or the University Accessibility Center at 801-422-2767. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Center If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Opportunity Office at 801-422-5895 or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours) or D-282 ASB.

O.   Copyright Policy

The Law School is committed to the enforcement and protection of copyrights as both a legal and an ethical imperative.  A copyright is a set of exclusive rights that vests in the author of an original work of authorship (including literary, musical, dramatic, pictorial, sculptural, and motion picture works).  The copyright attaches upon the work’s creation (when it is Afixed in a tangible medium of expression”); current law does not require the formalities of registration or of a copyright notice such as the “©” symbol.  The exclusive rights covered by copyright include the right to (1) copy or reproduce the work or portions of the work (including by making electronic copies); (2) prepare “derivative works” based on the original; (3) distribute copies of the work or portions of the work (including by electronic means); and (4) publicly perform or display the work.

Any faculty member, staff member, or student who intends to copy or distribute any material that is not in the public domain and is, therefore, protected by copyright must first receive copyright clearance from the law school’s Copyright Coordinator under the procedures set forth here, unless the copyright is held by that faculty member, staff member, or student.  Copyright clearance is required even if the material is believed to be covered by the doctrine of fair use, and even if permission has already been secured from the holder of the copyright by the individual faculty member, staff member, or student.  “Copying” and “distributing” include not only making and distributing hard copies, but also making any digital or electronic copies, posting such copies on the internet or the Law School’s web page, or distributing copies via e-mail.

Any faculty member, staff member, or student seeking copyright clearance must submit a written request to the law school’s Copyright Coordinator on a form approved by the Copyright Committee.  The request should be submitted as far in advance of the use of the material as is reasonably possible (preferably at least one month in advance).  The form for the written request may be completed in hard copy or on the law school’s web page, and will require the person submitting the request to (1) identify the copyrighted works in question by author, title, publication date, journal citation (where applicable), publisher (if known), and ISBN/ISSN (if known); (2) describe the nature of any copying and/or distribution (e.g., hard copies, scanning, uploading, etc.); (3) identify the name of the course and number of students to whom the material will be distributed; (4) indicate whether the person submitting the request has ever previously received permission to use the material in question, and attach any documents memorializing such permission; and (5) indicate whether the person submitting the request believes that a fair use privilege applies, and provide a brief justification for such privilege.

Many single copies made purely for research purposes will be covered by the doctrine of fair use, particularly where only a portion of the original work is copied.  For such uses, the Copyright Coordinator may provide clearances that may cover certain uses, without requiring specific clearance requests for each individual copy.

If a faculty member disagrees with a decision of the Copyright Coordinator, appeal may be made to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum.

P.    Electronic Device Use in the Classroom

Students may use computers and other electronic devices during a class only for note-taking and other purposes expressly approved by the instructor.

Except for the use of cell phones to communicate in health and/or safety-related emergencies, no student, without advance express permission from the instructor in charge of the class, shall use any electronic device (e.g., computer, cell phone, smart phone, MP3 player, iPhone, iPod, pager, PDA, electronic recording device, etc.) during class to:

a. Access email,
b. Access instant messaging services,
c. Access the Internet,
d. Engage in any electronic communication, or
e. Make a video or audio recording of class activities.

Instructors, for pedagogical reasons, may further restrict or prohibit the use of computers and other electronic devices in their classrooms.

Instructors have the discretion, in dealing with individual students who violate this policy, to further restrict or entirely ban them from using computers and other electronic devices in their classrooms.

Without advance express permission from the instructor in charge of the exam or the Assistant Dean for Students and Internal Relations who can grant accommodations based upon a documented disability, no student shall use any electronic device except a laptop usingExamplify, during any exam.

Q.   Access to Student Records (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs the release of “education records” by a university.  As a general rule, FERPA prohibits universities that receive federal funding from releasing an “education record” to any one other than the respective student without the student’s written consent.

FERPA defines “education record” very broadly: “[T]he term ‘education records’ means . . . those records, files, documents, and other materials which (i) contain information directly related to a student; and (ii) are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.”  In other words, anything that a university or its agent has about a student is generally an “education record” and is, therefore, subject to FERPA.  However, a record is not an “education record” under FERPA if it does not contain “personally identifiable information” about a student.  Therefore, FERPA would not prohibit the disclosure of a record if the record does not contain the student-subject’s name or “[o]ther information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.”

FERPA applies to BYU because BYU participates in the federal financial aid program.  Therefore, absent an exception, BYU and its units (including the Law School) may not release any education record to anyone other than the student or someone having the student’s written consent.

FERPA lists several exceptions to its general prohibition on nonconsensual disclosure of education records.  One such exception allows schools to release education records to “school officials, including teachers within the educational institution . . ., who have been determined by such . . . institution to have legitimate educational interest, including the educational interests of the child for whom consent would otherwise be required.”  Thus, FERPA allows a university to disclose a student’s education record to any professor who the university determines to have a “legitimate education interest” in seeing the record.  As authorized by the university, the Law School has adopted the following interpretations regarding the application of the legitimate education interest standard to faculty perusal of student records:

1. Student records cannot be examined for such reasons as satisfying general curiosity or learning how one’s children or other relatives are doing or how the friends or romantic interests of children or other relatives are doing.

2. Faculty can examine the law school’s records regarding students for the purposes of encouraging students to participate in employment (including as research and teaching assistants) and other activities and opportunities that will assist in education enhancement or career development.  Faculty can also review relevant student records in connection with their assigned disciplinary responsibilities, readmission responsibilities, decanal responsibilities and committee work responsibilities and in connection with an assigned responsibility to handle a student petition or application (including requests for letters of recommendation).

3. Faculty who wish to become acquainted with, or preview the quality of, students registered for their classes cannot examine student records for this purpose, but can obtain from the Law School Registrar a list of the registered students’ grade point averages as long as they are not matched with the students’ names or other identifying information.

The Law School administration will provide additional interpretations of “legitimate education interest” as circumstances require.

R.        Procedure for Student Complaints Concerning the Program of Legal Education

1. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association.  The ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools can be accessed on the American Bar Association’s webpage, located at this link: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html. The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the ABA may be contacted at 321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60654; Phone: 312.988.6738; Fax: 312.988.5681; legaled@americanbar.org.

2. Any student who alleges a problem that directly implicates the Law School’s program of legal education and compliance with the ABA’s Accreditation Standards should file a written complaint with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.  The written complaint must a) identify the problem in sufficient detail to permit the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs to investigate the matter, including the specific Accreditation Standard(s) at issue, and b) provide the student’s name, home and email addresses, and phone number.

3. Within thirty days after the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs receives a written complaint, he or she shall respond to the student’s complaint in writing and, if applicable, advise the student of any action the Law School is taking to address the matter or any further investigation into the matter.

4. Within ten days of being advised of any action the Law School is taking to address the matter, the student may appeal that decision to the Dean of the Law School.  The decision of the Dean shall be final.

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