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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.