Student Handbook: School of Law Section
Chapter One: Preamble
1.01 The purpose of this Honor Code is to set forth rules by which the students of Pepperdine University School of Law are governed with respect to academic matters. The well-being of the legal profession and the integrity of the academic community at Pepperdine University School of Law depend upon the maintenance of the highest ethical standards. The success or failure of this Honor Code is dependent on the willingness of those governed by the Code to enforce it and to make an individual commitment to comply with its provisions.
Chapter Two: Scope
2.01 This Honor Code applies to student academic matters at Pepperdine University School of Law as defined in section 2.02. The Dean retains concurrent jurisdiction over all matters covered by this code and retains sole jurisdiction over matters not covered by this Code.
2.02 "Academic matter" means any activity which may affect a grade or any extracurricular activity at the School of Law of a law professional nature such as Law Review, moot court competitions, legal clinics, and career development efforts, or which in any way contributes to the satisfaction of the requirements of graduation, Academic matters shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
- Any examination;
- Any research or other assignment to be done for a course;
- Any work that is in whole or partial satisfaction of requirements for the receipt of credit;
- Any misconduct relating to study material, such as notes, papers, books, or tapes;
- Any efforts to obtain employment.
2.03 An individual who was enrolled in the School of Law at the time he or she is alleged to have violated this code shall be deemed as a "student" for the purposes of this Honor Code. An individual shall be deemed "enrolled" from the time of his or her initial registration at the School of Law until he or she receives a law degree, is dismissed, or formally withdraws from the School of Law.
2.04 "The Dean" refers to the Vice Dean who oversees the administration of the Honor Code by the Honor Board. The Dean may also involve other associate deans and the Dean of the School of Law in Honor code matters at his or her discretion.
2.05 The School of Law may withhold a graduating student's diploma while an Honor Code investigation is pending. When Honor Board charges are brought against a student who is in his or her last semester, Honor Board proceedings shall be completed by the date of graduation, or within 30 days after the reporting of the alleged incident to the Honor Board, whichever is later.
2.06 In the event that there is a discrepancy between the Honor Code and the Academic Policy Statements, the applicable provisions in the Academic Policy Statements will prevail.
Chapter Three: Prohibited Conduct
3.01 Any academic dishonesty is a violation of the Honor Code. The following acts or omissions, although not exhaustive, are typical of behavior that is prohibited under the Honor Code:
- To use materials or to consult with any other person:
- a.during an examination, unless expressly authorized by the instructor;
- b.during research or other writing assignments, if expressly forbidden by the instructor;
- To edit overtime on an examination;
- To obtain unauthorized information concerning an examination one is to take, without immediately informing the Dean;
- To take an examination for another student;
- To divulge the contents of an objective or essay examination designated by the instructor as an examination not to be removed from the examination room;
- To intentionally and unnecessarily disturb others taking an examination;
- To incorporate into work offered for credit any passages taken either word for word or in substance from any work of another without properly crediting the original author and work;
- To submit as one's own work the work of another;
- To submit for credit work that has been previously offered for credit or submitted to a journal;
- To submit for credit work prepared in collaboration with another without securing the instructor's permission in advance of submission;
- To improperly reveal to a professor one's identity in connection with an examination which is to be graded on an anonymous basis;
- To deface, remove, cause to be unavailable, deny the use of, or otherwise improperly use any material in the law library, other than use covered by an overdue book policy;
- To misappropriate another law student's, the university's or any faculty member's notes, papers, books, tapes, or other materials;
- To falsely represent grades or other information in a resume or to otherwise misrepresent academic facts or other personal data about oneself in efforts to obtain employment or in any other manner;
- To willfully or wantonly breach the necessary confidentiality of the Honor Board's proceedings;
- To knowingly obstruct the investigation and other proceedings of the Honor Board.
- To unlawfully possess, distribute, or use prescription drugs without proof of prescription, to enhance academic performance;
- To sign a class attendance sheet for another student or to solicit another student to sign in on your behalf;
- To lie or make misrepresentations to a professor in order to avoid a penalty.
3.02 In addition to the violations enumerated in section 3.01, it shall be a violation of the Honor Code to willfully fail to fulfill the duty owed by every law student to report promptly to the Board Chairperson or the Dean all circumstances which he or she believes to constitute a violation of the Honor Code and to identify the person or persons involved.
3.03 In addition to the violations enumerated in sections 3.01 and 3.02, it shall be a violation of the Honor Code to fail to give testimony true to the best of one's knowledge or belief, or fail to produce evidence of an Honor Code violation when requested to do so by the Honor Code Court or by the student facing disciplinary charges. A person may refuse to testify, however, in order to protect oneself from incrimination in a violation of the Honor Code or public penal law.
3.04 Attempts to commit acts prohibited by this Honor Code shall be punished to the same extent as completed violations.
3.05 It is not necessary that the Honor Board prove that the student had the specific intent to violate the Honor Code.
Chapter Four: Administration of the Code
4.01 The provisions of the Honor Code shall be administered by a body entitled the "Honor Board," hereinafter referred to as the "Board." The Board shall be constituted as follows:
- The Board shall consist of no more than 16 law students.New members will be certified by a majority vote of the existing Board, including the Chairperson. All incoming members are subject to approval by the Dean. Members of the Board will serve until graduation, resignation, or dismissal from the Board as described in 4.05 of this chapter.
- Students who wish to be candidates for appointment to the Board shall indicate their interest by submitting a letter of intent to the Dean's office. In addition to indicating interest, the letter shall identify the academic class year of the student. Students must also submit a letter of recommendation from a Pepperdine School of Law professor in addition to a current resume. No probationary student or student who has been found to have violated the Honor Code shall be eligible to serve.
- Board vacancies during the calendar year shall be filled by appointment by the Board at the Board's discretion.
- The Chairperson(s) shall:
- Elect one or two Board Chairperson(s) from among its members to succeed them.
- Appoint a member to serve as Honor Court Counsel, on a case-by-case basis, who shall act as prosecutor and be responsible for gathering evidence when violations of the code are alleged. Any Board member under investigation for an Honor Code violation shall not be involved in his or her own investigation.
- The Board shall have the responsibility of promoting an effective educational campaign against dishonesty, shall establish standards of conduct for its members, shall present each new student a copy of the Code, and shall execute all other duties assigned to it by this Code.
- The Board may establish rules consistent with this code to govern in all matters within the scope of this code but not expressly covered by it.
4.02 There shall be an Honor Code Court, to be appointed on a case-by-case basis, as follows:
- Three (3) students as appointed from the Honor Board by the Board Chairperson, provided, however, that neither the Chairperson nor Honor Court Counsel shall serve on the Court.
- Three (3) faculty members as appointed by the Dean.
4.03 It shall be the responsibility of the Honor Code Court to hear and consider all complaints brought before it, to make findings of whether or not a student has violated the Honor Code as charged, and to recommend sanctions in appropriate matters.
4.04 The Honor Code Court, at the close of a hearing and upon finding that a student has violated the Honor Code, or the Honor Court Counsel and Chairperson upon admission of a violation or settlement offer, may recommend that the Dean impose any one or more of the following sanctions:
- Expulsion- Recommendation of termination of student status;
- Suspension- Recommendation of separation of the student from the School of Law for a definite period of time. The student shall be excluded from classes and all other activities sponsored by the School of Law;
- Disciplinary Probation- The student shall not represent the School of Law in any extracurricular activity or run for or hold office in any student group or organization for a definite period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed;
- Warning- Notice to student that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action;
- Restitution- Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property;
- Other Sanctions- Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified in subsections (1) through (5) of this section. These shall include, but shall not be limited to, cancellation of credit for scholastic work done, reduction of the grade given in a course, and increase in the number of course hours required for a degree. Nothing in this Honor Code shall be construed to conflict with the faculty's discretion in assigning grades. If a faculty member refuses to accept a recommendation of the Honor Code Court concerning a grade, however, said faculty member must state his or her reasons in writing. This written statement is to be kept on record by the Board. A copy is to be given to the accused student;
- Investigative materials, relevant correspondence, recommendations by Board, faculty, or Court, and sanctions imposed shall be placed in the student's permanent record if a student is found to have violated the Honor Code through Court findings, admission, or settlement.
4.05 Dismissal from the Honor Board
- Dismissal from the Board may be due to, but not limited to, the following:
- Academic probation;
- Disciplinary probation/sanction determined by the School of Law administration and/or the Honor Board;
- Good cause;
- Dismissal for Cause from Honor Board
- The Dean or a member of the Board may submit the name of any member who is not performing satisfactorily as a Board member to the Chairperson. The Chairperson and Dean shall review the facts and issue a letter of warning if warranted. The letter of warning shall contain a statement of the charges. The member will be allowed to reply in writing to the chairperson concerning any extenuating circumstances or explanations;
- After review of the letter of warning and the member's response, the Dean or chairperson may, if the response is not deemed satisfactory, submit the member to the Board for consideration of dismissal based on good cause. "Good cause" shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
a. Failure to attend meetings;
b. Failure to meet deadlines without justification;
c. Failure to adequately perform assigned duties;
d. Failure to follow Board imposed policy;
e. Breach of Board imposed duty of confidentiality.
3. No member shall be removed from the Board except upon the concurrence of the Dean.
4. The member in question can reply in writing for reconsideration and extenuating circumstances, according to these procedures.
Chapter Five: Filing of Complaint. Pre-hearing Procedures
5.01 Violations of this code as outlined in Chapter Three shall be reported to the Board Chairperson, or the Dean, or his or her faculty designee. Any violations reported directly to the Dean's office shall be referred to the Chairperson.
5.02 The Board Chairperson shall review the report of violation with the Dean, or his or her designee, to determine whether it sets forth a probable violation of the code. If the Board Chairperson and Dean, or his or her designee, determine that the report of violation does not set forth sufficient information to warrant further investigation, no further action shall be taken. If the Chairperson and Dean, or his or her designee, determine that the report of violation is prosecutable, then the Chairperson shall appoint two Board members to serve as Honor Court Counsel/Investigator.
5.03 The Honor Court Counsel shall marshal the evidence necessary to substantiate the alleged violation, including interviewing witnesses and collecting physical evidence.
5.04 Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Honor Court Counsel shall meet with the Board Chairperson to recommend a disposition of the report of violation. Should the Honor Court Counsel's recommendation be prosecution, the Honor Court Counsel shall draft a complaint setting forth the facts and circumstances that comprise the violation, citing specific provisions of the code that have allegedly been violated.
5.05 The Chairperson shall meet with the Honor Court Counsel and if the Chairperson concurs with the recommendation of prosecution by the Honor Court Counsel, he or she shall proceed as follows:
- Provide notice to the accused student of the decision to move forward with prosecution along with a copy of the complaint pursuant to Section 6.01 herein.
- Set up a meeting between the accused student, the Honor Board Investigator(s), and the Chairperson. At this meeting, the accused student will be given a full explanation of the rights enumerated in Chapter Six of the Honor Code. In regards to 6.01(3), the student will have the option of (i) self-representation, or (ii) to choose a representative from among the student body, or (iii) select a student representative from a pool of six non-Honor Board members who have agreed to represent accused students when needed. If the student elects to choose his own representative (option ii), the accused student shall not approach that person, but will instead provide the name of the selected student to the Honor Board. The Honor Board will then meet with this person first for the sole purpose of determining whether the selected person is willing and able to represent the accused student. As will be fully explained to all accused students, the reason why the Honor Board will approach the selected person first is to help ensure confidentiality;
- If the accused student chooses to have a representative, whether it is from his or her own selection or from the pool, a second meeting will be set up with all of the above-listed present, plus the representative. At this meeting, the procedure for the Honor Board investigations will be reviewed again and any questions the accused student and/or representative have will be answered;
- Both the accused student and the Honor Board Investigators assigned the case shall turn over any evidence to the Chairperson that will be presented at the hearing at least seven (7) days before the hearing date. The term "evidence" shall include all documents to be presented at the hearing and a list of all witnesses that each side intends on calling. Evidence not submitted by this deadline will be inadmissible at the hearing. The Chairperson will then review the evidence, and when appropriate, redact the evidence only to the extent necessary to protect the anonymity of innocent parties. The Chairperson will then submit all the evidence to both parties at least five (5) days before the hearing date;
- Appoint three (3) student members of the Board pursuant to Section 4.02 herein;
- Request that the Dean appoint three (3) faculty members pursuant to Section 4.02 herein;
- Set a time and place for the Honor Code Court hearing.
If the Board Chairperson does not concur with the recommendation of the Honor Court Counsel the matter will be presented to a panel of three Board members, chosen by lot, which shall determine whether to prosecute or not by majority vote.
Chapter Six: Rights of the Accused
6.01 The accused student shall have the following rights:
- Delivery of the Complaint containing specifics of the charges at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the Court hearing date;
- Written notice of the time and place of the Honor Code Court hearing, including the names of the three (3) faculty members and three (3) students appointed pursuant to Section 4.02, at least seven (7) days prior to the Court hearing date;
- Assistance of counsel selected from the School of Law student body to gather and present relevant evidence;
- A settlement conference wherein the accused student, student counsel, and Honor Court counsel shall determine if disposition of the matter before the Court hearing date is feasible. Any proposed disposition shall be presented to the Board Chairperson and Dean, or his or her designee, for approval or rejection. Any settlement conference shall take place at least two (2) days prior to the Court hearing date;
- To select two (2) students and two (2) faculty members from the group assembled pursuant to Section 6.01.2 above to constitute the Honor Code Court. Said selection shall be made known in writing to the Chairperson at least two (2) days prior to the Court hearing date;
- To a reasonably adequate time to prepare a defense;
- To confront and cross examine witnesses who testify personally during the hearing;
- To present evidence and to call witnesses from the School of Law community who have first hand information;
- To remain silent without such silence being construed against the student;
- To a hearing closed to the public, or open, at his or her choice;
- To a presumption of innocence which shall disappear only if the Honor Code Court finds a violation has occurred by clear and convincing evidence;
6.02 All rights enumerated herein may be waived by the accused student at any time.
6.03 The accused student shall not have the right to be represented by an attorney at the Court hearing.
Chapter Seven: The Hearing
- The Board Chairperson shall have set the date, time, and place of the hearing and given written notice to the accused, members of the Honor Code Court, and the Honor Court Counsel.
- The Honor Court shall summon all persons selected to be witnesses at the hearing. No hearing shall be held unless all of the members of the Honor Code Court are present.
- Any member of the Honor Code Court shall disqualify himself or herself from a hearing if, in his or her opinion, he or she cannot act on the weight of the evidence without bias or prejudice. Should a student member disqualify himself or herself from the Honor Code Court, the Chairperson shall appoint a replacement as outlined in Section 4.02.1. Should a faculty member of the Honor Code Court disqualify himself or herself, the Dean shall appoint a replacement.
7.02 Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable to the proceedings of the hearing. All evidence which the Court considers to be of relevant value shall be received for the purpose of determining the facts.
7.03 An audio recording of the hearing shall be retained in the Board files. The Dean has the right to hear the recording at any time. The accused student may make, at his or her own expense, an audio recording of the hearing.
7.04 Chronological Procedure of the Hearing is as follows:
- Evidence in support of the charge as presented by the Honor Code Counsel;
- Accused student's evidence in rebuttal;
- Finding on whether the student has committed the violation(s) charged;
- If the finding is affirmative, or if the student signed an admission statement acknowledging he/she has violated the Honor Code, the Honor Code Court shall hear evidence of mitigation or aggravation;
- Recommendation on sanction;
- Notification of accused and the Dean of the finding and recommendation;
7.05 All findings of the Honor Code Court shall be determined in closed session by a majority vote based upon the standard of clear and convincing evidence. All investigative records and other proceedings of the Board shall remain confidential.
7.06 The Dean shall review the finding and recommendations of the Honor Code Court and take final action as follows:
- Where there is a finding of no violation with regard to a particular alleged violation of the Honor Code (as set forth pursuant to section 5.05.1) the matter is closed, except for the posting of notice as provided for in Section 7.07;
- Where the accused is found to have violated the Honor Code the Dean will act to approve or, if he or she finds an abuse of discretion on part of the Honor Code Court, to modify those findings and/or recommendations.
7.07 Upon the Dean's formal determination of the Court's decision, the Dean will inform the accused student of the result.
7.08 Following the student's notification of the Court's decision, the Board Chairperson shall immediately post a notice in the School of Law containing the following:
- The specific section of the code charged;
- The Honor Code Court decision; and
- Final disposition.
Names of individuals shall not be included in the notice.