In its preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, the American Bar Association states: “A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” A legal education is the gateway to serving these roles as a lawyer, and a student’s legal education is itself a critical period in his or her professional formation. Thus, all students at the UNT Dallas College of Law are expected to abide by the high ethical and conduct standards needed to serve as representatives of clients, officers of the legal system, and public citizens with special responsibility for the quality of justice. These expectations are expressed in and put into operation through two avenues: the Honor Code, and the Code of Conduct. The Honor Code expresses and puts into operation the expectation ofacademic integrity. The Code of Conduct contains standards of conduct designedto foster a safe learning environment reflecting the core values of civility, reasoning, respect for the rights and property of others, and respect for and understanding of diverse viewpoints. For the Code of Conduct, please consult UNT Dallas Policy 7.001.
About the UNT Dallas College of Law Honor Code
A legal education is the pathway to serving these roles as a lawyer. Therefore, all students at the UNT Dallas College of Law are expected to abide by the high ethical standards needed to serve as representatives of clients, officers of the legal system, and public citizens with special responsibility for the quality of justice.
The College of Law’s Honor Code expresses these expectations: Under the Honor Code, all students are bound to adhere to academic integrity. Academic integrity, under the Honor Code, means that students will not cheat, plagiarize, or falsify in any academic matter.
On this page, you will find information, resources, and reporting information relating to the Honor Code.
Key Features of the Honor Code
Scope. The Honor Code applies to all students at the College of Law and to all academic matters. An academic matter is any action or activity relating to a course or to satisfying the requirements for graduation, and any curricular and co-curricular activities connected to students’ academic and professional development, including but not limited to moot court competitions, journals, externships and career services.
What it requires and prohibits. The Honor Code has a simple message. It requires academic integrity as to all academic matters, which means: students shall not cheat, falsify, or plagiarize in any academic matter. These three terms can sometimes overlap, but each of them refers to a range of behavior.
Cheating is an “act of deception or misrepresentation by which a student could gain an unfair advantage in an academic matter.” Examples: Obtaining information about a test or assignment other than by the methods or within the boundaries that the instructor has permitted, or seeking or receiving any unauthorized assistance, or providing any unauthorized assistance to another, in connection with tests or assignments.
Plagiarizing is presenting as one’s own work any material obtained from another source, whatever the source – for instance text, Internet, digital materials, or materials prepared by other students. Intent is not required to constitute plagiarism; negligent plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code. Whether plagiarism has occurred does not depend on the quantity of the material that is used.
Falsifying is lying, fabricating facts or sources, or misrepresenting facts or sources. Examples: Using a false excuse to avoid or be excused from an assignment or test, or falsifying another student’s (or one’s own) presence in class.
The Honor Council
The College of Law Honor Council administers the Honor Code. The Honor Council consists of 9 members: four student members, four faculty members, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The four faculty members, one of whom serves as the chair, are appointed by the Dean. The Student Bar Association chooses the four student members based on student applications and in accordance with procedures adopted by the Student Bar Association.
Honor Code: The Process
Reporting a suspected Honor Code violation:
If any student observes conduct that he or she believes violates the Honor Code, the student has an obligation to report the possible violation. The student may choose to speak to the professor in the class, or to speak to the Honor Code Representative (Professor Tim Cole). If you are uncertain about what to do, please seek advice from any faculty member, Dean Greenan, or Dean Robinowich.
If a faculty member believes that a student in his or her class has violated the Honor Code, the faculty member may either meet with the student to discuss the alleged violation or report the violation directly to the Honor Code Representative without meeting with the student.
If the faculty member meets with the student: After the meeting, if there is reasonable cause to believe that an Honor Code violation has occurred, the faculty member must report the alleged violation to the HCR. If the faculty member determines there is no reasonable cause to believe that an Honor Code violation has occurred, then this is the end of the matter.
What happens after a report of a possible Honor Code violation:
A report of a suspected Honor Code violation goes to the Honor Code Representative (HCR), who is the faculty member designated to investigate possible Honor Code violations and to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. The HCR is Professor Tim Cole.
If the HCR finds that there is no reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, then the matter is concluded.
If the HCR finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, there are two options.
Option 1: The student may admit a violation and reach an “Agreed Disposition.”
An Agreed Disposition is in writing and acknowledges that the agreed disposition constitutes a finding that the student has violated the College of Law Honor Code and that the finding must be reported upon request on an application to sit for any bar exam.
Option 2: The matter goes to the Honor Council, and a Hearing Panel hears the case. A hearing panel consists of two student members of the Honor Council, two faculty members, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or his or her designee.
There is a range of sanctions for violation of the Honor Code. Any of these may adversely impact a student’s application for admission to the Bar of Texas and other states, because the Board of Law Examiners investigates the character and fitness of applicants to the Bar.
Educational Sanction. (For Honor Code violations relating to a class or course credit, and with the concurrence of the instructor, an educational sanction may include: Change of course grade, including change to a failing grade, and others.
Loss of Privileges. Includes removal from student organizations or denial of privilege to participate in College of Law activities.
Probation. For a specified period of time and/or under specified conditions.
Suspension. For a specified period of time or until compliance with specified conditions is documented.
Expulsion. Permanent separation from the College of Law.