Table of Contents
- Graduation Requirements for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law and Policy
- Class Attendance
- Full-Time Status: Employment Limitation
- Grading System
- LL.M. Thesis
- Clinical Programs
- Outside Courses
- Withdrawal From College/University
- Academic Support, Dismissal and Readmission
- Student Conduct Code
- Admission Requirements
1. Graduation Requirements for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law and Policy
A student is eligible to receive the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law and Policy degree when the student has satisfied all of the following requirements.
A. Credit Hour Requirements
Students seeking the LL.M. in Environmental Law and Policy must successfully complete 24 credit hours of approved course work.
“Successful completion” means a final grade of D- or better in a graded course or a grade of S in an ungraded course.
The LL.M. student’s mentor and the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs shall determine whether a course should be approved for credit toward the L.L.M. degree. Courses listed on the Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law Program website are presumptively approved for credit toward the L.L.M. degree. Approval of other courses will depend on the student’s particular interests and goals. All credits for work outside the College of Law, including for internships or externships, require the prior, written approval of the LL.M. student’s mentor or the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs.
B. Grade Point Average Requirement
A final cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of 2.25 or better for all course work undertaken in graded courses. There is no grade “forgiveness” if a student retakes a failed course; both grades are included in the computation of the student’s final grade point average.
C. Graded Credit Hour Requirements
A student must successfully complete at least 18 semester credit hours of graded course work. A student’s remaining 6 required credit hours may be satisfied by successful completion of ungraded course work.
D. Transient Credit
No credit toward the LL.M. degree may be transferred from another law school.
E. Additional Requirements
The Environmental Programs Committee may require students in the Environmental LL.M. program to successfully complete specific courses or other requirements as part of their studies.
F. Duration Requirements
Full-time students must complete the requirements within one calendar year of the student’s matriculation date. Part-time students must complete the requirements within three calendar years of the student’s matriculation date.
The College of Law has established a special course for LL.M. students who have completed their 24 credits of coursework but who need extra time to complete their writing requirement. Students may enroll in one to six (1-6) credits of this course each semester for up to three (3) additional semesters (including summer, i.e., one academic year) or twelve (12) credits, whichever comes first (enrollment for six credits is generally required for financial aid).
G. Waiver of Graduation Requirements
Under exceptional circumstances, a graduation requirement may be waived in accordance with the following procedure.
A student may request to have a graduation requirement waived by filing a petition to do so with the College of Law Academic Waiver Committee. The members of the committee shall be appointed by the Dean.
ii. Exceptional Circumstances
The committee may waive a graduation requirement only upon a finding of exceptional circumstances. Normally, the circumstances must be beyond the student’s control and not have been reasonably foreseeable.
A majority vote of the committee to reject a waiver request is final.
A unanimous vote of the committee to grant a waiver request is final.
A majority vote of the committee to grant a waiver request results in the request being referred to the faculty. If a majority of the voting faculty approves the waiver, the waiver will be granted.
H. Graduation With Honors
A graduate receiving this LL.M. degree will be awarded the degree with honors when the graduate’s final GPA is as follows:
- Summa Cum Laude (highest honors): From 3.900 to 4.250
- Magna Cum Laude (high honors): From 3.700 to 3.899
- Cum Laude (honors): From 3.300 to 3.699
2. Class Attendance
Regular and punctual class attendance is necessary to satisfy credit hour and residence requirements.
B. Minimum Standard
At a minimum, a student must attend at least 80 percent of class meetings to receive credit for a course. Attendance includes the obligation to arrive on time and to satisfactorily complete reading assignments prior to class.
C. Instructor’s Standard
An individual faculty member may adopt an attendance standard that is more stringent than the minimum standard or may establish other reasonable rules and policies regarding class attendance, tardiness, class preparation or other classroom conduct. If more stringent than the minimum standard, a faculty member must announce the faculty member’s individual attendance standard or other rules at the beginning of the semester. In setting an attendance standard that exceeds the minimum, a faculty member should consider, inter alia, student needs to arrange job interviews.
A student who violates the minimum attendance standard or a faculty member’s individual attendance standard may be administratively disenrolled from the course. Normally, administrative disenrollment will result in a grade of AD on the student’s transcript. At the discretion of the faculty member teaching the course, a student disenrolled for chronic absenteeism may be awarded a grade of Administrative Failure (AF, worth 0.00 grade points). A faculty member may impose other academic penalties for violation of the faculty member’s individual rules or policies.
3. Full-Time Status: Employment Limitation
A full-time student may not engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week in any semester in which the student is enrolled in 12 or more credit hours. An LL.M. student may also be subject to work limitations imposed by his or her visa status.
4. Grading System
A. Grading System
The College of Law assigns the following grades to LL.M. students. Each grade corresponds to a number of grade points:
The College of Law may also report the following Score Codes on students’ official transcripts:
Withdrawal from Course by Permission of the College of Law
Withdrawn from the College or University
B. Grade Point Average
An LL.M. in Environmental Law and Policy student’s grade point average is determined as follows:
- the total number of grade points earned by the student, as calculated by multiplying (a) the number of credits for each class for which a grade is assigned on the student’s transcript with (b) the number of points associated with that grade;
- divided by (2) the number of graded credits reported on the student’s transcript.
The result is rounded to the nearest hundredth. Score Codes do not count as graded credits toward the computation of GPA, except that each AF and IE score is included as a grade with zero points in the computation of GPA.
C. Grade Normalization
LL.M. students are not subject to the grade normalization rules for J.D. students.
D. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Graded Courses
For ungraded courses, instructors or supervisors will award either an “S” for satisfactory performance or a “U” for unsatisfactory performance. Such courses will count towards the 24 overall credit hours requirement for earning the LL.M. degree, but not towards the 18 graded credit hours requirement.
E. Partially Ungraded (PU) Option
An LL.M. student may not elect to enroll in a graded law school course on a Partially Ungraded (PU) basis.
F. Administrative Failure Grade
An Administrative Failure (AF) grade may, in the instructor’s discretion, be awarded only in the following circumstances:
- where a student is administratively disenrolled for chronic absences;
- where an enrolled student (other than one who has properly withdrawn from the College or one who has properly withdrawn from the course) fails to complete previously announced course requirements;
- where a student fails to make a bona fide attempt to write an acceptable paper or complete an examination;
- where a student permits an "Incomplete" (I) grade to expire without a bona fide attempt to complete the course; or
- where a student withdraws from a course or from the College without completing the proper procedures.
An AF grade will be clearly so marked on the student's transcript. On written request to the instructor, the student will be informed in writing of the nature of the grade and the reason why it was awarded.
G. Incomplete Grades
An interim grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned by the instructor if a student has not completed all assigned course work at the time that grades are submitted.
All incomplete coursework must be completed by the end of the next academic term (including summer term), unless an exception is granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs prior to that time.
An Incomplete grade not otherwise changed will become an Administrative Failure grade (AF).
H. Grade Appeal System
iv. Grounds for a Grade Appeal
The grade appeals system affords an opportunity for a student to appeal a final grade considered inequitably awarded because it involved a gross violation of the instructor's own specified standards. The system is not a basis for appeal of the instructor's grading standards, nor does it cover situations in which the judgment of the instructor is questioned as to a borderline grade decision. The system is also not a means of challenging whether a professor’s grades met the curve, because the curve is an administrative requirement to be enforced by the Dean or the Dean’s designee, and is not part of a professor’s grading standards.
v. Procedure for a Grade Appeal
To appeal a final grade that the student believes violates the instructor’s own specified grading standards, a student must:
Contact the instructor to discuss the grade and attempt to resolve any differences. A student unable to resolve the student’s differences with the instructor, or a student not in residence for the succeeding term, must file a written appeal with the Dean or the Dean’s designee within sixty (60) calendar days following the assignment of the disputed grade. The student may file the written appeal before finally determining that differences with the instructor cannot be resolved. The appeal should contain the facts and circumstances on which the student's claim is based. The student must furnish a copy of the appeal to the instructor.
A student who is still dissatisfied may then request an appearance before a board composed of three students appointed by the Dean or the Dean’s designee (hereinafter the “student board”). This student board acts as a screening body only. It determines only whether the appeal satisfies the standard described above by a preponderance of the evidence. The decision shall be determined by majority vote, with any abstention counting as a vote that the appeal lacks merit. In its discretion, the student board is empowered to solicit evidence and testimony from the appealing student and any other person or entity. A negative decision by the student board will end the appeal. A favorable decision will be referred to a Step 3 committee.
A committee of three faculty members and two students appointed by the Dean or the Dean’s designee (hereinafter “the committee”) will review a favorable decision reached by the student board. The students appointed to the committee shall not include any student who served on the Step 2 student board. The committee shall conduct a de novo review of the appeal and conclude whether the appeal satisfies the standard described above by a preponderance of the evidence. In its discretion, the committee is empowered to solicit evidence and testimony from the appealing student and any other person or entity. A majority decision by the committee is final.
Students appointed to the student board and the committee will be appointed from nominees selected by the SBA President or the President's designee.
The Dean or the Dean’s designee will appoint a chairperson of both the student board and the committee. The Dean's office will furnish notice to the appealing student and to the instructor of the appointment of a grade appeal board or committee.
The chairperson will select a meeting time and place and furnish notice to both the appealing student and the instructor. Both parties have the right to appear at any step and be heard and to submit any materials for consideration of the student board and/or committee that they deem appropriate. A student board or committee may determine its own procedures, except as otherwise prescribed herein. Copies of material(s) furnished to a student board or committee by the appealing student, the instructor, or any party or individual should, whenever practical, be furnished to the other party. The Dean's office will provide staff assistance as needed to the Step 2 student board and Step 3 committee.
At the conclusion of each step, the student board or committee shall furnish a written report of its decision to the Dean and to the parties.
In the case of a successful appeal at the Step 3 committee stage, the grade may be changed by the joint agreement of the student and the instructor, except that if the newly agreed upon grade will cause the grades for the class to deviate from the curve or the profile, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve the agreement. In case of their failure to agree in the context of a successful appeal, the appealing student may elect to keep his or her grade or to have the grade changed to Satisfactory (S). Hours of S resulting from a grade appeal are credited towards the hours required for graduation, but not towards the graded hours required, even if the course was initially a graded course.
I. Dean’s List
At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, the designation of “Dean's List” will be noted on an LL.M. student’s transcript, if the student has an overall GPA of 3.66 or higher for that semester.
To be eligible for the Dean’s List designation, a student must successfully complete 12 or more credit hours for the semester with at least six graded credit hours in the College of Law.
J. Reporting Grades and Grade Distributions
While the College of Law informs students of the grade they have earned in a course, the College will not generally release information concerning the overall distribution of grades in a class to students.
A. Blind Anonymous Grading System (BAGS)
All College of Law examinations are anonymously administered and graded pursuant to the Blind Anonymous Grading System (BAGS). Other graded work may, in the discretion of the instructor, be administered and graded pursuant to the BAGS system.
Each semester, the Office of Admissions and Records will assign a BAGS number to each student. Students must use their BAGS number to identify their examination papers in all courses subject to blind grading and must not use their name or any other personal identification on their examination papers. A single BAGS number is used by each student for all final examinations taken during the semester.
Additional BAGS numbers will be assigned to students in courses with a mid-term examination or other multiple evaluative instruments that are subject to blind grading.
An instructor may decline to grade a student’s examination if the student’s name or other personal identification appears on the examination paper.
B. Administration of Examinations
Except as otherwise provided in this section, a student must take a final examination at the time it is scheduled. An unexcused absence from a final examination will result in an Administrative Failure (AF) grade.
i. Excused absence
If a student, before or during an examination, believes that (s)he cannot take or complete an examination by reason of illness, tragedy or similar compelling exigency, the student must immediately notify the instructor or a dean. Unless justified, a student’s failure to provide timely notice of an illness or other exigency will be deemed grounds to deny the student an opportunity to take or complete the examination at a later time.
ii. Multiple examinations
If a student has two scheduled examinations on a single day or an examination on an afternoon followed by one the next morning, the student may request an alternative examination schedule. A request to reschedule a final examination must be submitted by the end of the fifth week of the semester to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee who, in consultation with the instructors concerned, will arrange for an alternate time for one of the examinations, if justified. A request to reschedule other examinations must be submitted at least two weeks before the examination is set to occur. An examination ordinarily will not be rescheduled to a date earlier than that specified on the exam schedule.
iii. Special accommodations
A student who is entitled to special examination accommodations because of a physical or learning disability should make arrangements with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee. To be eligible for special arrangements, a student must complete and submit a request for special exam accommodations form by the end of the fifth week of the semester in which accommodation is sought.
iv. Overseas programs
An examination conflict arising out of a student's participation in an FSU summer overseas program immediately following the summer term in Tallahassee will ordinarily be accommodated. Students with such a conflict must arrange for an early examination before leaving Tallahassee.
6. LL.M. Thesis
No LL.M. thesis is required for the degree.
Each LL.M. candidate shall complete a substantial written project of publishable quality on an environmental, natural resources, land use, or energy law topic in connection with a seminar or otherwise approved by an authorized faculty member. All submissions shall be in law review format with complete footnotes in Bluebook format
7. Clinical Programs
A. Clinical Programs
The College of Law’s clinical programs include both internship and externship offerings. Internships are available through the Business Law Clinic and the various programs administered by the Public Interest Law Center. We also offer the following externship opportunities:
- Appellate Externships
- Corporate Counsel Externships
- Criminal Justice Externships
- International Externships
- Judicial Externships
- Public Interest Externships
The number of credit hours awarded for successful completion of a clinical program varies with each program.
B. General Limits on Clinical Credit Hours
No more than 6 clinical credit hours may be applied toward the credit hours required for the LL.M. degree.
Clinical credit hours are ungraded (S/U) and do not apply to the graded credit hours required for the LL.M. degree.
A student may enroll in only one clinical program in any one semester or term.
All credits for work outside the College of Law, including for internships or externships, require the prior, written approval of the LL.M. student’s mentor or the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs.
8. Outside Courses
Credit towards the hours required for the LL.M. degree may be earned for graduate-level course work successfully completed in other colleges or departments at The Florida State University or at Florida A. & M. University subject to the following conditions and limitations:
The subject matter or coverage of the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and is not otherwise reasonably available to the student within the College of Law’s curriculum.
The credit hours granted for outside course work under this policy must be commensurate with the time and effort expended by and the quality of the educational experience of the student.
A student may not receive more than three semester hours of outside credit towards the LL.M. degree under this policy.
To receive credit for an outside course the student must receive a final grade in the course of C or better or its equivalent.
The grade received for the course will not be used in the computation of the student’s law school grade point average, and the credit hours received for an outside course will be deemed as ungraded hours for the purpose of satisfying the graded hours graduation requirement, even if the course is graded.
B. Course Approval
Before enrolling in an outside course, a student must obtain approval of the course pursuant to the following procedures:
The student must complete and submit an application for approval to take the course, which application must provide a syllabus or description of the course, including full particulars regarding the nature and extent of the work involved and the method of student evaluation, and an explanation of why the subject matter or coverage of the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study.
A full-time member of the College of Law faculty must review the application and agree to sponsor the student’s request by attesting that the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and that the credit hours to be granted for the course are commensurate with the time and effort to be expended by the student and the quality of the anticipated educational experience.
The application must be approved by the Dean or the Dean’s designee upon a determination that the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and is not otherwise reasonably available within the College of Law’s curriculum and that the credit hours to be granted for the course are commensurate with the time and effort to be expended by the student and the quality of the anticipated educational experience. The Dean may refer to the Curriculum Committee close questions regarding the justification for approval of an outside course.
C. Credit Approval
After completion of an outside course and receipt of a final grade in the course, the student must obtain approval of the credit to be awarded for the course as follows:
The faculty sponsor must review the work actually completed by the student in the course and the student’s final grade in the course and approve the credit hours to be awarded for the course upon a determination that those credit hours are in fact commensurate with the time and effort expended by the student and the quality of the student’s educational experience in the course.
The credit hours to be awarded for the course must be approved by the Dean or the Dean’s designee upon a determination that those credit hours are in fact commensurate with the time and effort expended by the student and the quality of the student’s educational experience in the course.
A. Full-Time Status
i. Full-Time Status
Except as otherwise provided in section 9(A)(iii), a student must enroll for 9 or more credit hours of approved course work in each fall and spring semester following the student’s initial matriculation at the College. Summer enrollment is not expected or required.
A student may be permitted to enroll for fewer than 9 credit hours in the fall or spring semester only for good cause and with the prior written approval of the Dean or the Dean’s designee. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, the following circumstances:
- A student’s health, disability, or family circumstance.
- The Academic Dean or designee finds other circumstances which justify enrollment for less credit, e.g., student does not need the credit hours to graduate or student needs to have a semester to adjust to the U.S. legal education system.
A student who initially enrolls for 9 or more credit hours may for good cause and with the prior written approval of the Dean or the Dean’s designee be permitted to withdraw from one or more courses and thereby drop below 9 credit hours for the semester. If the student is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the student must provide the Dean or the Dean’s designee with prior written permission to drop the course from the Global Pathways Office.
B. Summer Session
A student who enrolls for a summer session is not required to do so on a full-time basis.
C. Maximum Credits Per Semester
A student may not be enrolled for more than 17 credit hours of course work at any time and may enroll in no more than eight credit hours in the FSU seven-week summer term.
D. Course Conflicts
A student may not enroll in two courses during the same semester if one or more scheduled class meetings for those courses conflict. Notwithstanding that the university’s registration system fails to prevent a student from enrolling in two courses that conflict, it is the student’s responsibility to assure that the student’s courses do not conflict. If a student registers for two courses that conflict, under no circumstances will the student receive credit for both courses, and if each professor determines that the student does not deserve credit for that professor’s course, the student will not receive credit for either course.
E. Course Withdrawal
Subject to section A above, an LL.M. student may voluntarily withdraw from a course in which the student is enrolled as follows:
Except as otherwise provided below, a student may withdraw from a course at any time during the four day drop/add period at the start of the term.
After the drop/add period has expired, a student may withdraw from a course only for good cause and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Ordinarily, a student will not be permitted to withdraw from a course if any graded work has been submitted in the course.
A student may not withdraw from a limited-enrollment course (see Rule 11(D)) after the first class meeting without the consent of the instructor or the written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs upon a determination of good cause.
A student who enrolls for a course and fails properly and timely to withdraw as provided in this section must complete the course, and if the student fails to do so, a final grade of Adminstrative Failure (AF) will be assigned and entered on the student’s transcript.
A student who has withdrawn from a course may not re-enroll in the same course, if it is taught by the same instructor, without the consent of the instructor or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
For courses that are not limited-enrollment, this rule does not apply to a student’s right to drop a course during the drop/add period.
10. Withdrawal From College/University
An LL.M. may voluntarily withdraw from the College of Law and the University at any time in accordance with the following procedures:
To withdraw from the College, a student must notify the Dean or the Dean’s designee of the student’s intention to withdraw and may, if the student so desires, discuss the reasons for the student’s withdrawal.
To withdraw from the University, a student must comply with all University requirements for withdrawal.
A student who withdraws from the College and the University without complying with all applicable University requirements may receive a final grade of Administrative Failure (AF) or Administrative Unsatisfactory (AU) in all courses for which the student is enrolled at the time.
A student who voluntarily withdrew from the College of Law while in good standing may be readmitted as follows:
i. By Dean
A student applying for readmission for a term within one calendar year from the time of the student’s withdrawal may be readmitted by the Dean or the Dean’s designee. The Dean may, however, refer the readmission application to the Admissions Committee.
ii. By Committee
A student applying for readmission for a term more than one calendar year from the date of the student’s withdrawal may only be readmitted by the Admissions Committee. A student who withdrew in good standing and who has been out of law school for two calendar years or longer is required to seek readmission through the Admissions Committee. An application for readmission under this section is subject to the procedures set forth in Rule 11(C) except as otherwise provided.
11. Academic Support, Dismissal and Readmission
A. Academic Support
LL.M. students shall be placed in the program if their GPA falls below 2.25.
Academic support is not a form of probation, and a student subject to oversight is considered in good standing.
The Dean, or the Dean’s designee, shall set the rules and format of the Academic Support program.
B. Academic Dismissal
A student will be administratively dismissed from the College of Law automatically and without further notice if:
- the student fails, at any point after the completion of the student’s second semester in the College, to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.25 or better;
- the student receives a total of eight or more credit hours of F or AF grades, provided that all such grades are not received from the same instructor;
- the student receives a total of four or more credit hours of administrative F (AF) or U (AU) grades, provided that all such grades are not received from the same instructor or supervisor.
A grade of F, AF or U received by a student in the student’s final semester for a course that is not necessary for the student’s graduation will not be considered for the purpose of applying section 11(B)(i).
An academically dismissed student will be sent notification of the student’s dismissal by the Dean or the Dean’s designee promptly upon determination, but the failure promptly to notify the student or the student’s failure to receive the notification will not affect the dismissal.
iv. Effective Date
The College has no probationary period for academically dismissed students, and a student’s academic dismissal is effective immediately upon the student’s notification of the dismissal. An academic dismissal relates back to the end of the semester in which the student was academically dismissed, and an academically dismissed student has no right to complete a semester or term in which the student is enrolled at the time of the student’s notification of the dismissal.
v. No Right to Return
An academically dismissed student has no right to return to the College and must apply for readmission if the student wishes to return to the College.
A student (i) who has been academically dismissed from the College; (ii) who voluntarily withdrew in good standing from the College and University; or (iii) who while in good standing failed for two or more consecutive terms (including the summer term) to enroll in the College, or to visit another law school as a transient student, must apply for readmission to the College as follows:
i. Readmission is Not a Matter of Right
Readmission of an academically dismissed student is not a matter of right. The discretionary authority to readmit or not to readmit is delegated by the faculty of the College of Law to the Admissions Committee.
An academically dismissed student should seek readmission through the Admissions Committee. The Committee's decision shall be made on the petition and the petitioner's law school record. There is no right of personal appearance before the Committee, although the Committee, in its discretion, may permit a personal appearance or require additional information in writing from the petitioner or others. In all such cases, the petitioner shall be given a written copy of any information added to his/her file after the filing of the petition for readmission. The decision of the Admissions Committee as to factual determinations is final.
iii. Consideration of Petition and Layout
The Admissions Committee may consider a petition for readmission at any time after academic dismissal. It is left to the discretion of the Admissions Committee to decide whether a layout, as a condition precedent to readmission, is appropriate to readmission. Normally, any layout period shall comply with the following norms:
- Two or three semesters for students academically dismissed in their first year of law school.
- One or two semesters for students academically dismissed in their second year of law school.
- One semester for students academically dismissed in their third year of law school.
iv. Certification of Cases or Issues to the Full Faculty
The Admissions Committee may certify particular issues or the entire readmissions decision in any case to the faculty. The faculty may then make the decision or provide guidelines to be applied by the Admissions Committee for that case.
v. Conditions Imposed on Readmission
The Admissions Committee (or the full faculty in appropriate cases) may impose reasonable conditions on the readmission of academically dismissed students. Without limitation, these conditions may deal with alterations of the definition of academic dismissal as it is to apply to the readmitted student; with whether or not the student will be permitted to enroll in pass/fail courses and, if so, under what circumstances; with any required remedial work (including the retaking of previous courses) that might be warranted in the case; and with the academic average that must be maintained.
vi. Statement of Reasons
Where an academically dismissed student is denied readmission, the justifications for the denial shall be reduced to writing. A copy shall be attached to the petition for readmission, and a copy shall be given to the petitioner.
vii. Only One Readmission
A second academic dismissal of a student is final.
12. Student Conduct Code
The College of Law’s Student Conduct Code in this section governs the academic conduct of students at the Florida State University College of Law. All other conduct of students at the College of Law is governed by the Florida State University’s Student Conduct Code, which is promulgated by the University’s Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards and is available at https://sccs.fsu.edu/conduct-codes/student-conduct-codes.
A. Definitions and Violations
This Code prohibits:
viii. Securing or Providing an Unfair Advantage
Securing an unfair advantage includes, but is not limited to, failing to follow instructions provided by a professor or the College in relation to enrollment in courses, a class assignment, or an examination. It also includes cheating. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, receiving or giving unauthorized aid or assistance in the completion of an examination or of any other work used in evaluating a student's performance, using unauthorized materials, and exceeding a stated time limit.
Plagiarism is representing the work of another as the student's own. Students are expected to know and employ accepted conventions of citations and attribution. Failure to indicate quoted or paraphrased sources constitutes plagiarism. More specific definitions of plagiarism for particular courses or in particular contexts may be supplied by a course instructor, editor, or faculty employer of a student. A student should request clarification in case of doubt. Any student charged under this section may prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the misrepresentation of work resulted from mistake or inadvertence as a complete defense.
x. Library Offenses
Library offenses are sequestering, hiding, or mutilating library materials or using library materials in a manner that violates official library rules on manner of length of use.
Disruption is disturbance of or interference with the scholarly pursuit of the College. It includes, but is not limited to, interference with the conduct of an examination, defiance of rulings or instructions issued by an instructor or proctor in the course of an examination, and defacing or destroying class notes, drafts, or any other scholarly or administrative work product of faculty, other students, or other users of College facilities.
Fraud is material falsification of documents or any other form of deceit or misrepresentation committed in regard to the administrative or academic processes of the College of Law.
xiii. Other Serious Misconduct
Other serious misconduct involves intentional and serious offenses involving acts for which criminal or other punitive sanctions are provided by federal, state, or local law, or ordinance, that directly relate to a student’s fitness to continue as a student at the College.
xiv. Initiation of Code Violation Investigation
Students, faculty, and staff of the College are expected to inform the Dean of any facts constituting cause to believe a code violation has been committed or will be committed. Failure to report such information, however, is not a violation of this code.
Information reported under this section may be communicated in confidence to the Dean as long as the mode of communication is not subject to open-records laws. The Dean will not disclose such reports until the Dean determines that probable cause of a code violation exists, unless required by law to do so.
The Dean shall appoint a faculty member to serve as investigator upon determining that the reported facts constitute probable cause to believe a violation of this code has occurred. The investigator should not be either an accuser or anticipated witness in the matter.
The investigator shall notify the accused of the allegations, the investigation, and the accuser.
The investigator may interview persons believed to have knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violation, as the investigator deems appropriate, to determine whether to proceed to a hearing on the matter.
The investigator may review all documents and materials that the investigator deems appropriate to determine whether to proceed to a hearing on the matter.
The investigator may interview the accused if considered appropriate and if the accused agrees, provided that the accused may terminate the interview at any time.
xvi. Report of Findings and Recommendations
A recommendation to proceed to a hearing shall be supported by a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the accused engaged in the Code violation alleged. Such recommendation to proceed shall be stated in a complaint. If the investigator concludes by a preponderance of the evidence that no such Code violation occurred, the investigator shall recommend that the matter be terminated. In either case, a recommendation shall be supported by documentation as to the findings.
xvii. Dean's Review of Recommendation
The Dean shall review the investigator's findings and recommendations. The Dean may accept or reject recommendations in whole or in part, and may adopt or revise a proposed complaint. The Dean may also initiate a complaint although the investigator has recommended a termination of proceedings, but the Dean must provide a statement of reasons and documentation explaining the decision to proceed.
xviii. Proceedings after Dean's Review
After review, the Dean shall advise the accused in writing of a decision to terminate proceedings or to proceed to a hearing based on a complaint. A decision to terminate is final and concludes the matter. A decision to proceed shall be accompanied by copies of the complaint, the investigator's findings and recommendations, and the documentation supporting them. The accused shall also be provided with a copy of this Code.
Unless the accused admits guilt in writing within fifteen (15) school days after receiving notice of a decision to proceed to a hearing, the Dean shall appoint a panel to hear the case. The accused, upon admission of guilt, may also demand a hearing for the sole purpose of presenting matters in mitigation.
Every hearing panel shall consist of three permanent faculty members and two students, all of the College of Law. Student members shall be appointed after consultation with the Student Bar Association. The chair shall be designated by the Dean from among the three appointed faculty members.
Notice of appointment shall be given to panel members and to the accused, with the notice designating the chair. The chair shall make arrangements for meetings, the attendance of witnesses, the reproduction of necessary documents, and the recording of proceedings.
Unless the Dean directs otherwise, the investigator shall present the case against the accused. The investigator shall also present evidence of which the investigator is aware tending to exonerate the accused. However, no accuser or potential witness may present the case.
Hearings shall be scheduled at the convenience of all participants, and upon notice to the accused. Unless the accused consents, the first hearing shall not be scheduled within ten (10) school days of the appointment of the panel.
Hearings shall not be governed by formal rules of evidence. An accused is entitled to present evidence in person, or through an attorney, or both. Paid counsel must be supplied by the accused. An accused is entitled to present witnesses and documentary evidence, to cross-examine any witnesses, and to inspect and inquire concerning any evidence. Upon request, the chair shall make every reasonable effort to secure the presence of witnesses or documentary evidence for the accused.
In exercising any of the procedural rights, an accused may address both innocence and matters in mitigation.
xx. Panel Procedure after Hearings
After a final hearing, the panel shall meet in closed session upon call of the chair to discuss and consider the case, to determine guilt or innocence, and to consider sanctions upon determination or admission of guilt. One or more sessions may be held.
The standard of proof for the panel’s finding is clear and convincing evidence. Findings of fact shall be based exclusively on evidence of record.
A vote determining guilt and a vote as to any sanction requires the concurrence of at least four members.
The panel shall submit to the Dean a written summary of its factual findings, its findings of guilt or innocence, and its recommendations as to sanctions. The panel may also recommend terms for suspension of any sanctions. This summary should be made within five (5) school days of the final hearing. The Dean shall make available to the accused a copy of the panel's factual findings, findings of guilt or innocence, and recommendations as to any sanctions, and shall allow the accused at least ten (10) calendar days in which to submit written exceptions thereto. When a case involves more than one accused student, the panel shall specify its factual findings, its findings of guilt or innocence, and its recommendations as to each accused student.
A student convicted of a violation of this code is subject to one or more of these sanctions:
- expulsion from the College of Law;
- suspension from the College of Law for a specified period of time;
- loss of privileges to participate in any non-required course, program, or activity of the College of Law;
- replacement, repair, or restitution for damaged, destroyed, or stolen property;
- written reprimand to be included in the student's permanent record;
- oral reprimand;
- disclosure by the Dean to the College of Law and Bar agencies;
- reduction in course grade;
- any other sanction deemed appropriate by the Dean or the Dean’s designee.
Disclosure to the Bar of any proceeding, regardless of the result, by the Dean or the accused student may be required by Bar rules.
xxiii. Imposition of Sanctions
A panel finding of innocence as to any charge terminates the proceedings, upon delivery of the within report to the Dean. A panel recommendation that no sanctions be imposed upon finding of guilt as to any charge terminates the procedure as to sanctions.
The Dean shall review all findings as to guilt and mitigating matters, and all recommendations to impose sanctions. Rejection by the Dean of a finding of guilt terminates the proceedings. If the Dean endorses the finding of guilt, the Dean shall consider the panel’s recommendations as to sanctions and determine which, if any, sanctions to impose.
Upon being informed of sanctions proposed by the Dean, the student may request a faculty review provided five faculty members join in the request. If faculty review is requested, the faculty by majority vote may reduce or suspend the proposed sanctions in whole or in part. Faculty review must be requested in writing within five (5) school days after a student is informed of proposed sanctions. The Dean shall impose those sanctions not reduced or suspended as a result of the faculty review.
xxiv. Informal Resolution by the Dean
Notwithstanding the above procedures, the Dean may settle any instance of an alleged code violation at any time, with the assent of the accused student.
xxv. Action Taken by Dean's Designee
Whenever this code specifies that any action is to be taken by the Dean it may be performed by the Dean’s designee, except that only the Dean or an Acting Dean designated by the University may perform the duties related to the imposition of sanctions that are specified above at Section 19(B)(x).
All actions prescribed or authorized by this code shall be accomplished as expeditiously as possible, except where the code provides otherwise or where prejudice to an accused or convicted student would result.
13. Admission Requirements
For rules, policies and procedures pertaining to applications for admission to the LL.M. program, as well as the standards by which such applications will be considered, please refer to the Admissions Rules at Pt. II, § 7 of the FSU College of Law Bylaws.