Standards of Academic Integrity

At the University of Pittsburgh, students have certain rights and responsibilities consistent with the privilege of being a member of the university and law school community. For matters that are non-academic, the Student Code of Conduct articulates the duties and obligations of students. In academic endeavors, it is the obligation of every student to make himself or herself familiar with the provisions of these standards and to comply with them. Nothing contained herein shall be construed or interpreted to conflict with the University of Pittsburgh Guidelines on Academic Integrity. These University Guidelines should also be the source of any necessary implied terms which are not expressed herein.

Student Obligations

Students have an obligation to exhibit honesty, and to respect the ethical standards of the legal profession in carrying out their academic assignments. Without limiting the application of this principle, a student may be found to have violated this obligation if he or she:

  1. Possesses materials or employs devices not authorized by the instructor during an academic evaluation;
  2. Provides assistance during an academic evaluation to another person in a manner not authorized by the instructor;
  3. Receives assistance during an academic evaluation from another person in a manner not authorized by the instructor;
  4. Possesses, buys, sells, obtains, or uses a copy of any materials intended to be used as an instrument of academic evaluation in advance of its administration;
  5. Acts as a substitute for another person in any academic evaluation process;
  6. Utilizes a substitute in any academic evaluation procedures;
  7. Practices any form of deceit in an academic evaluation proceeding;
  8. Attempts to override constraints imposed by examination software;
  9. Depends on the aid of others in a manner expressly prohibited by the instructor, in the research, preparation, creation, writing, performing, or publication of work to be submitted for academic credit or evaluation;
  10. Provides aid to another person, knowing such aid is expressly prohibited by the instructor, in the research, preparation, creation, writing, performing or publication of work to be submitted for academic credit or evaluation;
  11. Presents as one's own, for academic evaluation, the ideas, representations or words of another person or persons without customary and proper acknowledgment of sources;
  12. Submits the work of another person in a manner that represents the work to be one's own;
  13. Knowingly permits one's work to be submitted by another person without the instructor's authorization;
  14. Attempts to influence or change one's academic evaluation or record for reasons other than achievement or merit;
  15. Indulges, during a class or examination session, in conduct that is so disruptive as to infringe upon the rights of the instructor or fellow students;
  16. Fails to cooperate, if called upon, in the investigation or disposition of any allegation of dishonesty pertaining to a fellow student;
  17. Mutilates library materials or takes or sequesters library materials for his or her own benefit or to the detriment of others;
  18. Continues writing after the final warning indicator signaling the conclusion of an examination. Upon the issuance of the one-minute warning, a student shall make sure the front of the exam booklet is properly filled out. When the final announcement is given, students shall stop writing. The only time a student may make any further markings is with the express consent of the person supervising that examination;
  19. Falsifies or misrepresents academic records on an employment application made through the Law School; or
  20. Falsifies or misrepresents information or participates in the falsification or misrepresentation of information, including but not limited to LSAT scores, in any law school admissions application form or other law school disclosure form prior to or following his or her matriculation.
  21. Whether prior to or following matriculation, fails to disclose information required by any law school admissions application form or other law school disclosure form, or fails to update or correct information contained in such forms, as and when required either by such forms or by other communications from the Law School administration.
  22. Signs another student's name to an attendance sheet.

Adjudication Procedures

No student should be subject to an adverse finding that he or she committed an offense related to academic integrity and no sanction should be imposed relating thereto except in accordance with the procedures appropriate for disposition of the particular matter involved. The degree of formality of proceedings, the identity of the decision-maker or decision-makers, and other related aspects properly reflect such considerations as the severity of the potential sanction, its probable impact upon the student, and the extent to which matters of professional judgment are essential in arriving at an informed decision. In all cases, however, the objective is to provide fundamental fairness to the student as well as an orderly means for arriving at a decision, starting first with the individual instructor and then designated administrative officers or bodies.

  1. The allegation that a student has violated the standards of academic integrity may be initiated by a faculty member, student, or staff member. The allegation must be communicated to the Associate Dean, who will inform the student of the allegation. The student will be provided the opportunity to respond. Efforts will be made at this informal stage to resolve the matter in a manner acceptable to the interested parties.
  2. If the matter cannot be resolved through this informal process, a written statement of charges will then be filed with the Office of the Dean. If the Dean or his or her designee finds probable cause to believe that a student has violated a standard of academic integrity and that severe sanctions may be appropriate, he or she shall refer the matter to the Hearing Board. For this purpose, severe sanctions include expulsion, suspension or entry of a permanent notation on any record currently or prospectively available to any person outside the law school.
  3. The Hearing Board shall consist of three faculty members appointed annually by the Faculty Steering Committee and two students.
  4. Students appearing before the Hearing Board shall have the right to be accompanied and represented by an advisor of their choice during all stages of the proceedings before the Board.
  5. The Hearing Board proceeding is de novo, without reference to any matter developed previously in any informal proceeding in which disciplinary action was considered. No member of the Hearing Board who has previously participated in the particular case or who would appear as a participant before the Board itself shall sit in judgment during that particular proceeding.
  6. At least ten days prior to the Hearing Board proceeding, the student immediately involved shall be given a written statement indicating the nature and basis of the charge and the penalties that may attach thereto. Should a charge arise during an examination period, any involved student will be so notified immediately after the completion of that examination period.
  7. During the proceedings, the student shall be given an opportunity to testify and to present other evidence and witnesses relevant to the charge or the possible penalties imposed. This student shall have an opportunity to cross-examine adverse witnesses, and in no case shall the Board consider statements against the student unless he or she has been advised of their content and the names of those who gave them, and unless he or she has been given an opportunity to rebut unfavorable inferences that might otherwise be drawn.
  8. The clear and convincing standard shall be applied in the determination of any fact bearing on culpability or penalty.
  9. Decisions of the Hearing Board shall be subject to such review as provided in the University of Pittsburgh Guidelines on Academic Integrity, provided, however, that whenever the sanction of expulsion is imposed, an appeal to the full faculty is permitted as a matter of right.
  10. The Hearing Board is empowered to formulate additional procedures and policies for its own operation, subject to conformity with University Guidelines on Academic Integrity.

Faculty Obligations

Faculty obligations are governed by the University of Pittsburgh's Guidelines for Academic Integrity. A copy of these guidelines may be retrieved from the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students.


It is the responsibility of all parties, including administrative officers, to take prompt action in order that charges can be resolved quickly and fairly. Failure of the instructor to utilize these procedures diligently may constitute grounds for dismissal of charges.


The sanctions that may be imposed upon a finding that an offense related to academic integrity has been committed are the following:

  1. Dismissal from the University without expectation of readmission.
  2. Suspension from the University for a specific period of time.
  3. Dismissal from the department in which the offense occurred, and exclusion from courses offered in that department, permanently or for a stated period of time.
  4. Dismissal from the course in which the offense occurred, with or without the opportunity to be enrolled therein at a future date.
  5. Reduction in grade, or assignment of a failing grade, in the course in which the offending paper or examination was submitted.
  6. Reduction in grade, or assignment of a failing grade, on the paper or examination in which the offense occurred.

The imposition of such sanctions may be considered by the school in the preparation of any report concerning a student that will be submitted to a government agency, accrediting body, or other person or institution in accordance with the requirement of law or the consent of the student.