In deciding whether to impose a sanction and, if so, what sanction to impose, the ADS will endeavor to treat comparably situated students similarly. In doing so, it will consider the following as aggravating and mitigating factors:
Factors In Aggravation
Factors In Mitigation
2.1 Education. Educate students and other interested parties of disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process.
2.2 Consultation. Consult with interested parties concerning the content of Law Center forms and publications discussing the disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process.
2.3 Adjudication. Hear and resolve cases in which either students supplement their applications to the Law Center or are reported to the Law Center by the Board of Law Examiners for an apparent failure to comply with the disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process, and determine what sanctions, if any, are warranted under the circumstances.
3. Pre-Hearing Procedures.
3.1 Self-Reported Students. Students who self-report an apparent failure to comply with the disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process will have their cases considered by the ADS. Initially, the ADS will meet and determine whether it is inclined to impose any sanction on the student involved or if it needs additional information from the student or others in order to make that determination.
3.1.a Where No Sanction Found Warranted. If the ADS determines that it has sufficient information to proceed and that no sanction is warranted, it shall so advise the student, without holding a hearing.
3.1.b Where Additional Information Needed. If the ADS determines that additional information is needed before making a determination, it shall so inform the student and provide a copy of these procedures to him or her. Upon receipt of the information involved, the ADS shall meet and decide whether to proceed in accordance with section 3.1.a or 3.1.c.
3.1.c All Other Cases. If the ADS believes that a sanction might be appropriate, or if a request for additional information from the ADS is not responded to in a complete and timely manner, the ADS shall hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of these Procedures.
3.2 Board of Law Examiners-Reported Students. Students who are reported to the Law Center by the Board of Law Examiners for an apparent failure to comply with the disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process before that student has self-reported concerning that apparent failure, will be advised of the Law Center's receipt of the communication as well as its contents and invited to submit any written explanation that they care to concerning the issue within ten working days. As soon as practicable after receipt of that explanation, or upon the expiration of the ten working-day period if no explanation is received, the ADS shall hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of these Procedures, unless it determines that a hearing can be dispensed with under the standards set out in section 3.1.a. For purposes of this provision, a student who self-reports some matters but not others will be considered as being subject to this section.
3.3 Students who are reported by a third party other than the BLE shall be treated under procedures set out in 3.2.
4. Hearing Procedures. Hearings before the ADS are informal. Students should assume that members of the ADS will have reviewed their file prior to the hearing, and be prepared to answer any questions that members may have as a result of that review. Students will be given an opportunity to make a final statement to the ADS should they so desire.
5. Effect Of Application Instructions. Students who establish that they did not disclose a particular matter because they were advised reasonably and in good faith that they did not have to do so in the Law Center's application instructions will not be sanctioned for their nondisclosure. However, students who wish to offer such a defense are expected to provide proof at the hearing of all of the prerequisites for nondisclosure contained in those instructions. The ADS is not required to accept a student's undocumented defense of this kind as valid.
6. Sanctions. Upon completion of a hearing, the ADS shall deliberate on what sanction, if any, to impose. A student should not expect to be advised of that outcome at the hearing itself. The factors that the ADS will consider in arriving at a sanction are set out in Appendix 1 to these procedures. All students shall provide the ADS with a means of notifying them of the ADS's decision. Sanctions should be proportional, and may range in severity : in some instances, additional coursework in Ethics or Clinical Practice has been required, while in other instances student graduation was delayed while the sanction was in force. In the most severe cases, such as instances where the student would likely not have been admitted had the matters been fully disclosed, admissions may be rescinded.
7. Review Of ADS Decision. Review of decisions of the ADS may be had in accordance with the procedures set out below.
7.1 When ADS Decision Is Final. All decisions of the ADS are final unless appealed within five working days of the issuance of that decision in accordance with section 7.2.
7.2 Appeal To The Associate Dean of Student Life. A student may appeal any aspect of a decision of the ADS to the Associate Dean of the Law Center by doing so in writing within five working days of issuance of the ADS's decision and providing a copy of that appeal to the ADS. The ADS may, but need not, provide a response to that appeal on its own initiative. If it chooses to do so, it shall notify the Associate Dean and the appealing student of that fact and provide its response to each as soon as practicable.
7.3 Associate Dean Review. The Dean of the Law Center has delegated the appeals process to the Associate Dean of Student Life. The Associate Dean may request a further explanation of the ADS's decision, which the ADS will provide promptly. The Associate Dean may affirm, modify or reverse the ADS's decision, or remand the matter to the ADS for further proceedings. A decision of the Associate Dean to affirm, modify or reverse a decision of the ADS is final.
7.4 Further Proceedings If Necessary. The decision of the Associate Dean is final in all cases except where the matter is remanded to the ADS. In such cases, the ADS shall conduct such further deliberations or proceedings as are appropriate in light of the concerns expressed by the Associate Dean, after which the student shall be advised of the ADS's decision. A student has a right to appeal this revised decision to the Associate Dean in accordance with sections 7.2 and 7.3. The Associate Dean may either affirm, modify or reverse the ADS's revised decision. The decision of the Associate Dean in any of those respects is final.
8. Confidentiality Of ADS Proceedings. Proceedings before the ADS are confidential. No information concerning the charges involving a student, evidence introduced or matters revealed or discussed at or in connection with a hearing before the ADS or an appeal to the Associate Dean, or decision(s) reached by the ADS or by the Associate Dean, shall be disclosed except as provided in sections 8.1, 8.2 or 8.3 below.
8.1 Access To Board Of Law Examiners. All written communications to the Law Center from a student or from the Board of Law Examiners concerning the student's apparent failure to comply with the disclosure obligations imposed on students by the Law Center's application process, any final decision of the ADS under sections 3.1.a, 6, or 7.1 or of the Associate Dean under sections 7.3 or 7.4, and any other documents that the student involved requests be included, will be placed in a student's permanent file and made available to the Board of Law Examiners.
8.2 Response To Disclosures By Or On Behalf Of Student. If a student or a student's representative chooses to disclose information otherwise protected as confidential by section 8, whether directly or indirectly, other than in connection with the hearing and appellate review processes set out in these procedures, the ADS or the Associate Dean may make such other and further disclosures of that information as are reasonably necessary to a fair presentation of the issues involved.
8.3 Disclosure Ordered By Competent Tribunal. The ADS may make such disclosures of confidential information as are ordered by a tribunal that is competent to issue the order involved, or when advised by counsel that a particular disclosure is required by law.
9. Expungement. Under Texas law, certain criminal or civil matters may be expunged from public records. Applicants or students need not disclose any matters that have been expunged; the ADS may not sanction any student for offenses that have been expunged under a state statute. However, the ADS may request assurances that the matter has indeed been expunged, should there be legitimate reason to do so, e.g., there is an official record that shows a matter that was not expunged that the applicant or student thought had been expunged. The ADS is not required to accept a student’s undocumented defense of this kind as valid. Misrepresentations of expungements may themselves give rise to sanctions.
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