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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

College of Law

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Honor Code

We, the students and faculty of the University of Nebraska College of Law, desiring to prepare graduates for a profession that requires high trust, honor, and irreproachable conduct, and affirming that any dishonest means used by law students in such preparation would be incompatible with such requirements, hereby adopt this Honor Code ("Code").

The Code is largely procedural in content. Students should pay special attention to section 1.020 which describes conduct that violates the Code, and section 1.090 which discusses sanctions for violations of the Code. For this Code to be effective, it is essential that all members of the law school community accept responsibility for reporting all possible violations.

1.010 Definitions

  1. The term "Dean" as used herein means the Dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law, or any person serving as interim or acting Dean.
  2. The term "Associate Dean" as used herein means the Associate Dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law, any person serving as interim or acting Associate Dean, or, if there be no Associate Dean, then the Assistant Dean who performs the duties otherwise performed by the Associate Dean.
  3. The term "vote" as used herein means a simple majority vote, unless otherwise specified.
  4. The term "academic matter" as used in section 1.020(1) means all examinations, including practice examinations, any Law School competition, any moot court or law review competition, any written work which is a condition of membership on the Allen Moot Court Board or the Nebraska Law Review, and any other activity which in any manner affects or results in a law school grade or is in satisfaction of any other requirement for graduation.
  5. The term "academic record" as used in section 1.020(3) means law school grade point average, any grade in any law school course, membership on the Nebraska Law Review, membership on the Allen Moot Court Board, LSAT score, and any work or activity which is a requirement for graduation.
  6. The "intent" element of conduct incompatible with professional standards is satisfied if the student knows or should have known of the likely consequences of his/her conduct.
  7. Unless otherwise specified, for purposes of calculating the date by which any acts required by this Code are to be done, the term "day" as used herein means a day on which the Dean's Office is officially open.

1.020 Conduct Incompatible With Professional Standards

  1. It is a violation of this Code for any student to engage in any conduct which, with respect to any academic matter,
    1. Is intended to gain for that student or any other student an unfair advantage; or
    2. Is intended to disadvantage unfairly any other student.
  2. By way of enumeration but not by way of limitation, the following are examples of conduct that violates section 1.020(1).
    1. With respect to examinations,
      1. Intentionally possessing or appropriating or attempting to possess or appropriate any information or materials the use of which is not authorized by the Instructor;
      2. Intentionally supplying or attempting to supply to another student, during an examination, any information or materials the use of which is not authorized by the Instructor;
      3. Intentionally working on an examination other than during the authorized time period or in a room other than the ones authorized for the taking of the examination.
      4. Intentionally copying in any form questions on a controlled distribution exam.
    2. With respect to assignments, projects, examinations, papers, or competitions,
      1. Intentionally consulting or using any sources, animate or inanimate, specifically prohibited by the Instructor or by the rules of the competition.
      2. Intentionally engaging in plagiarism.
    3. With respect to the academic materials of another student, intentionally taking or destroying or attempting to take or destroy such materials without the other student's consent.
  3. Notwithstanding the "academic matter" requirement of section 1.020(1), it is a violation of this Code for any student to:
    1. Intentionally to misrepresent his/her academic record to any educational institution, potential employer, or actual employer; or
    2. Intentionally to remove or withhold Law Library materials from the library without authorization, to secret such materials in the library or elsewhere, or destroy or mutilate such materials.
  4. Notwithstanding the "academic matter" and "intent" requirements of section 1.020(1), it is a violation of this Code for any student to fail to cooperate in an Honor Code investigation or to testify at a hearing of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee when so requested by that Committee, except that this subsection shall not apply to the accused or to those who cannot comply with the request of the Committee for good cause shown. Any request to testify before the Committee must be in writing, with an explanation of the possible sanctions for failure to appear and testify. The possible sanctions for failure to cooperate in an Honor Code investigation or to testify at a hearing of the Committee are the sanctions set forth in section 1.090(2)-(4).

1.020.5 Prosecutor

  1. The Dean shall appoint a Prosecutor from the faculty. The Prosecutor's term will be for one year, from April 15 through April 14 of the following year. The faculty member so appointed shall be someone other than the Dean, the Associate Dean, or a member or alternate member of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee.
  2. If the Prosecutor has personal knowledge of any alleged violation(s) reported to him/her such that the Prosecutor may be a material witness or if the Prosecutor is otherwise unable to discharge his/her responsibilities under this Code, the Prosecutor shall be disqualified and the Dean shall appoint a temporary prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the alleged violation(s).

1.030 Student-Faculty Honor Committee - Function

  1. The principal function of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee ("Committee") is to hold hearings on alleged violations of the Honor Code, to make findings with reference thereto, and when there is a finding of a violation, to impose sanctions as authorized by this Code.

1.040 Student-Faculty Honor Committee - Composition

  1. Composition of Committee
    The Committee shall consist of three members of the faculty and two members of the student body, one member representing the second year class and one member representing the third year class.
  2. Selection
    The faculty members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Dean by and with the advice and consent of the faculty. At the same time the Dean appoints the faculty members of the Committee, the Dean shall, by and with the advice and consent of the faculty, appoint a first, second, and third alternate faculty member for the purpose of filling any temporary vacancies that may occur on the Committee. The Dean, the Associate Dean, and the Prosecutor are ineligible for appointment as members or alternate members of the Committee.

    Each student member of the Committee shall be selected by the members of his/her class pursuant to a procedure duly adopted by the Student Bar Association. At the same time the student members of the Committee are selected, a first and second alternate member representing the second year class and a first and second alternate member representing the third year class shall also be selected for the purpose of filling any temporary vacancy that may occur on the Committee. Such alternate members shall be selected pursuant to a procedure duly adopted by the Student Bar Association. No student who is on academic probation is eligible for selection as member or alternate member of the Committee.
  3. Chair
    One of the faculty members of the Committee shall be elected Chair of the Committee by a vote of the entire Committee, and will serve as such at the pleasure of the Committee.
  4. Time of Appointment and Term of Office
    1. Faculty Members
      The faculty members and alternate members of the Committee shall be selected prior to April 15 and shall hold office from April 15 through April 14 of the following year.
    2. Student Members
      The student members and alternate members of the Committee shall be selected prior to April 15 and shall hold office from April 15 through April 14 of the following year, provided that the student is not on academic probation. A student member or alternate member who is placed on academic probation at any time subsequent to his/her initial selection shall be ineligible to continue serving as a member or alternate member of the Committee.
    3. Permanent Vacancies
      If for any reason a permanent vacancy occurs during a term of office of any member or alternate member of the Committee, such vacancy shall be filled within 14 days after its occurrence pursuant to the procedure for selecting new members as set forth in section 1.040(2).
    4. Temporary Vacancies--Occurrence
      A temporary vacancy occurs when a member becomes disqualified:
      1. Upon notification to the Chair that the member has voluntarily recused herself/himself;
      2. Upon successful challenge for cause pursuant to section 1.070(2); or
      3. Upon a determination by the Chair that a member is unable or unwilling to participate in a hearing, after reasonable efforts have been made to reschedule or otherwise accommodate that member.
    5. Temporary Vacancies--How Filled
      Vacancies created on the Committee when a member becomes disqualified prior to the introduction of evidence at a hearing shall be filled temporarily as follows:
      1. If a faculty member of the Committee is disqualified, then the vacancy shall be filled by the first alternate faculty member and any subsequent vacancies that may occur shall be filled by the remaining alternate faculty members in sequential order.
      2. If a student member of the Committee is disqualified, then the vacancy shall be filled by the first alternate student member representing the class of the disqualified Committee member and any subsequent vacancy shall be filled by the second alternate member representing that class.
      3. If the Chair becomes disqualified, a temporary Chairperson shall be elected for the particular case by the newly constituted Committee.

        Any alternate member who fills a temporary vacancy shall serve only during the particular case in which the temporary vacancy occurs.
    6. Temporary Vacancies--When Not Filled
      Any temporary vacancies that occur subsequent to the introduction of any evidence at the hearing shall not be filled and the case shall be heard and resolved by the remaining members of the Committee. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if three or more temporary vacancies occur during the course of the hearing, the hearing shall be terminated, the temporary vacancies filled, and a new hearing commenced before the reconstituted Committee.

1.050 Procedure and Functioning of the Committee

  1. Reports and Functioning of the Committee
    Alleged violations of the Code may be reported to the Associate Dean or to any member of the Committee. Upon receipt of any such report, the Associate Dean or Committee member shall promptly report the alleged violation(s) to the Prosecutor.
  2. Statute of Limitations
    The Prosecutor shall not initiate proceedings on an alleged exam violation that occurred more than six months prior to the report of the alleged violation or on any other type of violation that occurred more than one year prior to the report of the alleged violation.
  3. Action on Report of Violations
    Upon receipt of alleged violations of the Code, the Prosecutor shall promptly:
    1. Notify the Dean, giving the nature and description of the allegations; and
    2. Conduct an Initial Investigation in accordance with section 1.050(4).
  4. Conduct of Initial Investigation
    The purpose of the Initial Investigation is to determine if sufficient cause exists for a full hearing of the matter before the Committee. In conducting the Initial Investigation, the Prosecutor may take statements from persons involved and collect physical evidence as required. The Prosecutor shall not question the accused or otherwise discuss the circumstances of the alleged violation(s) with the accused without first informing the accused of the charges, including the time and place of the alleged violation(s), that the Prosecutor is conducting an investigation, that the accused has the right to remain silent, that any statement made by him/her may be used against him/her in any proceedings, that the accused has the right to counsel in all phases of the proceedings, and that the Prosecutor will conduct a prompt investigation into the alleged violation(s). The Prosecutor shall prepare a written report of the Initial Investigation, with a recommendation for future proceedings, and forward the same to the Associate Dean no later than 20 days after the alleged violation(s) was first reported to the Associate Dean or to a Committee member. Prior to the expiration of the initial 20 day period, the Prosecutor may request, and may receive at the discretion of the Associate Dean, an additional 20 days in which to prepare the Initial Investigation report. The report shall contain, at a minimum, a synopsis of the investigation, with summaries of witness statements and a description of any physical evidence, and a recommendation for future action.
  5. Action on Initial Investigation
    Upon receipt of the report of the Initial Investigation, the Associate Dean shall determine if sufficient cause exists to refer the matter to a full hearing before the Committee. In no case shall the sufficiency of cause determination be made later than 10 days after receipt of the report of the Initial Investigation. If the Associate Dean determines that sufficient cause exists on any allegation, the Associate Dean shall schedule a hearing before the Committee within a reasonable time of the determination of sufficient cause. If the Associate Dean determines that sufficient cause does not exist as to any alleged violations, no further action shall be taken on those alleged violations other than providing notice to the accused as described below.
    1. If the Associate Dean determines that sufficient cause exists to refer the matter to the full Committee, the accused shall be so notified in writing and the notice shall include (i) through (ix) below. If the Associate Dean determines that sufficient cause does not exist to refer the matter to the full Committee, the accused shall be so notified in writing and the notice shall include (i) through (iii) below.
      1. A description of the alleged violations.
      2. A statement of the date, time and place of the alleged violation(s).
      3. A statement that sufficiency of cause to submit the matter to a full hearing before the Committee pursuant to section 1.050(4) exists or does not exist.
      4. A statement of the date, time and place of the hearing before the full Committee.
      5. A statement that the Initial Investigation and the determination of sufficiency of cause have been completed within the time limits specified in this section.
      6. A statement of the date when each of the following occurred:
        1. Allegation(s) first reported;
        2. Prosecutor's request of additional time to prepare the Initial Investigation, if any;
        3. Prosecutor's Initial Investigation delivered to the Associate Dean; and
        4. Associate Dean's determination of sufficiency of cause to recommend a hearing before the full Committee.
      7. The names of witnesses who are likely to be called to testify against the accused.
      8. A copy of the Initial Investigation Report.
      9. A copy of this Code.
    2. The notice required by section 1.050(5)(A) shall be served upon the accused personally or by certified mail addressed to the accused at his/her current address, or if that address is unknown, then to the last recorded address of the accused as found in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln administrative records. Proof of service shall be made by certified mail return receipt (with or without accused's signature) or by an affidavit of personal service. Any such receipt or affidavit shall be retained and made a part of the proceeding's record.
      1. All references to service in subsections (C) and (D) herein refer to service of the notice required by section 1.050(5)(A).
    3. Subject to the provisions of subsection (D) herein, the hearing shall commence no sooner than 10 calendar days and no later than 90 calendar days after service is effected. For purposes of this Code, certified mail service is deemed effected on the date of receipt as indicated by the mail return receipt.
    4. After service is effected, either the Prosecutor or the accused may make a written request to the Committee Chair that the scheduled date for commencement of the hearing be rescheduled to a date certain. The Chair shall grant the request only upon a showing of good cause and shall promptly notify both parties of the rescheduled date for commencement of the hearing. The Chair shall not reschedule the hearing to commence later than 90 calendar days after service is effected, except that, upon a showing of good cause by the accused, the Chair may reschedule the hearing to begin later than 90 calendar days after service is effected.
  6. Effect of Failure to Meet Deadlines The failure to comply with the time requirements of this section shall preclude the Committee or the Dean from imposing any sanction which results in the suspension or dismissal of the accused.
  7. Disqualification of the Associate Dean If the Associate Dean has personal knowledge of the alleged violation(s) that are the subject of the investigation such that the Associate Dean may be a material witness or if the Associate Dean is otherwise unable to discharge his/her responsibilities under this Code, the Associate Dean shall disqualify himself/herself and the Dean shall appoint a member of the faculty to perform the duties regarding the alleged violation(s) that this Code places on the Associate Dean. The faculty member so appointed shall be someone other than the Prosecutor or a member or alternate member of the Committee.

1.060 Procedure C Hearings In General

  1. Rights of Accused upon Hearing
    The accused shall have the right:
    1. to be present at the hearing with an advisor or legal counsel if desired;
    2. to have the full membership of the Committee present subject to the provisions of section 1.040(4)(F);
    3. to hear or examine evidence presented to the Committee;
    4. to question witnesses testifying at the hearing;
    5. to present evidence whether oral or documentary;
    6. to make opening and closing statements;
    7. to be informed in writing of the findings of the Committee and any sanctions imposed;
    8. to appeal the Committee's decision as hereinafter provided in section 1.080; and
    9. to challenge for cause any member of the Committee.
  2. Powers of the Prosecutor
    The Prosecutor shall be present at the hearing and shall have the power to call witnesses and present evidence against the accused; to cross-examine witnesses called by the accused; to make opening and closing statements; and to challenge for cause any member of the Committee. Like the accused, the Prosecutor has the right, subject to the provisions of section 1.040(4)(F), to have the full membership of the Committee present and to be informed in writing of the Committee's findings and any sanctions imposed. The Prosecutor also has the right to discuss and, with the approval of the Committee, enter into a negotiated settlement with the accused of any alleged violation(s).

1.070 Procedure C Hearings

  1. Conduct of Hearing
    The Chair shall preside at the hearing, call the hearing to order, call the roll of the Committee in attendance, and ascertain the presence or absence of the accused. At the commencement of the hearing, the Chair shall read the notice of hearing and the charges against the accused, establish the presence of any advisor or counsel of the accused, call to the attention of the accused and his/her advisor or counsel any special procedures to be employed during the hearing, and rule on questions of evidence or objections by either side. Any objections to the procedure already followed or to be followed shall be made at this time for consideration by the Committee.

    If the accused is absent from the hearing, the hearing shall not continue without proof, presented by the Prosecutor, that the accused has been properly served pursuant to section 1.050(5)(B).
  2. Disqualification of Committee Members
    Any member of the Committee may disqualify himself/herself from hearing any alleged violation. The accused and the Prosecutor shall also have the right to challenge members of the Committee for cause prior to the introduction of evidence at the hearing. Such challenges, if any, shall be ruled on by the Chair subject to objection by a Committee member. If a Committee member objects to the Chair's ruling, the challenge shall be decided by a vote of the Committee members other than the challenged member. However, if the Chair is challenged for cause, such challenge shall be decided by a vote of the remaining Committee members.
  3. Continuances
    If it appears that essential testimony is unavailable or for other good cause the hearing should be deferred, the Committee may continue or recess the hearing to a time certain.
  4. Opening Statement
    The Prosecutor shall make an opening statement outlining the general nature of the case and shall then present the evidence against the accused. If the accused elects to make an opening statement at the conclusion of the Prosecutor's opening statement, however, the Prosecutor shall not present evidence until the conclusion of the accused's opening statement.
  5. Accused's Opening Statement
    The accused or his/her advisor or counsel may make an opening statement to the Committee about the charge. At the option of the accused, such statement may be made following the opening statement of the Prosecutor or at the conclusion of the Prosecutor's presentation of evidence against the accused.
  6. Accused's Evidence
    At the conclusion of the Prosecutor's presentation of evidence, the accused may present his/her evidence.
  7. Witnesses
    A party may call any person to testify as a witness, provided the opposing party was given notice of the identify of the witness as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances. Notwithstanding the foregoing, neither party may call the Prosecutor or any member of the Committee as a witness and the Prosecutor may not call the accused to testify as a witness.
  8. Evidence
    The formal rules of evidence do not apply, and the Committee may admit relevant evidence which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs.
  9. Closing Statements
    At the conclusion of all the evidence, the Prosecutor may make a closing statement and, following the Prosecutor's closing statement, if any, the accused or his/her advisor or counsel may make a closing statement.
  10. Determination by Committee
    At the conclusion of the closing statements, the Committee shall promptly deliberate and make its findings and determinations in executive session. If four-fifths or more of the Committee members find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the accused has committed the violation(s) charged, the Committee shall impose one or more of the sanctions provided in section 1.090.
  11. Official Report of Findings and Determination
    The Committee shall prepare its findings and determinations in writing and transmit them to the Dean, the Prosecutor, and the accused within 10 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing.
  12. Powers of the Committee
    The Committee has the power to question witnesses at any time; to call additional witnesses or require additional investigation; to dismiss any charge at any time; to remove any person from the hearing who unreasonably interferes with or obstructs the hearing; and to make any rulings necessary to conduct the hearing.
  13. Other Procedural Questions
    Procedural questions not covered by these general rules which arise during the hearing shall be determined by the Chair; however, the Chair shall submit the question to a vote of the Committee at the request of any member of the Committee.
  14. Record
    The record shall consist of (1) a complete electronic audio-video or audio only taping of the proceedings and (2) all documents or other items introduced and accepted into evidence. The Committee may require that a transcript of the hearing be prepared. The record shall not include the deliberations of the Committee. The record shall be made available to the accused within a reasonable time after its compilation. Except as otherwise provided herein, the record shall remain confidential and be maintained as a permanent law school record.

1.080 Procedures - Appeal

  1. Right to Appeal
    A student found guilty of violating this Code may appeal the decision of the Committee to the Dean by filing a written notice of appeal with the Dean no later than ten calendar days after the Committee issues its written decision. The failure to file a notice of appeal within the proscribed time period waives any right to appeal.

    The standard of review on appeal is as follows.
    1. Findings of fact by the Committee shall be binding unless clearly erroneous.
    2. Sanctions imposed or recommended by the Committee shall be accepted unless clearly inappropriate. If the sanction imposed or recommended is found to be clearly inappropriate, the Dean shall impose an appropriate sanction. In no case may the Dean impose a more severe sanction than the sanction imposed by the Committee.
    3. Questions of law or procedure shall be determined de novo.
  2. Status During Appeal
    In cases where the sanctions imposed involve dismissal or suspension from the College of Law and where a notice of appeal is filed within the proscribed time, the appellant may petition the Dean in writing for permission to continue in school pending final resolution of the appeal. The Dean may permit, upon such conditions as he/she may impose, the appellant to continue in school pending resolution of the appeal, provided that such continuance will not seriously disrupt the College of Law or the University community. However, any other sanctions imposed shall be effective from the date of the action of the Committee.
  3. Disposition of Appeal
    No later than 15 calendar days after the notice of appeal is filed, the Dean shall prepare a written ruling and that ruling shall be made available to both the appellant and Prosecutor.
  4. Disqualification of the Dean
    The Dean, either on his/her own initiative or upon motion by a party to the appeal, shall disqualify himself/herself when:
    1. The Dean is a complaining or material witness to the violation(s) or alleged violation(s) that were the subject of the hearing before the Committee; or,
    2. The Dean possesses information outside the record that would impair his/her ability to act as an impartial appellate decision-maker.
  5. Appeal When Dean Is Disqualified If the Dean disqualifies himself/herself, the Dean shall notify both the Prosecutor and the appellant of his/her decision to disqualify himself/herself and forward the record to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs ("Vice-Chancellor") for review. No later than 15 days after transmission of the record, the Vice-Chancellor shall prepare a written ruling and that ruling shall be made available to both the Prosecutor and the appellant.

1.090 Sanctions

Where the Committee finds that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, one or more of the following sanctions may be imposed:

  1. Dismissal
    Dismissal from the College of Law.
  2. Suspension
    Suspension from the College of Law for a definite period of time or until a specified future date, with a statement of whether suspension relates back to the time of the offense, begins at the time of decision, or begins at a specified future date. Following completion of the suspension, the suspended student may return to the College of Law without petitioning the faculty for readmission.
  3. Probation
    Disciplinary probation, subject to any condition(s), which in the judgment of the Committee would be appropriate for the act committed.
  4. Reprimand or Admonition
    Written or oral reprimand or admonition.
  5. Status Outside the College of Law
    The above sanctions apply only to the status of the accused at the College of Law.

1.100 Confidential Nature of Proceedings

  1. Forum
    At the preference of the accused, a formal hearing under the Code may be held in public or in private. If the accused fails to express a preference, the hearing shall be held in public.
  2. Confidentiality
    All proceedings under the Code shall be conducted in a manner reasonably calculated to ensure confidentiality, subject to the provisions of subsections (1), (3), and (4) herein.
  3. Academic Records
    The Committee shall specify as a part of the sanctions whether the sanctions and basis for those sanctions shall appear on the accused's academic transcript.
  4. Public Report of Findings
    On motion by either the accused or the Prosecutor and after affording both parties the opportunity to be heard on the motion, the Committee may order that an appropriate report of its findings, with or without the accused's name, be posted in a public place in the College of Law.

1.110 Amendments

  1. Amendments to the Code may be proposed by a petition of fifteen percent of the student body, or by the faculty. All amendments must be approved by a majority of the faculty and by a majority of the student body as provided below.
  2. A proposed Amendment may not be submitted to the student body for an official vote until it is first approved by a vote of the faculty.
  3. A proposed Amendment shall be adopted if at the official vote:
    1. at least one half of the members of the student body vote at such election, and
    2. at least one half of the members voting shall vote in favor of the proposed Amendment.

1.120 Effective Date

  1. This Code shall take effect on the first day of regularly scheduled classes of the Fall 1988 semester. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1.020.5(1), the Prosecutor for the 1988-89 academic year shall be selected on or before September 1, 1988 and shall hold office from September 1, 1988 through April 14, 1989. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1.040(4), the student and faculty members and alternate members of the Committee for the 1988-89 academic year shall be selected on or before September 1, 1988 and shall hold office from September 1, 1989 through April 14, 1989.
  2. All previous codes of student discipline, conduct, or honor are hereby repealed effective the first day of regularly scheduled classes of the Fall 1988 semester.
  3. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if any proceedings are instituted on or after the effective date of this Code for alleged violations that occurred prior to the effective date of this Code, such proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Code except that sections 4-9 of the Code of Student Discipline (adopted March 10, 1969) rather than section 1.020 of this Code shall apply.

Adopted by the Students and Faculty
of the University of Nebraska College of Law
May 9, 1988

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