Law School Rules

Appendix B. Statements Pertaining to Academic Dishonesty; Policy on Take-Home Exams; Change of Grades

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Statements Pertaining to Academic Dishonesty

July 10, 1985


FROM: Gerald J. Thain, Associate Dean


Students should be aware that the falsification of any information concerning their academic record raises questions of moral character and judgment pertinent to bar admission. It has been known to serve as the basis for refusal of admission to the bar on grounds of inadequate moral character and to result in loss of employment when such employment was obtained, in part, on the basis of falsified academic information. In addition, falsification of state records, including university transcripts, for the purpose of identification or recommendation, is a crime under the statutes of Wisconsin and most other states.

Therefore, it is a very grave matter for a student to misrepresent pertinent facts about his or her academic performance on resumes, in job interviews, etc., both during and after law school.


Law students are expected to realize that passing off the work of others as their own constitutes plagiarism in the larger sense of that word. Such conduct is subject to the sanctions of the University of Wisconsin Student Disciplinary Code, and may result not only in a failing grade for the course involved, but other sanctions as well, including dismissal. In addition, students who engage in such activity can expect that such conduct may result in denial of admission to the bar due to the questionable moral character reflected by the conduct.


(adopted 3-1-73)

Recent incidents of alleged cheating on exams have been the topic of several informal discussions between students and faculty. These discussions suggest that many students misperceive the faculty's attitude toward violations of the rules regulating examinations and other graded written work. Lest there be any misunderstanding (and consequent misplaced reliance), let us make our position clear:

1. The rules of the University, the Law School, and a professor's supplementary directions establish obligatory rules for taking examinations, writing papers, and so on.

2. That violations of these rules--cheating--is improper and unethical, is beyond dispute, and we view such conduct as a most grave and serious offense. We shall inquire into all instances of alleged cheating, and, in accord with established procedures, forward all appropriate cases to university officials for further action. For those ultimately found guilty of cheating, we will not hesitate to recommend severe penalties, including expulsion.

To those who see take-home exams or other conditions in the Law School as factors contributing to cheating, we say this: We are open, as a faculty, to ideas for improving the Law School, and, to the best of our ability, we have given and will give them serious consideration. We unequivocally reject, however, the notion that criticisms of the educational system in any way constitute a justification for cheating.

Policy on Take-Home Exams


(adopted 4-26-73))


A. That the following be adopted as faculty policy:

1. Faculty members are free to adopt, in addition to the normal sit-down proctored exam, alternative modes of evaluation, including those involving written work performed outside of class.

2. In the latter case, serious attention must be paid to the problem of minimizing cheating. We should be particularly concerned with the possibility of cheating in the following modes of evaluation:

(a) the "take-home" exam.

(b) seminar papers which, unlike the usual seminar papers, are written on the same subject as that written on by some or all of the other students in the course.

(c) written exercises that are prepared outside of class and are on the same problem as that assigned to some or all of the other students in the course.

3. Collaboration or assistance is of course not cheating, to the extent that it has been specifically permitted by the professor -- and there will always be some restriction on such permission: e.g., no collaboration with or assistance from persons other than fellow students. Some professors will wish to require that in spite of permitted prior discussion with other students, the written product to be handed in is to be formulated by the individual student. Some may ask for a group written product.

4. The professor who utilizes a mode of evaluation listed in paragraph 2 above:

(a) shall require that the student accompany his or her written work with a written pledge that he or she complied with the rules of the course restricting collaboration or assistance;

(b) shall, if collaboration or assistance from others is to some extent permitted, make clear to the class in writing the extent of such permission;

(c) in the case of take-home exercises to be turned in during the exam period or within the week prior thereto, shall fix an answering time that may be less than, but not more than, 48 hours;

(d) is strongly urged to allow a substantial component of each student's grade to be based upon an alternative mode of evaluation, e.g., supervised oral or written performance, in class, or in the professor's office, or elsewhere. Upon adoption of this principle, the professor shall early in the course make clear the extent to which the final grade will be based on such alternative mode of evaluation.

B. That the Rules of the School be amended to make clear that no collaboration with, or assistance from, other persons is permitted on exams, papers and written exercises, except to the extent that the professor has granted permission therefore in writing.

Administrative Construction to Rule 6.01(b):

Rule 6.01(b) provides that second-and third-year students may not drop a course "after receiving the examination." The administrative construction of this Rule, as it regards take-home exams is as follows: "A second-or third-year student may drop a course graded by examination by notifying the Administrative Office of the Law School at any time [prior] to the first distributing of the examination." Once an exam is available for distribution, no one may drop the course except with permission of the Dean for reasons of illness or other serious change of circumstances.

Change of Grades



Madison, Wisconsin 53706


TO: The Faculty March 20, 1970

FROM: Spencer L. Kimball

RE: OFFICE PROCEDURE REGARDING GRADESOccasionally a request comes to the office to have a grade change made after grades have been submitted. Sometimes it occurs a substantial time afterward. After some inquiry, I understand it to be the common law of this institution, as it has been the statutory law of each other institution where I have worked, that the judgment portion of the grading process is res judicata at the point where the grades are reported to the office. I have instructed the office staff in the office that after that time, they do not have any discretion to change grades except upon a statement from the instructor, in writing for the file, that there was a purely mechanical or arithmetical error.

Any other changes in the grades will be made thereafter by the office staff only on instructions from me. If you think there is a case for reopening a grade based upon an error in judgment, please address a memorandum to that effect to me.

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