Skip to Content

My Law School

Section VI - Student Petition

All student petitions shall be filed by letter with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or their delegate. In emergency circumstances the student may petition by telephone. Petitions should contain the information set forth below.

 

A. Readmission after Academic Dismissal.

    1. A readmission petition shall include the following
      1. An explanation of the reasons for the student's lack of success in law school;

      2. What the student plans to do to remedy these problems; and

      3. If the student is seeking a waiver of the waiting period (§3 below), an explanation of the hardship that would occur if the student were required to comply with the waiting period.
    2. In passing on petitions for readmission, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall consider the student's aptitude for the practice of law as reflected in the student's entire record. The Associate Dean shall not grant a petition for readmission unless the Dean finds that there is a high probability that the student will succeed on readmission

    3. Unless waived by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs because of financial or personal hardship, petitions for readmission will not be granted until the student has complied with the following waiting periods: In the case of students dismissed at the end of the first year, the waiting period is two semesters. For other students, the waiting period is one semester.
    1. A student who discontinues their legal education without approval of a petition for withdrawal shall be treated as being dismissed because of failure to meet academic requirements. Failure to seek permission for withdrawal shall be a negative factor in any petition for readmission.
    1. The Academic Responsibility Committee has authority to consider appeals of decisions of the Associate Dean to deny petitions for readmission, and to consider petitions from students who have been twice dismissed for failure to meet academic requirements. For the purposes of this subsection, dismissal or suspension as a result of a violation of the Rules of Academic Responsibility should be considered as a failure to meet academic requirements.

 

 

B.       Petitions to Academic Responsibility Committee Concerning Readmissions After Academic Dismissal.

 

  1. Petition for Review of Decision of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to Deny Readmission
    1.  General. A student whose petition for readmission was denied by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs denying readmission may petition the Academic Responsibility Committee for review of that decision. The Committee may affirm the decision of the Associate Dean or it may reverse and remand that decision upon a conclusion that the decision was clearly erroneous. Decisions of the Committee are final and not reviewable.

    2. Filing of Petition. Not more than 7calendar days after receipt of notification that the Associate Dean has denied a student’s petition for readmission, the student may petition the Committee for review of that denial by letter addressed to the Chair of the Committee and delivered to the Associate Dean by mail, personally, or electronically. The Associate Dean will promptly transmit the petition to the Chair of the Committee.

    3. Contents of Petition. A petition for review of a decision of the Associate Dean denying readmission must contain, at a minimum, the following information in the text of the petition or as attached exhibits:
      1. A copy of the student’s petition to the Associate Dean for readmission;

      2. A copy of the decision of the Associate Dean to deny readmission;

      3. A statement of the reasons whereby the student asserts that the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous;

      4. A statement of the relief the student requests the Committee to grant;

      5. A copy of the student’s transcript or a report of the student’s grades;

      6. A copy of any correspondence between the student and any member of the faculty or administrative staff concerning the student’s dismissal or readmission;

      7. A description of the efforts the student made to identify, address, and eliminate the reasons for the student’s lack of academic success prior to dismissal;

      8. If the student has received medical or mental health services to address reasons for the student’s lack of academic success, a written statement from the professional(s) providing such services, addressing improvements in the student’s condition, the student’s ability to address future academic challenges, and recommended continued treatment;

      9. If the student has received academic assistance, a statement from the person(s) providing such assistance describing the student’s efforts to improve academic performance and identifying recommendations for future academic assistance; and

      10. Any other information the student believes would support the relief requested in the petition.
    4. Additional Information. The Committee may require the student to supplement the petition with such information as the Committee considers pertinent for its decision. The Committee may also request information from members of the faculty or administrative staff who have knowledge of the student’s academic performance; the Committee will provide the student with any information it receives in response to such requests.

    5. Veracity of Statements. The student’s submission of information, whether in the student’s petition or in response to the Committee’s request, constitutes an assertion that the information is true and accurate. Submission of a false statement or omission of a material fact necessary to avoid a misrepresentation of the truth will be considered “lying” under the Honor Code.

    6. Review and Disposition. The Committee will review the student’s petition as timely as practicable. The Committee’s decision to grant the relief sought by a student will constitute a finding that there is a high probability of the student’s success upon readmission. The Committee may recommend that the Associate Dean impose terms and conditions on the student’s readmission in addition to those expressly required by VI. A.5. In such written form as the Committee deems appropriate, it will notify the Associate Dean of its decision and request the Associate Dean to communicate its decision to the student and to take such action as is consistent with its decision.
  2. Petition to Academic Responsibility Committee for Readmission after Second Academic Dismissal
    1. General. A student who has been twice dismissed for failure to meet academic requirements may petition the Academic Responsibility Committee for readmission. The Committee may grant the petition, deny the petition, or grant the petition with conditions. Decisions of the Committee are final and not reviewable.

    2. Filing of the Petition. Not less than 30 days prior to the semester for which a student seeks second readmission, the student may petition the Committee for readmission by letter addressed to the Chair of Committee and delivered to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  by mail, personally, or electronically. The Associate Dean will promptly transmit the petition to the Chair of the Committee.

    3. Contents of Petition. A petition for second readmission must contain, at a minimum, the following information in the text of the petition or as attached exhibits:
      1. A copy of the student’s transcript or a report of the student’s grades;

      2. A copy of all correspondence between the student and any member of the faculty or administrative staff concerning the student’s previous dismissals and first readmission;

      3.   A statement of the relief the student requests the Committee to grant;

      4. A detailed explanation of the reasons for the student’s lack of academic success prior to the dismissals;

      5. detailed description of the student’s efforts to identify, address, and eliminate the reasons for the lack of academic success and why such efforts were unsuccessful;

      6. The student’s plans for addressing and overcoming the reasons for the lack of academic success if readmitted;

      7. If the student has received medical or mental health services to address reasons for the student’s lack of academic success, the petition should include a written statement from the professional(s) providing such services, addressing improvements in the student’s condition, the student’s ability to address future academic challenges, and recommended future treatment;

      8. If the student has received academic assistance, the petition should include a statement from the person(s) providing such assistance describing the student’s efforts to improve academic performance and identifying recommendations for future academic assistance; and

      9. Any other information the student believes would support the relief requested in the petition.
    4. Additional Information. The Committee may require the student to supplement the petition with such information as the Committee considers pertinent for its decision. The Committee may also request information from members of the faculty and administrative staff who have knowledge of the student’s performance; the Committee will provide the student with any such information it receives and allow the student to amend the petition in response to such information.

    5. Veracity of Statements. The student’s submission of information, whether in the student’s petition or in response to the Committee’s request, constitutes an assertion that the information is true and accurate. Submission of a false statement or the omission of a material fact necessary to avoid a misrepresentation of the truth will be considered “lying” under the Honor Code.

    6. Review and Disposition. The Committee will review the student’s petition as timely as practicable. In its review of a petition for second readmission, the Committee will consider the student’s aptitude for the practice of law, as reflected in the student’s complete record. The Committee’s decision to grant the relief sought by a student will constitute a finding that there is a high probability of the student’s success upon readmission. The Committee may recommend that the Associate Dean impose terms and conditions on the student’s second readmission in addition to those expressly required by VI. A.5. In such written form as the Committee deems appropriate, it will notify the Associate Dean of its decision and request the Associate Dean to communicate its decision to the student and to take such action as is consistent with its decision.

C.      Academic Forgiveness.

A student readmitted as a first year student may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for academic forgiveness. Once academic forgiveness has been granted, the following apply to the student’s academic record:

    1. All curriculum requirements will be in accordance with those in force at the time of or subsequent to the student’s readmission.
    1. The student’s grade point average is recalculated beginning with the semester in which the student was readmitted to the University.
    1. Courses in which the student received a passing grade prior to readmission and the granting of academic forgiveness may, at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, be used for academic credit, and in recalculating GPA.
    1. The following statement shall appear on the official academic record of any student granted academic forgiveness: “This student was granted academic forgiveness under the University of South Carolina School of Law Academic Forgiveness Program. No courses taken at the Law School prior to (date of readmission) are used to meet degree requirements or in the calculation of the GPA. Introduction to the Legal Profession may be used to meet degree requirements if successfully completed.”
    1. The following statement shall appear on any unofficial academic record such as a grade sheet of any student granted academic forgiveness: “I was granted academic forgiveness under the University of South Carolina School of Law Academic Forgiveness Program. No courses taken at the Law School prior to (date of readmission) are used to meet degree requirements or in the calculation of the GPA. Introduction to the Legal Profession may be used to meet degree requirements if successfully completed.

 

D.        Withdrawal from Law School.

  

    1. A petition for withdrawal shall contain the following:
      1. The reasons why the student wishes to withdraw. If the withdrawal is sought because of medical reasons, the student should be prepared to present documentation of the medical problem on request of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

      2. A statement of when the student would like to return to law school, if the student intends to do so.
    1. Petitions for withdrawal shall be granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs if the Dean finds that bona fide medical or personal circumstances have developed that make continuation of the student's education at this time difficult.
    1. A student who discontinues their legal education without approval of a petition for withdrawal shall be treated as being dismissed because of failure to meet academic requirements. Failure to seek permission for withdrawal shall be a negative factor in any petition for readmission.
    1. Appeals from decisions of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs concerning petitions for withdrawal may be taken to the Admissions Committee. The standard of review is whether the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous.

Note on One Semester Leave of Absence: After the completion of the first year of Law School, any student in good academic standing may elect to take a leave of absence for no longer than one semester, provided that the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is notified of this in writing. To return to the law school, the student must submit a petition for readmission to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The election to take a semester's leave must be exercised and the Associate Dean notified prior to the day that is designated, for that semester, the official "last day to drop without penalty." Any student who registers and then withdraws pursuant to this rule shall be entitled to the return portion of tuition as may be permitted by the regulations of the University of South Carolina.

 

 E.  Readmission after Withdrawal

 

    1. A petition for readmission after withdrawal shall contain an explanation by the student of how the circumstances that lead to the student's withdrawal have changed
    1. Petitions for readmission after withdrawal shall be granted if the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs finds that the circumstances leading to withdrawal have been alleviated so that the student's education can continue.
    1. Appeals from decisions of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairsconcerning petitions for readmission after withdrawal may be taken to the Admissions Committee. The standard of review is whether the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous.

F.        Postponement of Examinations and Papers.

 

    1. Petitions for postponement of examinations shall contain the following:

      1. A list of the examinations that the student wishes to have postponed;

      2. The reasons why the student is seeking postponement. If the postponement is sought because of medical reasons, the student should be prepared to present documentation of the medical problem on request.

      3. The period of time for which the student is seeking postponement.
    1. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may grant examination postponements for good cause, such as some physical or emotional problem that has made preparation for or taking of the examination extremely difficult. However, the Associate Dean will not grant permission for a student to take an exam prior to the start of the exam period.  The fact that a student has several examinations in sequence does not justify examination postponement. No examination postponement will be granted for a student who has already missed an examination unless the student can demonstrate that it was physically impossible for the student to seek advance approval of an examination postponement.
    1. Makeup examinations shall be scheduled on the day designated as a make-up day on the examination schedule or on another day by mutual agreement of the professor, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the student.
    1. There is no appeal from a decision denying postponement of examinations.

Note on Postponement of Papers: Postponement of the due dates of papers may be made by individual professors without the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Provided, however, the due date for any paper submitted to satisfy the Writing Requirement may not be postponed beyond the date for completion of the Writing Requirement without the approval of the Associate Dean and the professor to whom the paper will be submitted. For May graduates the paper must be submitted in final form to the faculty member by January 15. For December graduates, the paper must be submitted by September 1.

 

 G.        Waiver of Graduation Requirements.

    1.  Petitions for waiver of graduation requirements shall state:

      1. The requirement for which waiver is sought.

      2. The reasons why the student failed to comply with the requirement

      3. Why failure to grant the waiver would work a hardship on the student
    1. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may grant a waiver of a graduation requirement if the Associate Dean finds that there is good cause for the waiver, that compliance with the requirement would work a hardship on the student, and that granting the waiver would not seriously undermine any academic policies of the Law School.
    1. Appeals from decisions of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs dealing with petitions for waiver of graduation requirements may be taken to the Curriculum Committee. The standard of review is whether the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous.

 

H.        Waiver of the 10% Attendance Requirement.

 

Waiver of the 10% Attendance Requirement

    1. Petition to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for Waiver of Attendance Requirement
      1.   General. A student who was absent for more than 10% but not more than 30% of the classes in a course may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for waiver of the 10% attendance requirement.

      2. Filing of Petition. A petition for waiver of the attendance requirement must be received by the Associate Dean prior to the beginning of the final exam period in the semester for which the student seeks a waiver of the attendance requirement.

      3. Contents of Petition. A student seeking waiver of the attendance requirement may use the “Application for Waiver of Class Attendance Requirement” found on the Law Registrar’s webpage. Should the student choose to submit a petition in a different form, such petition must include information substantially equivalent to the information in the “Application.”

      4. Veracity of Statements. The student’s submission of the petition in any form constitutes an assertion that all information it includes is true and accurate. Submission of a false statement or omission of a material fact necessary to avoid a misrepresentation of the truth will be considered “lying” under the Honor Code.

      5. Review and Disposition. In review of the merits of the student’s petition, the Associate Dean will balance the necessity for maintenance of high academic standards with fairness to the student. The Associate Dean may consider the total number of absences, whether a substantial majority of the absences were the result of illness, personal or family problems, out-of-town job interviews, or out-of-town law school related activities, such as moot court, and whether the student has otherwise made a good faith effort to minimize the total number of absences. The Associate Dean may grant or deny the waiver requested in the petition. In the event that the Associate Dean denies the waiver, the student may appeal that decision to the Academic Responsibility Committee in accordance with Section VI. H. 2.
    2. Petition to Academic Responsibility Committee for Review of Decision of Associate Dean to Deny Waiver of Attendance Requirement
      1. A student whose petition for a waiver of the attendance requirement was denied by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs denying a waiver of the attendance requirement may petition the Academic Responsibility Committee for review of that decision. The Committee may affirm the decision of the Associate Dean or it may reverse and remand that decision upon a conclusion that the decision was clearly erroneous. Decisions of the Committee are final and not reviewable.

      2. Filing of Petition. Not more than five (5) calendar days after notification that the Associate Dean has denied a student’s petition for waiver of the attendance requirement submitted under VI. H. 1., the student may petition the Committee for review of that denial by letter addressed to the Chair of the Committee and delivered to the Associate Dean by mail, personally, or electronically. The Associate Dean will promptly transmit the petition to the Chair of the Committee.

      3. Contents of Petition. A petition for review of a decision of the Associate Dean denying a waiver of the attendance requirement must contain, at a minimum, the following information in the text of the petition or as attached exhibits:
        1. A copy of the student’s petition to the Associate Dean for waiver of the attendance requirement;

        2. A copy of the Associate Dean’s decision to deny waiver of the attendance requirement;

        3. A statement of the reasons whereby the student asserts that the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous;
        4. A statement of the relief that the student requests the Committee to grant;

        5. An enumerated list of the absences and their dates in each course for which the student seeks a waiver of the attendance requirement;

        6. A complete description of the reasons for each absence and the efforts the student made to limit the number of absences;

        7. A copy of any correspondence between the student and any member of the faculty or administrative staff concerning the absences for which the student seeks a waiver of the attendance requirement.
      4. Additional Information. The Committee may require the student to supplement the petition with such additional information as the Committee considers pertinent for its review and decision. The Committee may also request information from members of the faculty and administrative staff who have knowledge of the student’s attendance records; the Committee will provide the student with any information it receives in response to such requests.

      5. Veracity of Statements. The student’s submission of information, whether in the student’s petition or in response to the Committee’s request, constitutes an assertion that the information is true and accurate. Submission of a false statement or the omission of a material fact necessary to avoid a misrepresentation of the truth will be considered “lying” under the Honor Code.

      6. Review and Disposition. The Committee will review the student’s petition as timely as practicable. In its review of petitions for review under this subsection, the Committee may consider, among other things, those factors identified in VI. H. 1. (e), as considerations in the Associate Dean’s decision. In such form as the Committee deems appropriate, it will notify the Associate Dean of its decision and request the Associate Dean to communicate the decision to the student and to take such action as is consistent with the decision.
    3. Petition to Academic Responsibility Committee for Waiver of Attendance Requirement when Number of Absence Exceeds 30% of Class Sessions
      1. General. A student who was absent for more than 30% of the number of class sessions in a course may petition the Academic Responsibility Committee for waiver of the attendance requirement for the course. Decisions of the Committee with respect to such petitions are final and not reviewable.

      2. Filing of Petition. Not more than 3 days after the final class session in the course for which a student seeks waiver of the attendance requirement, the student may petition for such waiver by letter addressed to the Chair of the Committee and delivered to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by mail, personally, or electronically. The Associate Dean will promptly transmit the petition to the Chair of the Committee.

      3. Contents of Petition. A petition for waiver of the attendance requirement must contain at a minimum, the following information in the text of the petition or as attached exhibits:
        1. An enumerated list of the absences and dates in the course for which the student seeks waiver of the attendance requirements;

        2. The total number of class sessions in the course for which the student seeks waiver of the attendance requirement;

        3. A complete description of the reasons for each absence in the course for which the student seeks waiver of the attendance requirement;

        4. A complete description of the efforts the student made to limit the number of absences; and

        5. A copy of any correspondence between the student and any member of the faculty or administrative staff concerning the student’s absences or attendance in the course.
      4. Additional Information. The Committee may require the student to supplement the petition with such additional information as the Committee considers pertinent to its review and decision. The Committee may also request information from members of the faculty and administrative staff who have knowledge of the student’s attendance records; the Committee will provide the student with any information it receives in response to such requests.

      5. Veracity of Statements. The student’s submission of information, whether in the student’s petition or in response to the Committee’s request, constitutes an assertion that the information is true and accurate. Submission of a false statement or the omission of a material fact necessary to avoid a misrepresentation of the truth will be considered “lying” under the Honor Code.

      6. Review and Disposition. The Committee will review petitions as timely as practicable. In its review of the merits of a student’s petition, the Committee will balance the interests in maintaining high academic standards with the interest of fairness to the student. In so doing, the Committee may consider, among other things, those factors identified in VI. H. 1. (e). In such written form as the Committee deems appropriate, it will notify the Associate Dean of its decision and request the Associate Dean to communicate the decision to the student and to take such action as is consistent with the decision.

 

 

 I.       Hardship Admission to Courses.

 

    1. Hardship petitions shall be filed with the Registrar/Director of Academic Services. The petition shall contain a complete statement of why the student is seeking hardship admission to the course. Except in extremely unusual circumstances, hardship petitions will not be granted to allow a second year student to change sections of a second year preference course subject to block pre-registration. Moreover, a petition will normally be denied if the student has an opportunity to take the course in a subsequent semester or if the student did not avail himself or herself of a second year preference. Desire for a particular professor or time does not constitute hardship. Students seeking hardship admission to second year preference courses during their third year shall explain why they did not take the course during the second year. Hardship Petition Form
    1. There is no appeal from the denial of a hardship petition by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

 

J.         Approval of Course Credit.

 

    1. Petitions for approval of overloads under §III.B of the Student Handbook and petitions for approval of credit for courses taken at other law schools (See §IV.D) or in other departments of the University under §IV.L of the Student Handbook shall contain a complete description of the student's plans and the relief sought.
    1. Petitions for approval of course credit may be granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs if the Dean finds that approval is consistent with the letter and spirit of academic policies established by the Faculty.
    1. Appeals from decisions of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs dealing with course credit may be taken to the Curriculum Committee. The standard of review is whether the decision of the Associate Dean was clearly erroneous.

 

 K.        Other Petitions.

 

  1. Other petitions shall be made in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who shall make a recommendation, and forward the petition to the appropriate faculty committee for action.
  1. The Associate Dean's decision of the appropriate faculty committee cannot be appealed.

 

  L.      Non-Academic Complaint Procedure.

 

    1. Student Complaints relating to the School of Law’s compliance with ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools:

Any student or group of students who believe that there is a significant problem that calls into question the Law School’s program of legal education and compliance and its compliance with the ABA Standards may file a formal complaint regarding that problem.  The complaint may be filed with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The complaint must be filed in writing and must identify the behavior, action, or inaction complained of and the Standard(s) alleged to have been violated.  ABA Standards may be found at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html .

Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Associate Dean receiving the complaint shall, within 30 business days, meet with the student or group of students making the complaint and, if necessary, conduct an investigation into the substance of the complaint.  Upon completion of any investigation, the Associate Dean shall prepare a written report of findings. The report shall include a determination as to whether a significant problem exists that directly implicates the law school’s program of legal education. If a significant problem is found to exist, the report also shall include a recommendation of action to be taken to resolve the complaint. The student or group of students filing the complaint shall be given a copy of the report. If the student or group of students are dissatisfied with the report and recommendation of the Associate Dean, the student may request a review of the report by the Dean of the School of Law or his designee.  All written complaints and reports of findings shall be kept on file in the Dean’s Office.

 

    1. Non-Academic Student Complaints of individual Concern:

In addition to the formal complaint process for matters calling into question the Law School’s compliance with ABA Standards, students may always raise matters of individual concern.  Those matters may be more appropriately resolved in a less formal way than the process outlined above. A student with a question or complaint about law school operations, policy, or the conduct of a faculty member, a member of the law school staff, or another student should talk with one of the deans. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is responsible for the academic program, faculty, course scheduling, registration, and the Honor Code.  The Associate Dean and Director of the Law Library is responsible for the operation of the law library. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs is responsible for admissions, scholarships, career services, the pro bono program, and student affairs. The Assistant Dean for Academic Technology is responsible for law school technology issues.  A student with a question or problem in a course in which he or she is enrolled typically should talk directly with the professor who teaches the course. 

Policies for student petitions concerning the application of academic policies (academic dismissal, academic probation, academic forgiveness, withdrawal or readmission, postponement of examinations or papers, graduation requirements, attendance requirements, course registration, course credit, or other academic matters) are set out in the Student Handbook, Section VI, Student Petitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©