WMU Cooley's Commitment to Honor

Honor Code

"We Shall Not Lie, Cheat, Steal, or Plagiarize, or Tolerate Among Us Those Who Do"

This is the commitment that all entering students take, along with our faculty and staff, at every orientation. Before they can begin classes at WMU Cooley Law School, a Michigan or Florida judge administers this oath, and new students are introduced to WMU Cooley's Honor Code.

Substantive excerpts from the WMU Cooley Law School Honor Code


At the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, ethics are as important as academic performance and the mastery of practical legal skills.  The Honor Code emphasizes that ethics are an integral part of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School experience and encourages the development of the ethical values that law students and lawyers, as professionals, must possess.  In addition, the procedures for enforcing the Honor Code assure the prompt and just resolution of suspected Honor Code violations for the protection of the Law School, the public, and the legal profession.  Enrollment in Cooley Law School signifies, among other things, a student’s commitment and obligation to aid in the enforcement and administration of the Honor Code. 


As used in this Code, the term "School-related Honor Code violation" means any act, as defined below, of lying, cheating, stealing, or plagiarism, or the toleration of any such conduct.  

A.  Lying.  Lying means knowingly misrepresenting or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact that a reasonable person would consider relevant under the circumstances.  Examples of lying include, but are not limited to, the following: 

(1)  Admission.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to admission to the School;  

(2)  Class Attendance.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to class attendance; 

(3)  Course Requirements.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to compliance with course requirements; 

(4)  Financial Benefits.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to financial aid, work study, or scholarships; 

(5)  Employment Search.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to the employment search process; 

(6)  Co-curricular Credit Activities.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts relevant to co-curricular activities for which credit is granted; 

(7)  Misconduct Reports.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts in a misconduct report; and 

(8)  Honor Code/Disciplinary Proceedings.  Misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts in any Honor Code or disciplinary proceeding. 

B.  Cheating.  Cheating means knowingly giving, receiving, taking, using, or attempting to give, receive, take, or use, any unauthorized advantage that is specifically prohibited by School policies, procedures, or by the student’s professor, adjunct professor, visiting professor, or instructor in connection with any course work or co-curricular activity for which credit is granted.  Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following unauthorized advantages: 

(1)  Examinations.  Any prohibited aid, assistance, or cooperation in connection with an examination; 

(2)  Papers, Reports, Briefs.  Any prohibited aid, assistance, or cooperation in connection with a paper, report, brief, or other assignment; 

(3)  Examination Time.  Commencing an examination before the stipulated time, including reading the contents of the examination or writing any notes or outlines, or continuing to write after the time for taking the examination has expired; 

(4)  Materials.  Possession of, use of, or reference to prohibited materials during an examination; 

(5)  Library Material Access.  Depriving other students for an unreasonable length of time of access to library materials or other information that either is needed for the timely completion of course work or is helpful to preparation for a class or an examination, with the intent to disadvantage another student or students; 

(6)  Unreleased Examination Materials.  Obtaining or sharing knowledge or possession of unreleased examination questions, answers, or information, or retaining or making copies of an examination or other materials contrary to a professor’s instructions; 

(7)  Personal Work Product.  Any copying or use without permission of another student’s personal work product, including briefs, notes, tapes, computer software or data, outlines, written assignments, or other materials; and 

(8)  Outside Course Work.  Failing to disclose to a professor the submission for credit of work that was wholly or substantially done outside the course for which credit is being sought. 

C.  Stealing.  Stealing means knowingly taking any services or property of another without authorization or by fraud.  Stealing includes, but is not limited to, taking, without authorization or by fraud, the following: 

(1)  Property.  Any personal property on School premises, or taking any Law School property on or off School premises; 

(2)  Work Product.  Briefs, books, notes, tapes, computer software or data, or outlines belonging to a School employee, faculty member or another student, on or off School premises; 

(3)  Mail.  Any items from employee work stations or faculty mailboxes used by school employees, faculty members, or other students; 

(4)  Computer Time/Access.   School computer time, computer software, or computer access; 

(5)  Photocopy Services.  School photocopy services; and 

(6)  Library Materials.  School library materials. 

D.  Plagiarism.  Plagiarism means knowingly presenting all or part of another’s work as one’s own, either for credit or for publication.  Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1)  Verbatim presentation.  Verbatim presentation of another’s work without acknowledgment;  

(2)  Paraphrasing.  Paraphrasing or restating another’s work without proper acknowledgment; and 

(3)  Partial acknowledgment.  Partial but significantly incomplete acknowledgment of another’s work. 

E.  Toleration.   

(1)  Failure to Report.  Toleration means knowingly failing to promptly report, under Sections 3.01 and 3.02, a significant Law-School-related Honor Code violation, despite knowledge of facts establishing reasonable grounds to believe that a significant Law School-related Honor Code violation may have occurred.  As used in this Code, "significant" means sufficient to raise a substantial question about the Respondent’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice law.   

(2)  Failure to Cooperate.  Toleration also means knowingly failing to fully cooperate in a timely manner with lawful requests made by the Dean, the Dean’s designee, the Honor Council, or the Office of Law School Advocate, in connection with any Honor Code proceedings.  Neither this section, nor Sections 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, or 3.04 apply to confidential information that is protected by a legal privilege or disclosed to the Office of Student Assistance in any Honor Code proceedings. 

Learn how lawyers develop and adapt professional identity, how lawyers protect the public against bad law practice, and more.


Charles Toy
Associate Dean of Career and Professional Development
[email protected]
(800) 577-6745

An independent, private, non-profit educational institution affiliated with Western Michigan University. The Law School, as an independent institution, is solely responsible for its academic program. Accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. The Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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