School of Law Syllabus Guidelines

I. ATTENDANCE

The American Bar Association accreditation standards mandate that a law school adopt, publish, and adhere to a sound policy of regular class attendance.  ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, Standard 308(a) (2020-21).  Thus, students are encouraged to attend every class for each course in which they are enrolled.  Recognizing, however, that students may be unable to attend every class, the following attendance policy provides at what point there are consequences for missed classes.

From the Student Handbook, Section II.B.1:

a)  Courses that meet once a week:

Unless a professor chooses to adopt a stricter policy as set forth in paragraph g, a student is permitted two absences in a semester for a course that meets once a week.

The first absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets once a week will reduce the student’s final grade by .2.  The second absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets once a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .4.  Thus, if the student is absent from the course for four class periods, the student’s grade shall be reduced by .6.  Any absence thereafter will result in the student being dropped from the course with an Administrative Withdraw (AW) appearing on the student’s transcript for the course.  An AW appearing on a student’s transcript results in the student not receiving a grade or credit for the course.

b)   Courses that meet twice a week:

Unless a professor chooses to adopt a stricter policy as set forth in paragraph g, a student is permitted four absences in a semester for a course that meets twice a week. 

The first absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by .1.  The second absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .2.  The third absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .3.  The fourth absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .4.  Any absence thereafter will result in the student being dropped from the course with an AW appearing on the student’s transcript for the course.

c) Courses that meet three times a week

Unless a professor chooses to adopt a stricter policy as set forth in paragraph g, a student is permitted four absences in a semester for a course that meets twice a week. 

The first absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by .1.  The second absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .2.  The third absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .3.  The fourth absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .4.  Any absence thereafter will result in the student being dropped from the course with an AW appearing on the student’s transcript for the course.

d) Pass/No Pass courses

The spirit and letter of the above policy should be adhered to in a course that the student takes pass/no pass.  Thus, a student taking a course pass/no pass will be dropped from the course with an AW appearing on the student’s transcript for the course in accordance with the policy set forth in numbers 1 and 2 above.  Further, the professor should take into consideration the grade reduction that would have occurred based on the number of absences in determining whether the student’s grade is above a 2.2 as to pass the course.

e) Summer courses

Unless a professor chooses to adopt a stricter policy as set forth in paragraph f, the following rule applies.  In a two-credit course that meets once a week, a student is permitted one absence.  The first absence beyond the allotted number will reduce the student’s grade by .4.  Any absence thereafter will result in the student being dropped from the course with an AW appearing on the student’s transcript for the course.

Unless a professor chooses to adopt a stricter policy as set forth in paragraph 6, the following rule applies.  In a three-credit or four-credit course that meets twice a week, a student is permitted two absences.  The first absence beyond the allotted number will reduce the student’s grade by .2.  The second absence beyond the allotted number for a course that meets twice a week will reduce the student’s final grade by an additional .4.  Any absence thereafter will result in the student being dropped from the course with an AW appearing on the student’s transcript for the course.

g) Professor discretion

A professor has discretion to determine what constitutes an absence as a general policy and in specific instances.  For example, a professor may deem that failure to be prepared for class is an absence and/or that tardiness is an absence.

If a professor adopts changes to this attendance policy as allowed within the professor’s discretion or chooses to adopt a stricter attendance policy as is also allowed, then the professor must set forth the professor’s attendance policy in the professor’s syllabus for the course.

h) Professor responsibility

When a student exceeds the number of allotted absences such that the student must be withdrawn from the course, the professor will notify the Registrar’s office.

II. ACCOMMODATIONS AND OTHER DISABILITY-RELATED ISSUES

The University of Detroit Mercy is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. The Office of Disability Support Services collaborates with students who have disabilities to arrange reasonable accommodations. In the event, that you encounter any barrier(s) to full participation in this course due to the impact of your disability, please contact a member of the Disability Support Staff. Our office will confidentially discuss the barriers you are experiencing and explain the eligibility process for establishing academic accommodations. 

Disability Support Services 
Student Success Center 
Library, Room 319 
dss@udmercy.edu 
313-993-1158 
https://www.udmercy.edu/current-students/support-services/disability.php 

It is important that if you require an academic accommodation due to a documented disability, emergency medical condition, temporary disability or require special arrangements to be proactive in this process by requesting the accommodations before or at the start of every semester. 

III. SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND TITLE IX

Title IX: Sexual violence and sexual harassment are contrary to our core values and have no place at the University of Detroit Mercy. In accordance with Title IX and related laws, Detroit Mercy prohibits sex and gender-based discrimination including discrimination toward pregnant/parenting students. If you experience sexual violence or sexual harassment that limits your ability to participate in this course or any other Detroit Mercy program or activity, there are resources and options available. Please be aware that I am not a confidential resource, and that I will need to disclose alleged incidents of sex or gender-based discrimination to the university’s Office of Title IX. You may also contact Megan Novell, the Title IX Coordinator, directly by calling 313.993.1802 or emailing novellme@udmercy.edu to learn about supportive measures and options that are available to students alleging or alleged to have engaged in sex or gender-based discrimination.

IV. PLAGIARISM AND ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of ideas, arguments, and written material of another as one's own work. Written passages, arguments, and paraphrases from other sources must be clearly identified as such.

Plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty are forbidden at the School of Law and constitute offenses under the Honor Code.  Students will be subject to both academic and disciplinary sanctions for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.

V. DEPARTMENT OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS

The School of Law is committed to the success of its students.  Students experiencing academic difficulty should consult with their professors.  Students also are encouraged to consult with the Department of Academic Success, which is located on the third floor (Suite 325) at the School of Law.  Sarah Garrison, the Director of Bar Preparation, may be reached at garrissj@udmercy.edu or (313) 596-0226.

VI. INSTRUCTIONAL COPYRIGHT POLICY

Each faculty member is the exclusive copyright owner of works created with ordinary University resources, which includes but is not limited to the ordinary use of libraries and online learning management systems such as Blackboard. The faculty member’s exclusive copyright ownership extends to material created for the content of any instructional technology intended to disseminate knowledge for traditional academic purposes, except in certain cases when instructional content is created through use of extraordinary University resources (see UDMPU contract Appendix B). Whether a particular work is created through use of extraordinary University resources shall be determined initially by the relevant dean, their designee, or the director of the unit of the University that is providing the extraordinary University resources prior to the commitment by the University of those resources. Final determination will be by mutual written agreement of the faculty member and the University. More details about ownership and use details can be accessed here.

In the event a faculty member becomes unable due to factors beyond his/her control, to complete the teaching of a course after the course has begun, permission to use any course materials owned by the faculty member which are essential to the University’s ability to arrange for completion of the course shall be deemed granted by the faculty member for the duration of and exclusive use for the course.

VII. COURSE COPYRIGHT POLICY

All course materials students receive or have online access to are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws. In addition, distributing completed essays, labs, homework, exams, quizzes, or other assignments constitutes a violation of the Student Conduct policy.

VIII. ACCESSIBILITY OF COURSE CONTENT POLICY

University of Detroit Mercy is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in the university's programs, benefits, and services, including those delivered through electronic and information technology.

According to federal law, accessibility means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability.

All course materials, including course syllabi, must follow federal accessibility guidelines:

  • Documents, including PDF documents, should be readable by a screen reader.
  • Syllabi posted online (e.g. a Word/PDF file or an online syllabus) should make destinations clickable hyperlinks.
  • Images should include alternate description tags.
  • All video and audio content must be close captioned (CC). Instructors should ensure the accuracy of close captioning when feasible.

For additional details on how to make a document accessibility compliant, you may view the Guidelines for Universal Design of Instruction page as well as the Marketing and Communications website. Contact ODE (Office of Digital Education) with any questions about accessibility of course content.

IX. RECORDING OF CLASS SESSIONS POLICY

Video/audio recordings of class sessions (face-to-face or online) may be recorded for the benefit of students in the class. Recordings will be shared via platforms with access limited to other members of the class. I will attain consent from students if recordings of student comments or images will be shared with a broader audience.