I am writing an addendum for a disciplinary probation proceeding. The infraction was described by the judicial proceeding as: “used outside sources on an assignment without proper attribution.” The assignment was to “imagine myself as a curator for an art exhibit,” and to record myself giving a tour in which I should discuss certain paintings – their form, style, origins, etc.
The intent was not to deceive, but rather I was careless in completing an unfamiliar assignment. I described this using those words and wrote briefly about how I learned to bring a much greater degree of scrutiny to my work.
The Dean of Students for my college offered to write me a brief letter of character discussing how the incident unfolded since before any judicial measures were taken by the professor I immediately brought the assignment to him and said: "this is what I did -- did I screw up?" We have a close relationship. The point would be to impart that this was not a question of character, but a moment of carelessness which is no longer an issue -- he is willing to attest to that.
Should I include this with my addendum and attach it to the section that asks me to disclose disciplinary action, or do I leave it out and just attach my explanation.
And here we always thought it was obvious how to put yourself in the shoes of an art curator. ;)
That's not to triviliaze the charges or the proceedings. They are serious things, and because they are serious things, I think it's a great idea to attach his letter if he's willing to write it.
You're not required to include a letter like that for your disclosure addendum, but what a nice bonus that your Dean of Students has volunteered to write you one. Everything you say in your disclosure has to be accurate, as I can tell you already know, but it can help to have a third, authoritative party with some knowledge about you and the incident validate that your one lapse in judgment won't be an ongoing problem.
If he weren't saying supportive things, it wouldn't help you to include the letter, but in this instance, it sounds like a good thing for you, and something an admissions officer might value.
Good luck to you! Hope it all works out.
Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. You can find more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions. Join the conversation here in the blog comments and on Twitter and Facebook, or email us a new question for the blog.