At the crux of a thriving academic environment is academic integrity. Much like other higher education institutions in Philadelphia, Temple University's core objective is to educate students and aid them in thinking independently. So it's no surprise that when a school's academic integrity is breached, the school will respond with prompt and relentless disciplinary actions.
From my experience, the vast majority of students pinned with these charges were completely oblivious to the fact they did something wrong. Most students' perception of academic misconduct consists of blatantly wrong actions like copying and pasting information, or fabricating information. But academic dishonesty encompasses a wide scope of actions that students may not realize are wrong. For students who were simply unaware, the unfortunate reality is that the school doesn't care. You will still have to undergo disciplinary processes to determine if you violated school policy.
Whatever your case may be, it's important that you understand what you're up against. Knowing the gravity of your situation, and the potential sanctions that could be impose can help you make well-informed decisions. One decision to ponder is whether or not you need extra help to achieve a favorable outcome. For students who value the investment they've made in an education at Temple University, are invested in their degree program, or are concerned with the state of their academic record, retaining a student defense attorney is a must.
To assist in painting a clear picture of what to expect, I've provided an overview of Temple University's definition of academic misconduct, and its processes for mitigating these matters.
Temple University's “Academic Honor Code”
The University's rules and regulations dictate that academic misconduct is outright prohibited. The following examples of this misconduct are provided:
- Plagiarism: includes, but is not limited to, “the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published, or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also mentions that the selling of term papers and other academic work by an agency or individual is also considered plagiarism.
- Cheating: includes, but is not limited to: (1) the use of unauthorized assistance when taking exams, tests, and quizzes; (2) the use of any sources that have not been authorized by an instructor to complete assignments; (3) the acquisition of tests or other academic materials, without permission, the belong to a member of the university faculty or staff; (4) partaking in any behavior that has been clearly prohibited in a syllabus, assignment, or class assignment by a faculty member; (5) or otherwise engaging in behaviors that gives a student an unfair academic advantage (fabricating sources, resubmitting work from another class without permission, other behaviors of this nature).
- Facilitating, invoking, or encouraging someone to engage in cheating or plagiarism
Student Conduct Code Procedures
Any member of the university is allowed to submit a written complaint regarding a student who they suspect is partaking in academic dishonesty. Of course, the majority of these suspicions will come from instructors and professors. Once a complaint has been filed, the student will be immediately notified of the potential misconduct.
Next, the Student Conduct Administrator will conduct a brief investigation to determine if the complaint has merit. This investigation will consist of interviewing the complainant, getting a respondent's side of the story, and talking to witnesses or other people involved. The outcome of an investigation will dictate whether it is likely that school policy has been violated.
During the investigation, it's important that respondents document everything they say to an interviewer. The things you say will could come up down the line in a hearing, so you want to make sure your story is consistent. People already have a certain impression of you, even if it's unfair, in the midst of processes. They likely perceive you as a cheater who can't be trusted. Don't affirm this misconception in their minds by coming across as untruthful.
Process review meeting
The finding will be discussed in what's referred to as a process review meeting. If this finding reads that is likely that there was a violation of academic regulations, all your options will be laid out. In these meetings, several alternative resolution methods will be offered to both complainants and respondents. If both parties agree, they can participate in a quick and non-adversarial resolution method, known as mediation.
Mediation preserves the relationships between all parties involved. Both faculty members and students are drawn to this form of conflict resolution since they are able to come up with a resolution on their own terms. A mediator will be assigned facilitate healthy communication between you and a complainant to reach an agreement.
If an agreement cannot be reached between parties, a hearing will be scheduled.
At this point, it's assumed that you do not agree with the charges you've been accused of. A hearing is the perfect chance for you to defend yourself and tell your side of the story. Hearings are intended to incite discussion about the facts, the individuals involved, the circumstances in which the alleged misconduct occurred, and the nature of this particular case. You will be afforded the opportunity to present your own case to the panel, and call upon witnesses to testify on your behalf (if necessary). However, in order to demonstrate a case that is effective and compelling, retaining a student defense attorney is your best. After all, legal professionals make cases for a living.
A panel comprised of staff members will ultimately deliberate and present a finding of responsibility. If it reads “not responsible” all charges will be dismissed. If it reads “responsible,” the panel will provide recommended sanctions for the misconduct.
If respondents feel as if the determination is unjust or unfair, they can opt to appeal this decision. Students have within five business days of a decision to file. However, in order for an appeal to be granted, it must be founded on reasonable grounds. An attorney can help you establish which grounds can be effectively applied to your case.
Pennsylvania Student Defense Attorney
For students who may be facing sanctions that include a program withdrawal, suspension, expulsion as a result of academic misconduct charges, retaining an attorney is in your best interest. Joseph D. Lento has over 15 years of experience helping people who have been in your shoes prevail. He can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.