Colleges and universities are environments that endorse independent thinking and original academic works. Therefore, academic integrity is the core of these thriving academic communities. For faculty members and school officials, a breach of academic integrity is one of the most serious violations a student can commit. So if you face these allegations, you must understand the magnitude of this situation to faculty members and the institution as a whole.
Much like other schools, Villanova University strongly condemns academic misconduct in any shape or form. If you are a Villanova student with these allegations, it's important you take them seriously. In order to get a grasp on the gravity of your specific charges, you need to understand what you're up against. Identifying how your school mitigates misconduct matters and the potential ramifications for a finding of responsibility will help you make an informed decision. Hopefully this article help you understand your school's definition of academic misconduct and what a violation entails. I've also provided an easily digestible summary of Villanova's disciplinary procedures.
Villanova University's Code of Academic Integrity
According to Villanova's code of conduct, academic dishonesty is outright prohibited. It provides that this misconduct takes place “whenever anyone undermines the academic integrity of the institution or attempt to gain an unfair advantage over others.” The handbook outlines several forms of academic misconduct and detailed examples.
The school defines cheating as receiving help in any way that is not explicitly approved by an instructor. Some examples of cheating would be attempting to take someone else's exam, utilizing a stand in, or using notes, study aids, or another person's work to complete an assignment.
Fabrication is defined as falsifying, inventing, or misrepresenting information, data, or citations for an assignment. This includes making up or modifying data, or citing sources that one has not actually used or consulted.
Assisting in or contributing to academic dishonesty
Assisting or contributing to academic dishonesty will also subject students to sanctions. In short, helping or attempting to help others commit an act of academic misconduct is forbidden. Intentionally allowing another student to copy off your test during an exam, for example, will be punished as just severely as the actual act of cheating.
Plagiarism is referred to as relying on someone else's words, data, ideas, or arguments without clearly acknowledging your sources. Common ways to acknowledge sources in academic words are citations and footnotes.
Although I've provided you some crucial information, it's important you read your school's code of conduct for yourself. If you're serious about your education, the state of your academic record, and your involvement in your program, you need to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of your charges. This notion reigns especially true for students who made a genuine mistake. It's not worth tainting your academic record for a misunderstanding or blunder. If you know where things went wrong, you may be able to come out of this ordeal unscathed. However, you should keep in mind that you are held accountable for the work you turn in, not the work you intended to turn in. Your sanctions will solely depend on the way you make your case, and the discretion of an instructor.
If a faculty member believes that you have committed an academic integrity violation, he or she is required to notify you and afford you the opportunity of responding. If after a meeting, a faculty member believes that a violation has still occurred, he or she is responsible for recommending an academic sanction.
Academic sanctions aren't incredibly severe. At best, you'll get a “0” on that assignment, but at worst, you'll fail the class. A faculty member must also send a recommendation to the dean as to whether this violation should be treated as a Class 1 violation, or a Class 2 violation.
Once this decision recommendation has been made, a student will be immediately notified of their charges. You will be required to respond to this complaint in writing within five days, either admitting the violation or asserting your innocence. It wouldn't be smart to completely ignore this complaint, as a failure to respond is considered an admission of guilt.
Admitting a violation
If you choose the route of admitting you committing a violation, you will send a letter to the dean explaining what happened. Some students mention any extenuating circumstances that they've experienced. Depression, falling ill, taking care of a loved one, or other setbacks that could have compelled you to act out of character should be mentioned.
Denying a violation
However, if you deny that you committed this offense, the matter will be referred to the Chair of the Board of Academic Integrity.
Once a denial has been expressed, you'll be scheduled to attend a hearing. During this hearing, you will be given the opportunity to tell your side of the story to a panel. The panel is comprised of faculty members and students who will assess the facts and ultimately make a determination of whether academic dishonesty transpired.
If the panel finds that no violation has occurred, the faculty member who brought the complaint will be advised to readjust the assignment in question, and all issues in relation to the matter will be dissolved. If the panel determines that a violation has occurred, the original grade will stand. You will also be required to attend a supervised education program where you will learn about the importance of academic integrity (yay!).
A student with two class-1 violations will undergo much more serious consequences. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, you will be expelled from the University, with a record of the reason for this dismissal. At the sole discretion of the dean, you may be suspended or put on academic probation instead of dismissed.
Pennsylvania Student Defense Attorney
As you can see, allegations of academic misconduct are serious and should be taken seriously. Students who have acquired prior academic misconduct offenses, or have been accused of a particularly severe case of academic misconduct cannot afford to lollygag. Before you panic, remember that you have the option of choosing a very valuable resource to help you through these processes: a student defense attorney. Joseph D. Lento has lent his expertise to students in your shoes for over 15 years. His clients can attest to the fact that he helped them achieve a favorable outcome and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.