Each college and university in Alaska has its own set of rules that reference academic integrity. Of course, these rules vary depending on the school, but at the core of each policy schools promote honesty and responsibility in all academic endeavors.
When an institution speculates that you have somehow violated its academic integrity policy, you will be required to undergo the disciplinary process. This process generally entails an investigation and/or hearing to determine if you are “responsible” for committing the misconduct you were accused of.
If your school happens to determine that you're responsible for academic misconduct, here's some good news: you have the right to appeal. I've provided all the information you need to know about academic appeals and the appeals process. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to contact the Lento Law Firm today.
What is an Academic Appeal?
An appeal is a letter that challenges the validity of a school's adverse disciplinary decision. When you file an appeal, an appeals panel at your school is tasked with reviewing the initial decision and your reason for why this decision is unwarranted or unjust. Then they will conduct a hearing to ultimately decide if there is a valid reason to affirm your appeal and reverse or reform the decision.
When is it Appropriate to Appeal?
You should appeal if you truly believe that you didn't do what you were accused of. I've taken on the role of an appeal advisor for many students, and I've seen it all. A minor misunderstanding or misjudgment has the ability to snowball into a serious issue for students. From faulty plagiarism detection software to group projects gone wrong, I can assure you that innocent students get accused of academic misconduct all the time. You shouldn't be labeled a cheater and get a mark on your record for something you didn't do. This is why the appeals process exists.
An additional reason for appealing is if you feel your sanction is too harsh. The severity of a sanction should be proportionate to the action you committed.
You should not appeal if you have admitted in any capacity that you did what you were accused of. If your reason for appealing is to provide an explanation as to why you committed academic misconduct, you're wasting your time. Being dissatisfied with a determination isn't enough to justify an appeal in the eyes of a panel, there needs to be an element of injustice.
Here are some other reasons for appealing that won't be relevant to the panel:
- You did not realize you were violating your school's policies
- Your professor didn't tell you it was against school policy
- You were under stress when the incident occurred
- Other students did what you did but they didn't get caught
The Appeals Process
Filing an appeal means writing a letter to your professor or faculty member's dean to explain why you have been falsely accused. This letter should be clear, concise and very detailed. During this point in the process, an attorney-appeal advisor can prove to be useful, especially if you don't feel your writing skills are up to par. An advisor can help you draft a letter that is convincing enough for a panel to schedule a hearing.
Depending on your school, a panel made up of faculty members and staff will conduct the hearing. You should prepare to make a statement, present evidence, and answer questions posed by the panel. After hearing all the facts, the panel will deliberate and make a decision.
If the panel agrees that you did not violate your school's policy, all penalties will be reversed. But if the panel feels that you did break the rules, your case will be turned over to the college dean, who will handle it from there on.
Alaska Academic Appeal Advisor
Being falsely accused of academic misconduct in Alaska can throw a wrench in your plans to graduate. When your college or university makes a decision that hinders your academic progress, you have every right to appeal. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully helped a wide range of students in all stages of their educational journey prevail in the appeals process. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 to get back on track.
- Alaska Bible College
- Alaska Pacific University
- Charter College Anchorage
- Ilisagvik College
- Prince William Sound Community College
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- University of Alaska Southeast
Regrettably, an academic misconduct finding of responsibility can derail an accused student's academic and professional goals and some students and parents do not recognize this concern until it may be too late. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct charges, in addition to the short-term consequences such academic and disciplinary sanctions, there will be long-term consequences. Internships, graduate school opportunities, and employment opportunities can all be adversely impacted by a finding of responsibility.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to properly address such concerns as early as possible in the disciplinary process. There are times, however, that it necessary to appeal an adverse outcome, and Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges in Alaska and throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Alaska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected at all stages of the academic misconduct disciplinary process, including the appeal stage - Contact National Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.