In the U.S. there are roughly 21 million students attending colleges, universities and other types of postsecondary educational institutions. These students are pursuing long-term goals and making significant investments of time and money. Violations of the school's academic misconduct policy can lead to disciplinary actions that can jeopardize these plans. Accusations such as those involving plagiarism or cheating can lead to sanctions including suspension or expulsion. You have the opportunity to defend yourself in the student disciplinary process. Those who are unsuccessful in initially defending these claims should speak with legal counsel. The Lento Law Firm assists students in appealing these rulings and with other aspects of student disciplinary defense.
Examples of Academic Misconduct
- Copying or allowing others to copy your assignments
- Using a “cheat sheet” during an exam
- Communicating with others in some manner to cheat during an exam such as through oral communication or via text
- Having someone else take your exam
- Submitting a report or paper written by someone else
- Plagiarizing someone else's work or ideas
Disclosure of Disciplinary Actions on Records & Transcripts
Appealing a disciplinary violation is important to prevent this documentation from having future negative consequences. The Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) was put in place to prevent unauthorized disclosure of student information and records. This protection is not applicable if you are transferring to another school or applying for a graduate school program. These records will be available to the other school without your permission.
Appealing a Violation
The appeals process varies according to the school's provisions. In most cases, an appeal must be submitted in writing to a different administrator or department than the one that issued the ruling. The document should be clear and may contain a sequence of facts and persuasive arguments. Common arguments include that the process did not adhere to the school's written procedure or that the sanctions imposed are excessive. Often the possibility of having success in an appeal hinges on this written document.
What are the Grounds for Appeal?
Although many schools have similar policies, when appealing an adverse outcome, the specific policies of the school involved must be carefully followed. At the University of Maryland, for example, a student who has received an unfavorable ruling may appeal the ruling and/or the penalties that were imposed. To initiate the appeals process a written statement must be received by the Director of Student Conduct within a period of 10 working days. Members of the administration involved in the earlier proceedings are ineligible to be involved in hearing an appeal. Reductions in penalties are possible if they are shown to be “grossly disproportionate” to the violation. An appeal may be considered when errors occurred in procedure or misinterpretation of the Code is believed to have led to unfairness. In addition, an appeal may be warranted if new evidence of importance has been found since the hearing.
Importance of Legal Assistance in the Appeals Process
Students that have been harshly sanctioned or penalized for a violation of academic misconduct should promptly pursue their appeal with an experienced attorney. This is important because the formal appeal document must be highly impactful and demonstrate that the appeal is worthy of consideration. There is also likely to be a short window of time for filing the appeal. Your attorney may also engage the administration in negotiations that could lead to more favorable outcomes such as reducing the severity of sanctions.
Student Academic Disciplinary Defense Attorney in Maryland
Are you a student or parent of a student in Maryland faced with difficult sanctions resulting from violations of academic misconduct? Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience necessary to successfully appeal these findings through the school's appeals process. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.
- Bowie State University
- Capitol Technology University
- Coppin State University
- Frostburg State University
- Goucher College
- Hood College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Loyola University Maryland
- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
- Maryland University of Integrative Health
- McDaniel College
- Morgan State University
- Mount St. Mary's University
- Notre Dame of Maryland University
- St. John's College
- St. Mary's College of Maryland
- Salisbury University
- Steven University
- Towson University
- United States Naval Academy
- University of Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
- University of Maryland, University College
- University of Maryland, Biotechnology Institute
- University of Maryland, Environmental Science
- USM Hagerstown
- Universities at Shady Grove
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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.