Higher education institutions in North Dakota impose rules that reference academic integrity. Obviously, the specifics vary depending on the school, but at the core of each policy, schools promote honesty and responsibility in all academic endeavors.
When a college or university speculates that you have somehow violated its academic integrity policy, you will be required to undergo the disciplinary process. It generally entails an investigation and/or hearing to determine if you are “responsible” for the action you were accused of.
If your school has determined 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 determination and/or sanction. When an appeal is filed, a panel is responsible for reviewing the initial decision and your reason for why this decision is 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 have a genuine belief that you didn't do what you've been accused of. As an attorney who has taken on the role of an appeal advisor for many students, I've seen it all. From faulty plagiarism detection software to a professor who didn't correctly discern the situation. You shouldn't have to be labeled a cheater and experience repercussions for something you didn't do. This is why the appeals process exists. An additional reason to appeal is if you agree with the determination but feel the sanctions are too harsh. The severity of a sanction should be proportionate to the action you committed.
You should not appeal if you have already admitted in some capacity that you did what you were accused of. If you're appealing to provide an explanation as to why you did what you did, it's going to fall on deaf ears. Being unhappy with a determination isn't enough to justify an appeal in the eyes of an appeals panel. There must involve an element of injustice.
Here are some other circumstances that aren't relevant when it comes to appealing:
- You did not realize you were violating your school's policies
- Other students did what you did, but didn't get caught
- You were under stress when the incident transpired
- Your professor didn't tell you it was against school policy etc.
Keep in mind that the question of why a violation occurred doesn't matter in the appeals process. The only thing that matters is whether or not a violation occurred.
There are many perks to getting an attorney to guide you through this process. If you aren't confident in your writing skills or don't know where to start, you can communicate your ideas to an attorney. They can craft an appeal that is clear, concise, and detailed and that describes your account of events convincingly. This will maximize the chances of your appeal being granted.
North Dakota Academic Appeal Advisor
Being falsely accused of academic misconduct 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 to get back on track.