Each college and university in Oklahoma has its own set of rules referencing academic integrity. Obviously, these rules vary depending on the school, but at the core of each policy, institutions 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 the action you were accused of.
If your school has determined that you're responsible for academic misconduct, here's some good news: you are granted 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 an adverse disciplinary decision. Once it is filed, the appeals process begins, obligating the college to review the decision made and your reason for why this decision is unfair or unwarranted. But the main objective is to decide if there is a valid reason to affirm your appeal and reverse or reform the school's initial decision.
When is it Appropriate to Appeal?
You should appeal if you have a genuine belief that you didn't do what you were accused of. As an appeal advisor, I've seen many cases where plagiarism detection software has failed, or a professor didn't discern the situation correctly, leading to an unfair determination. You should also appeal if you feel that the severity of a sanction isn't proportionate with the action you allegedly committed.
You should not appeal if you have already admitted in any capacity that you did what you were accused of. Remember, merely being unhappy with a determination and/or sanction isn't enough to sway an appeals panel to act on your behalf. Neither are these other reasons:
- Your professor didn't tell you it was against school policy
- You did not realize you were violating your school's policy
- You were under stress when the incident occurred
- Other students did it but didn't get caught
The appeals process is only concerned whether or not a violation occurred, not why it occurred.
The Appeals Process
To file an appeal, you must generally write a letter to the faculty member's dean explaining 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 is especially useful. Even more so if you don't think your writing skills are up to par. They can help you draft a letter that is convincing enough for the panel to schedule a hearing.
Depending on your school, a panel comprised of faculty members and staff will conduct a hearing shortly after receiving your letter. At this hearing, you should expect to make a statement, present evidence, and answer questions. 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 and decisions will be reversed. If the panel feels that you did violate school policy, however, your case will be turned over to the college dean, who will handle things from this point.
Oklahoma Academic Appeal Advisor
Being falsely accused of academic misconduct can derail your journey to graduation. 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.