Every higher education institution in Vermont has its own variation of an academic integrity policy. At the core of each policy is an emphasis on the ethical completion of academic works, and honesty and responsibility in all scholarly endeavors.
When a school speculates that you have somehow violated its academic integrity policy, you will be tossed into the disciplinary process. Although this process varies at every institution, it generally involves an investigation and/or hearing to determine if you are "responsible" for the action you were accused of.
If you've been found responsible for academic misconduct of any form at your college or university, 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 essentially a letter written by a student that challenges an adverse disciplinary decision. Once you submit an appeal, the college is tasked with reviewing the decision a school panel made, and your reason for why this decision is unfair or unwarranted. Then, their main objective is ultimately deciding if there is valid reason to affirm your appeal and reverse or reform the school's decision.
When is it Appropriate to Appeal?
You should appeal if you genuinely believe that you didn't do what you were accused of doing. I've seen far too many cases of students being accused of plagiarism or cheating, and it turns out that detection software was wrong, or a professor discerned the situation incorrectly. 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 that you acted improperly. It's important to note that merely being dissatisfied with the outcome of a hearing or investigation isn't enough to justify an appeal in the eyes of a panel. Here are other reasons alone that won't matter to a panel when appealing:
- you did not realize you were violating your school's policies
- you were under stress
- other people did what you did, but didn't get caught
- your professor didn't tell you it was against school policy etc.
The appeals process is only concerned about whether 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 feel your writing skills aren't up to par. They can help you draft a latter that is convincing enough for the panel to schedule a hearing.
A panel comprised of faculty members and students will hear your account of events and the opposing faculty member's version of events. You'll both be responsible for presenting evidence and answering 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 the code of conduct, all penalties will be reversed. If the panel feels that you did, however, violate the code, your case will be turned over to the college dean, who will handle it from there on.
Vermont Academic Appeal Advisor
Being falsely accused of academic misconduct in Vermont 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.
- Bennington College
- Castleton State College
- Champlain College
- College of St Joseph
- Community College of Vermont
- Goddard College
- Green Mountain College
- Johnson State College
- Landmark College
- Lyndon State College
- Marlboro College
- Middlebury College
- Norwich University
- Saint Michael's College
- Southern Vermont College
- Sterling College
- University of Vermont
- Vermont Technical College
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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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.