Each college and university in Washington has a policy pertaining to academic integrity. Of course each policy is different, but at their core, each school promotes honesty and responsibility in all academic endeavors. This means cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic misconduct are forbidden.
When a professor or faculty member suspects that you have violated these principles, the disciplinary process begins. It generally involves an investigation and/or hearing to determine if these suspicions have merit.
As a college student, you have options when falsely accused and penalized of such misconduct. The most important one being the opportunity to appeal. I've provided a general overview of academic appeals and the appeals process so you can understand what you're up against. If you have further questions or concerns, contact the Lento Law Firm today.
What is an Academic Appeal?
An appeal is a written letter that contests an adverse disciplinary decision. There is an entire process that occurs after you submit one. A panel is tasked with reviewing the decision, assessing the reason for you want to override this decision, and ultimately deciding if they have valid reason to intervene and affirm your request.
When is it Appropriate to Appeal?
You should appeal if you honestly believe that you didn't do what you were accused of. I've been involved in a number of cases where the plagiarism detection software came up with a false positive, or a professor discerned the situation incorrectly. You should also appeal if you feel the severity of a sanction isn't proportionate with the action you allegedly committed.
You should not appeal if you've admitted in any capacity that you did what you were accused of. Merely being dissatisfied with the outcome of a hearing or a sanction isn't enough to convince a panel to consider your appeal. Neither are the following reasons:
- You were under stress when the incident occurred
- You did not realize that what you were doing was against school rules
- Other people did what you did, but they didn't get caught
- Your professor didn't clarify that what you did was against school policy etc.
The appeals process only concerns whether or not a violation occurred, not why it occurred.
The Appeals Process
Different schools in Washington have different appeals processes, and the following is one example of what may take place when academic misconduct charges are made against a student:
The first step of filing an appeal is writing a letter to the faculty member's dean explaining that you've been unjustly accused. It's important that this letter be clear, straightforward, and detailed. This is where an attorney-appeal advisor can be an advantage, especially if your writing skills aren't that great. A legal professional can help you draft a well-written and convincing letter that will urge the panel to schedule a hearing on your behalf.
At a hearing, a panel comprised of faculty members and students will hear your account of events and ask you questions. You'll also be responsible for presenting evidence and making a statement. After hearing all the facts, the panel will then 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.
Washington Academic Appeal Advisor
Sometimes your academic demise isn't your fault. 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 represented a wide range of students in all stages of their educational journey, from undergraduate students to doctoral students. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 to get back on track.
- Antioch University Seattle
- Argosy University Seattle
- Bates Technical College
- Bellevue College
- Bellingham Technical College
- Big Bend Community College
- Cascadia Community College
- Central Washington University
- Centralia College
- City University of Seattle
- Clark College
- Clover Park Technical College
- Columbia Basin College
- Cornish College of the Arts
- DeVry University Washington
- DigiPen Institute of Technology
- Eastern Washington University
- Edmonds Community College
- Everest College Bremerton
- Everest College Everett
- Everest College Tacoma
- Everest College Vancouver
- Everett Community College
- Faith Evangelical College & Seminary
- Gonzaga University
- Grays Harbor College
- Green River Community College
- Heritage University
- Highline Community College
- International Academy of Design and Technology Seattle
- ITT Technical Institute Everett
- ITT Technical Institute Seattle
- ITT Technical Institute Spokane Valley
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology
- Lower Columbia College
- Northwest Aviation College
- Northwest College of Art
- Northwest Indian College
- Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building
- Northwest University
- Olympic College
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Peninsula College
- Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom
- Pierce College at Puyallup
- Renton Technical College
- Saint Martin's University
- Seattle Community College Central Campus
- Seattle Community College North Campus
- Seattle Community College South Campus
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- Shoreline Community College
- Skagit Valley College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- Spokane Community College
- Spokane Falls Community College
- Tacoma Community College
- The Art Institute of Seattle
- The Evergreen State College
- Trinity Lutheran College
- University of Phoenix Western Washington Campus
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Washington Bothell Campus
- University of Washington Seattle Campus
- University of Washington Tacoma Campus
- Walla Walla Community College
- Walla Walla University
- Washington State University
- Wenatchee Valley College
- Western Washington University
- Whatcom Community College
- Whitman College
- Whitworth University
- Yakima Valley Community 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 Washington 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 Washington 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.