Before anything else, Princeton University is an intellectual community. Academic integrity is the cornerstone of all intellectual communities, as it requires all members to trust each other in several respects. All members should be able to trust that their ideas will be respected; to trust that their ideas will be accounted for and evaluated; and most importantly, trust that they can openly express their ideas without fear that someone else will take credit for them. Nonetheless, others should be able to trust that the ideas, words, and research presented by each member are their own.
Students who violate Princeton's Honor Code are taking advantage of the blind trust intellectual communities need to thrive. Therefore, colleges don't look too fondly upon those accused of academic misconduct. Guilty determinations of academic misconduct have jeopardized students' college careers and have haunted them in their professional lives as well.
What is Academic Misconduct?
Any behavior that doesn't align with Princeton University's honor code is considered academic misconduct. But that's a pretty broad range of actions that could potentially be considered violations. Here are a few examples of actions that could constitute academic misconduct.
- Cheating: the act of using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work or preventing, or attempting to prevent another from using authorized assistance, material, or study aids.
- Plagiarism: using the ideas, research, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment.
- Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise.
- Multiple submissions: submitting, without prior permission, any work submitted to fulfill another academic requirement.
- Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in an academic exercise.
- Misrepresentation of academic records: tampering or misrepresenting with any portion of a student's transcript or academic record, either before or after coming to Princeton University.
Misconduct can occur in any academic situation including, but not limited to, a course research project, independent study, presentation, qualifying examination, preliminary examination, or dissertation.
Princeton University's Disciplinary Process
Instructors are given the discretion to either mitigate alleged academic infractions themselves or to transfer the case to the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline for resolution. Princeton's committee typically considered 20 to 30 cases a year.
If a student is alleged to have violated the university's academic regulations, he or she will be first asked to meet with an assistant, the associate dean of undergraduate students, or an independent investigation. The details of the case will be discussed and the student will get a chance to explain what happened and defend themselves. If the claims are perceived as inadequate, the case may be heard by the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. The student will be given time to prepare a statement, request witnesses to be interviewed, collect relevant documents as evidence, and enlist the help of an advisor to be present at the hearing.
The faculty member bringing the allegation will be present at the hearing. The student may be accompanied by an advisor, who can participate fully in the proceedings. An attorney can assist a student in a behind-the-scenes capacity. Both the students and the instructor will provide a statement of their account of the events, and the committee will follow up with questions. Then both parties will make a final statement. The committee will deliberate immediately after final statements. If the committee determines that the student has violated university regulations then sanctions will be imposed. If the committee deems the student innocent, the case will be dismissed.
The committee may administer any one of the following penalties, depending on the severity of the academic violation: warning, disciplinary probation for a set period of time, withholding of degree for a set period of time, suspension, suspension with conditions, or expulsion.
When determining the seriousness of an offense, the committee considers whether the student ought reasonably to have understood that their actions violated the standards of academic integrity at Princeton.
A student may appeal a decision and/or penalty of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline to the Judicial Committee or to the dean of the college. The judicial committee considers appeals based only on questions of procedural error or unfairness. The dean of the college will consider an appeal on either of two grounds: (1) that there exists substantial relevant information that was not presented, and reasonably could not have been presented to the committee, or (2) that the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct. After a review, the dean of the college may decide that an additional hearing is warranted or may recommend to the president that the penalty may be altered. If the appeal does not provide convincing grounds for an additional hearing or for altering the penalty, the dean will affirm the original finding and penalty. The dean's decision is final.
New Jersey Academic Integrity Attorney
An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.