Academic Integrity Defense for the University of Memphis

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis (U of M) is a public research university (Carnegie tier R1) with more than 20,000 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. Attendees at U of M have worked hard to get there, and allegations of academic dishonesty can derail all the time and energy you or your loved one has exerted. Although you might think that these allegations don't need to be taken seriously, the truth is that they can have a significant impact. In this guide, we'll take a look at what you need to know about academic misconduct at the University of Memphis, including the disciplinary process, the appeal process, and potential sanctions.

Academic Misconduct

U of M offers several places where you can find their definitions of academic misconduct, including this guide to avoid academic dishonesty. All of these locations, however, echo what you can find within the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities, where they offer seven examples of academic misconduct. These behaviors include but are not limited to:

The Disciplinary Process at the University of Memphis

Beyond the level of meeting with your instructor, the Office of Student Accountability (OSA) is responsible for everything pertaining to academic dishonesty. If you've been accused of violating the academic integrity policy at U of M, the first thing you'll want to do is take a look at the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. You'll want to be certain that you're looking at the most recent one, not the old Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. For a short summary, you can access this faculty flowchart that the school provides for instructors. However, the updated Student Code details the disciplinary and investigation process, which we'll take a look at now.

First Steps

You'll hear from your instructor via email of their initial concerns and reply to set up an initial meeting with them. At the end of this meeting, the faculty member will decide whether or not they believe that there's sufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation. If they decide to move forward, then they'll fill out an Academic Misconduct Reporting & Resolution form and select either a “resolution by agreement” or a “resolution by OSA Investigation and Student Conduct Board (SCB) Hearing.”

Resolution by agreement is when you agree to responsibility for the alleged incident. The instructor will choose resolution by investigation and SCB hearing if you deny the allegations. Once OSA receives the form, they will begin their investigation. This can include interviews of witnesses and more. After the investigation, OSA will hold an Educational Conference, where they will meet with you and discuss the incident. When this step concludes, the OSA will provide a written Notice of Allegations; this indicates that they have concluded it is “more likely than not” that the alleged academic misconduct took place. At this stage, you are able to choose to continue to a formal hearing with the Student Conduct Board. If you do want an SCB Hearing, you have five business days to request one in writing.

U of M provides you with Pre-Hearing Information which outlines your rights and responsibilities, including the fact that you are allowed to have an advisor to assist you with the process. The advisor, however, may not speak at the hearing without explicit authorization.

Hearing Procedure

The Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities goes into great detail to explain how the hearing works in section nine and outlines the formal rules in 9.10. The Chairperson is responsible for asking all questions; however, you can propose questions for them to consider. If suspension or expulsion are the sanctions that were recommended, then you may have the right for your advisor to cross-examine any witnesses.

At the end of the hearing, you will have an opportunity to make a closing statement. The SCB will deliberate in private and decide whether or not the Conduct Educator has presented sufficient information to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that you violated academic integrity, as the Notice of Allegations had alleged. If they decide that the allegations are founded, then they will decide on sanctions by majority vote.

You will receive a Notice of Decision within 15 business days.

Possible Sanctions for Academic Integrity Violations

If you're found responsible for allegations of academic misconduct, there are a range of potential sanctions that U of M might choose to impose. First, there are educational sanctions, where you would have to complete something such as RAISE System for Academic Integrity Education which has five sections and a test after each section, or the Ethics in Action Online Workshop. Other possible sanctions include a failing grade on the assignment or in the course, suspension, and expulsion.

Is There an Appeal Process?

It is possible to appeal an academic dishonesty decision under certain circumstances. First, in instances where the sanction is suspension, expulsion, or revocation of degree, you have “the right to a contested case hearing under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (“UAPA Hearing”), Tennessee Code Annotated § 4-5-301 et seq. which is conducted in accordance with state law and the University's procedures for conducting contested case proceedings.”

Second, in instances where the Grounds for Appeal meet one of three qualifications: new information has been discovered that could have a substantial impact, there was a procedural error that could have changed the decision, and finally, that there was a conflict of interest.

If you wish to appeal, you have ten business days to file the appeal. OSA will respond to your request within five business days with a determination of whether or not your request is valid. If it is, an Appeal Reader will review the record of the hearing and make a final decision.

Best Attorney-Advisor for Academic Misconduct Defense

An experienced attorney-advisor can ensure that you do the best possible job of protecting your (or your loved one's future) when facing allegations of academic misconduct. The Lento Law Firm and Joseph D. Lento have helped countless students navigate these proceedings and clear their names. Reach out today at 888.535.3686 or contact them online for more information.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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