Academic Misconduct Accusations at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

Let's start with a dose of reality: academic misconduct is serious business. We won't waste your time explaining why honesty and integrity are so important to your development as a scholar or why it's vital you master material now if you hope to succeed in your career. All of that is true. It's also true that if you're caught cheating, you'll likely pay a heavy price.

You may think a lowered grade on an assignment or even an F in a class is no big deal. Sometimes even innocent students accept sanctions like these. Keep in mind: multiple offenses can get you expelled, and even a minor sanction like a warning can cause problems if it's reported in your academic record. You could lose scholarship money, you might have trouble applying for internships and graduate programs, and certainly, a record of cheating can come up during job interviews.

Whether you're entirely innocent or looking to minimize the effects of a mistake, you need to treat every accusation seriously. That means building a strong defense, gathering evidence, and learning all you can about how your school handles these cases. It also means finding a qualified attorney-advisor to help.

Defining Academic Misconduct at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

You may have a general sense of what constitutes academic integrity, but do you really know in concrete terms what the rules are at your school? Obviously, knowing the rules can keep you from getting into trouble in the first place. It's also essential to defending yourself, though. Only when you understand exactly what you've been charged with can you hope to prove your innocence.

Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville maintains a strict Academic Code (Policy 3C2) that outlines its expectations with regard to integrity. That code lists four types of violations.

  • Plagiarism: In simplest terms, plagiarism involves the attempt to pass another person's words or ideas off as your own. Plagiarism can be deliberate or accidental. In addition, the term doesn't just apply to text. You can plagiarize music, video, and even computer code. In fact, many professors these days penalize students for using images they found online without properly citing those images.
  • Cheating: This single word covers a multitude of sins. At root, it means using unauthorized materials to complete your coursework. “Unauthorized materials,” though, can refer to anything from advanced copies of an exam to another person.
  • Failure to follow clinical practice standards: SIUE places a heavy emphasis on field experience—putting what you learn in the classroom into actual practice. In conjunction with this emphasis, the school also expects you to maintain high standards of behavior and follow any and all rules set by the clinical supervisor.
  • Falsifying or manufacturing scientific data: Whether you're working in the lab or out in the community, it's vital that the results you report are the results you actually obtained.

Finally, you should know that attempting to break the rules and helping others to break the rules are treated the same as actually breaking the rules yourself.

SIUE Sanctions and Procedures

SIUE's code goes on to describe what happens when you're accused of academic misconduct. The good news is that the school offers you the opportunity to defend yourself. The bad news is that process isn't always easy to follow.

As you might expect, classroom instructors have the primary responsibility for identifying and punishing instances of misconduct. If they suspect you of committing a violation, they are supposed to meet with you and offer you a chance to give your side of the story. Ultimately, however, they have the power to assign a sanction if they believe you are guilty.

Sanctions can include:

  • Verbal or written warning
  • Re-submission or makeup work
  • Educational assignment on the nature of academic misconduct
  • Lowered grade on the assignment in question, up to a zero
  • Lowered grade in the course, up to an F
  • Removal from field experience

Instructors also have the power to levy additional sanctions for particularly serious offenses, including probation, suspension, and expulsion. In addition, instructors must report all incidents to the Provost and the Dean of the given college. These officials keep records of infractions and can impose more serious sanctions for repeat offenses.

You do have options if you choose to dispute either the charge itself, the sanction, or both. The specific option depends on the nature of the charge and sanction.

  • For any offense that doesn't involve probation, suspension, or expulsion, you may grieve your complaint through the school's Student Grievance Code. This may involve either an informal resolution or a formal grievance administrative hearing.
  • If the proposed sanction is probation, suspension, or expulsion, you have the right to defend yourself at a formal hearing before a Faculty Hearing Panel.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville allows you to choose an advisor to help you prepare for your academic misconduct case. Even better, that advisor can be an attorney. Make sure you choose the right one, though. Few lawyers have experience with student disciplinary cases. They don't know how campus hearings work; they don't know how to talk with faculty and administrators; they don't know what rights you should be entitled to as a student. As a result, they can actually make the situation worse.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. That means he knows how to construct air-tight arguments, organize evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. Day-to-day, though, he applies those skills to help get justice for students like you. Joseph D. Lento knows the law and particularly how it applies to higher education. He also knows how to communicate effectively with faculty and administrators. Whether you've been charged with something big, like coordinating a large-scale cheating conspiracy, or small, like forgetting to cite a source in a paper, Joseph D. Lento is ready to help you get the very best possible resolution to your case.

If you've been accused of academic misconduct, contact Joseph D. Lento today to find out what he can do for you. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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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