As a member of the University of Texas System, the University of Texas at Dallas has strict standards regarding student conduct. The UT Dallas Student Code of Conduct requires students to maintain a high level of honesty, integrity, and character in academic endeavors.
All UT Dallas students must also uphold the Comet Creed, which is as follows: “As a Comet, I pledge honesty, integrity, and service in all that I do.” Academic misconduct is a breach of both the Code of Conduct and the Comet Creed.
If you face allegations of academic misconduct by UT Dallas, you may not know what to do next. In this article, we'll review how UT Dallas treats matters of academic dishonesty. We'll also discuss how an attorney can defend you against allegations.
What is Academic Dishonesty?
Every UT Dallas student must exercise academic integrity. The university can charge you with academic dishonesty if you jeopardize the equal opportunity to education.
The UT Dallas Student Code of Conduct prohibits all forms of academic dishonesty. They forbid the “big four” forms of dishonesty:
- Plagiarism. Stealing ideas and representing them as your own. Examples of plagiarism include submitting purchased papers or paraphrasing someone's work without citing them.
- Collusion. Preparing and submitting work made with other students without permission. An example is two students submitting a substantially similar paper.
- Cheating. Cheating is a broad category that encompasses any activity that creates an unfair academic advantage. Examples of cheating include copying another student's exam, buying homework solutions, or submitting the same course work twice without permission.
- Fabrication. Fabrication is making false references in coursework. An example is making up statements from cited sources.
How the University of Texas Dallas Responds to Academic Misconduct
The UT Dallas Student Code of Conduct outlines the conduct review process for dealing with academic misconduct allegations. In general, the Dean investigates allegations and makes student discipline decisions.
If a faculty member believes you committed academic misconduct, they will inform you of the allegations. They will also provide you with an opportunity to meet with them. During the meeting, you can dispute the accusation and present information supporting your argument.
After the meeting, the faculty member can either dismiss the allegations or refer the case and recommend sanctions to the Dean. The Dean will review your academic conduct record. They may also request a meeting to investigate the allegations before making a final decision regarding sanctions.
The Dean will notify you via email of their findings and sanctions. At this point, you can either accept or deny the allegations. If you refute the allegations, the university will hold a disciplinary hearing.
What is a Disciplinary Hearing?
A discipline committee consisting of faculty, staff, and students conducts disciplinary hearings. Unlike criminal trials, disciplinary hearings are educational and formal rules of evidence do not apply.
Your disciplinary hearing will abide by the following format:
- The Dean presents an opening statement and evidence
- You make an opening statement and present evidence
- The Dean calls witnesses
- You call witnesses
- Both parties may make closing statements
- The discipline committee can question all parties and witnesses at any time
After the hearing, the discipline committee will determine whether you committed the offense. If they find you guilty, they will recommend sanctions to the Dean. The Dean must only move forward with sanctions if there is credible evidence that proves the charges.
What Is the Punishment for Academic Misconduct?
An academic misconduct violation can result in significant sanctions. Violating the Student Code of Conduct can lead to any of the following punishments:
- Written warning
- Developmental probation
- Educational sanction
- Disciplinary probation
- Withholding of grades, transcripts, or degrees
- Revocation of admission, cancellation of enrollment, or withdrawal from classes
- Restitution or reimbursement
- Suspension of rights and privileges
- Grade modification
- Denial of degree
- Community service
- Deferred suspension
- Revocation of degree
UT Dallas keeps permanent disciplinary records of students who receive suspensions, expulsions, revocations of degrees, or withdrawals of diplomas. A disciplinary record on your academic transcript can jeopardize your career and limit opportunities at other universities. UT Dallas also retains records of lesser sanctions for up to five years — which can threaten your academic future.
Your Rights During Disciplinary Proceedings
Although it may seem like you're fighting an uphill battle against the university, you do have rights in disciplinary proceedings. First and foremost, UT Dallas provides students with the right to due process in conduct reviews. They must allow you to respond to allegations and defend yourself.
The Student Code of Conduct Subsection 15 also provides you with the following rights:
- Five days' notice of disciplinary hearings
- Written notification of alleged violations
- Assistance by the advisor of your choice during hearings
- Present evidence and question witnesses during hearings
- Challenge the impartiality of hearing panel members
- Ability to appeal decisions
If the university infringes on any of these rights, you may have grounds for an appeal. An attorney can threaten action against the school should they violate your rights. They can also file an appeal and ensure that you receive fair treatment throughout your hearing.
How an Attorney Can Help
The best thing you can do to defend yourself against academic misconduct allegations is to exercise your right to an advisor. While you have many choices for an advisor to assist you, an attorney is the safest option. A student discipline attorney can collect evidence, witnesses, and statements that prove crucial to your case's outcome.
You must also meet strict deadlines and follow a long list of rules during disciplinary proceedings. An experienced attorney will ensure you don't miss any important steps that might negatively impact your future. They can also use their specialized knowledge to fight back, should the school violate your rights. If necessary, they can threaten legal action should officials fail to follow school rules.
If you face academic dishonesty charges, you need an experienced attorney by your side. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience defending students across the nation. He has the skills to get you the best possible result in your case. With so much at stake, you need the help of a student discipline advisor who can go toe to toe with school officials to ensure a fair process and a favorable outcome. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.