If you or a loved one is facing allegations of academic dishonesty at Tufts University, you are likely worried about your future. Or perhaps you believe the truth will automatically prevail. Academic misconduct is a strong allegation, however, and you must take it seriously because you cannot depend on the school to necessarily do what is right or appropriate to the circumstances regrettably. Tufts University is a prestigious university that highly values academic integrity and will do what is believes is necessary to address such concerns - whether that is fair or not is a different consideration. Ultimately, you don't want to throw out the time and effort that you exerted to get into Tufts, nor the thousands of dollars spent on tuition. The impact on your future career or academic studies could be very serious. Here's an overview of some of the most important components of academic misconduct at Tufts University.
Academic Misconduct at Tufts University
Information about what behavior constitutes academic misconduct at Tufts University can be found here. Some examples of unacceptable behavior are: plagiarism, research misconduct such as fabrication and falsification of data, and any collaboration beyond what a professor specifies. Additionally, students must follow any course-specific direction from an instructor. One interesting thing of note from the policy is this: “Minor or accidental instances of failing to follow for proper scholarly procedure may be addressed with the academic setting.” In other words, some instances may be addressed directly in class by a professor or instructor.
What is the Student Conduct Resolution Procedure?
The Student Conduct Resolution Procedure (SCRP) is Tufts University's process for how to resolve cases that violate any of the school's standards, including Academic Integrity guidelines. TheOffice of Community Standards receives all complaints of academic dishonesty and follows the student conduct resolution procedures to determine responsibility and sanctions. Tufts designed the SCRP to be accessible and easy to understand.
An Overview of the Disciplinary Proceedings at Tufts University
When the Office of Community Standards receives an allegation of academic dishonesty, the Director will review the allegation and assign it to a conduct officer. This conduct officer will review the information, investigate if necessary, and determine if the allegation falls under SCRP's jurisdiction. If it does, there are four methods of resolution that the conduct officer may select from: administrative decisions, restorative conferences, hearings, and sanctioning hearings. Once the conduct officer chooses a method, if the allegation is determined to be true by the preponderance of the evidence standard (it is more likely than not that the behavior took place), then sanctions are issued.
What is the Procedure for a Hearing?
If you have a hearing at Tufts for academic misconduct, you will receive a notice of the date at least seven business days before the hearing. At that time, you'll also receive a deadline for when you need to submit any documents for the hearing. Your panel hearing will consist of five members—at least one student and three faculty members. On the actual day of the hearing, the allegations will be reviewed, and then each side gets no more than ten minutes to present opening statements. From there, both parties will ask questions of witnesses, and the panel may also ask questions. After closing statements, the panel will deliberate and provide notice within ten business days of the hearing of their decision and any potential sanctions.
What are Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct?
There is a range of potential sanctions at Tufts University for academic misconduct. They're separated into several different categories. The first category is that someone may have to participate in a workshop or seminar. Some examples of what thought could look like include an academic integrity seminar or plagiarism prevention tutorials. Another category of sanctions would be along the lines of disciplinary status. A student might have their status changed to “probation”; a less extreme example of this would be a written warning or reprimand.
More severe sanctions for academic misconduct would be suspension and expulsion. These sanctions can result in serious long-term consequences that far exceed a student's time at college. A change in status at the school can impact financial aid packages or awards, leaving the student or their family with financial debt. If noted on a permanent academic record, sanctions may also impact future applications to graduate school or for employment.
Regardless of other sanctions, if a student is found responsible for academic misconduct, there will be a grade change. The conduct officer or hearing panel will make a recommendation to the instructor, which can range from a zero or failing grade on the assignment to failure of the course.
Can I Appeal a Finding?
Tufts University has gone to great lengths to ensure that the SCRP process is a fair one; they are very explicit that an appeal is not a re-hearing or a reconsideration of the allegation. An appeal involves impartial members of the community reviewing the decision and ensuring that the standards of SCRP were followed and that the decision is consistent with it.
You may appeal a finding from a Hearing or a conduct officer. However you may not appeal a decision from a restorative conference. The three grounds under which you can appeal a decision are:
- Denial of Fair Process
Denial of Fair Process means that the procedures inside the student conduct review process were not followed in a substantial manner. This divergence must have had a significant impact on the outcome.
- Newly Available Information
This occurs if there is substantive and relevant information that was not available at the time of the resolution or that couldn't have been uncovered originally by due diligence.
- The severity of the Consequences
This means that the sanction does not match the sanctions that are appropriate for the situation. It must be a significant amount of variance.
Expert Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor
If your academic career is at risk because of academic misconduct allegations, you don't have to face this challenging time alone. An experienced attorney-advisor can help you plan out the best defense for your investigation and hearing. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped thousands of students across the nation face similar charges. They bring heart and expertise to every case they handle. Contact the Firm online or call us today at 888.535.3686 to help you through this difficult time.