Academic Misconduct at Appalachian State University

At Appalachian State University, academic integrity is of utmost importance to preserving an atmosphere of trust and respect. That's why academic dishonesty allegations are taken extremely seriously. You've worked so hard to get into college, and receiving a notification of academic misconduct can be both overwhelming and scary. Who can you trust? What steps do you have to take next? Your university's top priority is protecting its own reputation. The thought being that if you receive a light punishment, other students may think they can get away with it too. It's thinking like this that makes ensuring your university upholds your due process rights even more important.

If you or someone you love has been accused of academic misconduct at Appalachian State University, working with an attorney from the moment you are notified of these accusations will guarantee you the best possible outcome. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of college students who've found themselves in similar situations navigate these allegations. Call the Lento Law Firm today.

Academic Misconduct at Appalachian State University

The definition of academic dishonesty is different from school to school, but for the most part, it encompasses the notion that students cannot act in a way that would give them an unfair advantage over other students unless they have the university's express permission.

Appalachian State University defines academic misconduct as:

  • Lying
  • Cheating: intentionally using, or trying to use, unauthorized materials on an exam, paper, or other academic exercise
  • Multiple submissions: submitting all or portions of the same work for different courses without permission
  • Plagiarism: using another's ideas, words, or results without giving them credit
  • Giving or receiving assistance without the instructor's permission
  • Stealing academic materials (like tests, library books, answer keys, or computer programs) to get an advantage over other students
  • Assisting another student in violating the academic integrity code

Appalachian State University Academic Dishonesty Procedure

The university encourages all faculty members and staff to report suspicions of academic misconduct. Once the Office of Student Judicial Affairs is made aware of the incident, the process followed will initially be up to the instructor. For instance, an instructor may decide to resolve the issue without a formal process.

If the instructor decides to follow an informal process, they will meet with the accused student and give them an opportunity to present their side or admit responsibility. In instances where the student admits responsibility or at the very least agrees to allow the instructor to impose a sanction, the instructor will determine which sanction is necessary based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Generally, the sanction imposed will be requiring the student to retake the assignment or receive a failing grade for it. This resolution is final and cannot be appealed after the fact.

The Office of Student Judicial Affairs will become involved in the matter if the student does not agree to the sanction or continues to remain adamant of their innocence. In these cases, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs will serve as the hearing officer. The hearing officer must investigate the incident, oversee the hearing process, and refer appeals to the provost.

During the hearing, the student will be given the opportunity to present witnesses and relevant testimony, as well as cross-examine witnesses and evidence presented by the university. Additionally, the student can have an advisor present to help them prepare for the proceeding, determining which questions to answer and what testimony to confront.

Once the hearing is finished, the hearing officer will determine whether, based on a preponderance of evidence, the accused student is responsible of academic dishonesty and what sanctions to impose. Possible sanctions will include:

  • Probation
  • Disciplinary suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Referring the decision to the instructor so that he might reduce the grade for the assignment or course or fail the student for the assignment or course
  • Workshops on academic integrity

Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision

You have the right to appeal the hearing panel's decision. Appeals must be made in writing, within five business days of receiving the panel's decision, to the provost or their designee.

The appeal must include the reason for the appeal, as well as any supporting evidence, and can only be made on the following grounds:

  1. A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the case; and/or
  2. There is new evidence that wasn't reasonably available at the time of the hearing that could affect the outcome of the case.

The provost, or their designee, will review the appeal and determine if the hearing determination should be affirmed, whether the sanction imposed should be modified, or if the entire matter should be remanded so that it can be reheard. Whatever the outcome, it is final. The provost's decision cannot be appealed further.

How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help

If you are accused of academic misconduct, the allegations can have long-term consequences that affect more than just your life on campus. For instance, if you are found responsible and punished with expulsion or suspension, those sanctions are noted on your transcripts. This means that if you are trying to get into another college to finish your degree or you are attempting to enroll in graduate school, you will have to explain the incident to any admissions counselor who requests more information. Further, for students who are found not responsible, or were falsely accused, it may affect who you trust in the future. The point of college, besides getting your degrees, is to create lifelong friendships and relationships, including with those who can help guide you forward such as professors, administrators, and others at your school. If you believe you can't trust anyone, those friendships will be hard to maintain.

But don't worry, there are still several steps you can take to guarantee the mitigation of these negative consequences. The first step is hiring an attorney-advisor as soon as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experienced fighting for students accused of academic misconduct at Appalachian State University and across the country. These are complex matters that require the right approach. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.

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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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