East Carolina University (ECU) takes academic integrity very seriously. The university expects its students to carry themselves in the most honorable and principled ways as they make their way through their coursework.
The school exercises a zero tolerance policy when it comes to academic dishonesty. It believes that academic dishonesty damages the school’s reputation, and it will enact strict penalties to punish the offenders.
What is the Student Conduct Process at ECU?
ECU has a Student Code of Conduct Process in place. This process lists out policies and procedures that must be undertaken if a student is accused of any type of misconduct. Approved by the school's Chancellor, it's been created based on extensive input from the faculty, students, and staff of the university.
Its intended purpose is to not only ensure that ECU's mission of academic integrity is enforced and upheld but to also provide the broadest protections and freedoms for every member of the ECU community in the face of any type of accusation.
What Are Some Types of Academic Misconduct at ECU?
There are several types of academic misconduct that can get a student into trouble at ECU.
- Plagiarizing work or having someone else write your paper and passing it off as your own work.
- Submitting the same paper or essay two or more times is another form of academic misconduct.
- Falsifying or fabricating documents relating to coursework
Many students may not realize that behavior they consider small and inconsequential or behavior that “everyone is doing” is actually academic misconduct and could get them kicked out of school with repercussions that may very well affect the rest of their lives. Having an attorney/advisor on your side will ensure your rights are protected as you mount a vigorous defense.
What Happens When a Student Is Accused of Academic Misconduct at ECU?
When a faculty member suspects that a student has committed an academic integrity violation at ECU, they'll contact the student and schedule a meeting. The student has to respond to the notice within seven calendar days. If the student responds to the notice, they'll then meet with the faculty member to discuss the violation. If the two parties can't come to a resolution, a formal departmental hearing will be held. If the student decides not to respond to the notice, a decision on the allegations will be made without their input.
That decision will then be sent to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR). By not responding, the student has basically forfeited their ability to defend themselves. This means that the school could rule against them, and the decision that the school comes to will be final and will end up going on their permanent record.
If you're in this position, you could face penalties that have long-lasting consequences for your future educational and career options.
Who Can Be With You During an Academic Misconduct Hearing?
If you decide to go through with the hearing, you can have a non-participating observer who can be a family member, a student who isn't involved in the violation, a parent, or a faculty member. This person may take notes for you, but they can't present info or speak on your behalf.
What If The School Confirms the Allegations Against You?
If the school determines the allegations of academic misconduct are true, a decision will be handed down. At this point, you can decide to abide by the school's ruling or appeal.
If you accept the ruling, the school will impose sanctions, and the case is closed. If you decide to appeal, the Academic Integrity Review Committee will review the case. You have to submit an “Academic Integrity Violation Appeal Form” to the OSRR within seven days of the decision. If the appeal is granted, the matter will go before the Academic Integrity Appeal Board (AIAB). The AIAB is made up of five UCAI (University Committee on Academic Integrity) members consisting of three faculty members and two students chosen to work on your specific case. This board will hear the matter and either affirm the faculty member's decision, amend the decision, or not affirm the decision. If the appeal is not granted, you have seven days to submit a second appeal. The Academic Integrity Appeal Board will again review the evidence and make a decision.
What Actions Could the AIAB Take?
The AIAB could determine that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the charge. If that's the case, any penalty imposed by the faculty member will be removed.
If the violation is determined to be true, the university has several options.
- The board could recommend that the Chancellor suspend the student for a set period of time.
- It could also recommend that the student be permanently expelled from the university. That expulsion will be entered into the student's permanent record.
- If a student has already graduated, the board could possibly recommend that the student's degree be revoked.
- If the student is a graduate assistant, the board could recommend that that student's removal from employment.
- Graduate students may be dismissed from their graduate academic programs.
- Some students may be required to attend counseling sessions with a member of the university staff. This is often a requirement if the student wants to return to school.
Why Is Academic Misconduct So Damaging to a Student's Reputation?
Some people don't understand the severe impact that academic misconduct can have on a student's record. A confirmed charge of academic misconduct remains on a student's permanent record forever. Those marks could place very serious obstacles in their way when it comes to applying for internships or to transfer from the school, applying to graduate schools, or successfully completing job applications. For this reason alone, it is absolutely imperative that students accused of academic misconduct have legal representation that allows them to protect themselves. Even though they can't have a lawyer at the hearing, they can greatly benefit by having someone working on their behalf who has experience with these types of cases.
Reach Out for Help
Many students underestimate how negatively academic misconduct can affect their lives until it's too late. If you're dealing with this issue, reach out to attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 so that you can find out more information about the options that may be available to you. Attorney Lento and his Firm have helped countless students overcome academic misconduct allegations across the United States and they can help you also. Your future is too important to not have the best possible defense.