Getting into and going to college is a rite of passage for most teenagers in America. You spend your lives dreaming about what it will be like, who your friends might be, and what clubs you will join. What you never imagine is being accused of academic misconduct and suffering from a slew of potential negative consequences. If you or someone you love has been accused of violating their university's academic integrity, working with an attorney advisor from the beginning will ensure that your University does not allow your case to fall through the cracks. The Lento Law Firm has helped hundreds of students accused of academic misconduct avoid unnecessary and excessive sanctions. Call the Firm today.
Academic Misconduct at Montana State University
Universities across the country have different definitions of academic misconduct, but generally, it is defined as any behavior that gives a student an unfair advantage over others. At Montana State University, academic misconduct includes:
- Cheating: giving, using, or attempting to use materials, information, study aids, or devices on an exam or other academic exercise without permission
- Falsifying or fabricating information or citations on an exam or academic exercise
- Tampering or interfering with university records, grades, assignments, laboratory experiments, or other documents without permission
- Plagiarism: using another person's words or ideas on an assignment or exam as if they were your own
- Helping another student, or attempting to help, commit academic misconduct
- Submitting the same paper or report for credit to more than one university course without permission
- Copying from another student's paper during an exam or test
- Giving out test questions
- Taking a test for another student
Montana State University Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Procedure
At Montana State University, if an instructor believes that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, they will personally meet with the accused student. During this informal conference, they will give the accused student an opportunity to explain the incident. If the instructor continues to believe the student engaged in academic misconduct, they will submit an Academic Misconduct Notification form to the Dean of Students. They may also decide to impose sanctions on the student, which include:
- An oral reprimand
- A written reprimand
- Repeating the work or an alternate assignment
- Lowering or failing the student on that particular assignment or test
- Lowering the students' grade or failing the student overall in their course
The instructor may also request that the Dean of Students file charges against the student for violating the code of conduct. The Dean of Student will set up a hearing so that you can respond to these accusations with a formal argument. At the hearing, you will be able to present witnesses and evidence which proves your argument. When you have been heard fully, the Dean of Student will determine if you are responsible for committing academic misconduct and, if so, what sanctions are appropriate to impose on you. These sanctions may include:
- Removal from the course
- Removal from the major, college, or program
- Withdrawal of your degree or academic credit that was given prior to the incident
- Disciplinary probation
If a student is receiving a second or subsequent instructor-imposed academic sanction, they will be charged with violating the code of student conduct and subject to additional disciplinary sanctions like suspension or expulsion.
Unfortunately, many students believe they can show up unprepared for these procedures and just “wing” their defense. But the reality is students who show up unprepared tend to face the harshest sanctions of all. An attorney advisor will be able to not only prepare a strategic defense in your favor but also how to ask and answer pertinent questions.
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision
Students who receive sanctions for academic misconduct can appeal the instructor's decision by writing to the instructor's Dean within five business days after receiving the instructor's decision. The student must include evidence that this decision was incorrect and exactly what relief the student is hoping for. The Dean will review this information and decide whether or not to uphold the instructor's decision, amend it, or overturn it within five business days.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
If you are accused of an academic misconduct violation, you will face consequences that will go beyond the immediate sanctions imposed. For instance, if you are set on a particular major, and the course you are removed from is a prerequisite to another course you need to take to move forward in your major, you will have to wait until that course is given again. Some courses are only offered once a year, making you push off your graduation by at least a semester. Further, if you are found responsible of committing an act of academic misconduct and punished with an expulsion or suspension, those determinations will live on your transcripts forever, forcing you to explain the issue on every graduate school application and even some job applications. This is especially true if you hope to attend law school, where integrity and ethics are the core values of your education.
Attorney-advisors, like attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm, have worked with hundreds of students across the country who've been accused of violating their university's honor code. They work diligently to ensure the university upholds your due process rights, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.