Getting into college is quite the fete, especially nowadays when grades and standardized test scores are not enough to set you apart from other applicants. It can then feel completely overwhelming if you are accused of academic misconduct. Suddenly, your dream of graduating from National University is about to disappear in the blink of an eye. What can you do? Who can you trust? Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm, have spent years helping college students across the country who have been accused of academic misconduct. Attorney Lento and his expert team will create a strategic defense that is sure to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Call today.
Academic Misconduct at National University
Depending on the university you attend, the definition of academic misconduct will vary. Usually, though, it means any action that gives a student an unfair advantage over other students. At National University, students are presented with a Student Code of Conduct on the first day of school. The university expects students to read it cover to cover to know how they are to behave on campus. In this code of conduct, National University has outlined the incidents that constitute academic misconduct:
- Failing to properly acknowledge the author of quotes on an exam, assignment, or other academic exercises
- Copying from or viewing another student's work during an exam
- Collaborating on an exam or other assignment with another person without express permission
- Submitting the same work to multiple courses
- Using materials that are not expressly permitted during an exam or assignment
- Falsifying or signing another person's name on any academically-related University form or document
- Purposefully sabotaging or tampering with another student's work
This list is, of course, not exhaustive.
National University Academic Dishonesty Procedure
When an incident or suspicion of academic misconduct is reported, the university will conduct an initial assessment of the incident and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to move forward with a Student Code of Conduct violation. If a formal complaint of the violation is made or an educational conference is set up with the accused student, and during the course of the conference, the student does not admit responsibility, the matter will be referred to a formal hearing. The same is true if the student rejects the sanctions suggested during the educational conference.
When the allegations are contested, an official hearing will take place. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your side of the story and any relevant evidence and witnesses that might be relevant to your argument. You will also have the opportunity to cross-examine other witnesses and evidence that the Conduct Officer presents.
If the decision-maker determines that the student has violated the code of conduct, the Conduct Officer will recommend sanctions that should be imposed to the Director of Student Affairs. The Director of Student Affairs will review and finalize the sanctions.
The purpose of sanctions is to show the student that their behavior is immoral or unethical. Therefore, they should not be more egregious than the action itself. Possible sanctions might include:
- A warning
- Loss of privileges
- Educational sanctions
- Community/University service
- Confiscation of prohibited property
- Behavior requirements like counseling
- Educational programs
- University probation
- Eligibility restriction
- University suspension
- University expulsion
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision at National University
National University students can appeal the decision-maker's determination. Appeals must be made within five days of receiving that decision, barring extraneous conditions. Appeals are not meant to be a second hearing, instead they are intended to serve as a method of reviewing the hearing record, including any evidence and witnesses presented. Appeals can only be made on one of the grounds listed below:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing
- There is new evidence available now that was not available during the hearing that might have affected the outcome
- The sanctions were inappropriate or disproportionate for the nature of the misconduct
All appeals will be made using the form found on the Office of Student Conduct webpage. The appeals coordinator will review the appeal and determine if the request meets one of the grounds listed above and was made on time. Then they will draft a response to the appeal request and notify the student of whether the appeal was granted, denied, or some other rationale was present.
If the appeal is not submitted on time or does not follow under one of the grounds above, it will be dismissed, and the original decision will stand. If the appeals coordinator determines that the appeal has standing, they will either refer it to the appeals panel or send it back to the original decision-maker within 3-5 business days. The party assigned to oversee the appeal with then determine if there should be a change in the findings and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are generally made within ten business days of the appeal's submission.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Academic misconduct allegations and sanctions have serious, long-term consequences. For instance, if you are expelled or suspended because of these allegations, those punishments will be noted on your final transcripts from the university. When you go to apply to another college to finish your education, or to graduate school, you will have to explain the incident on every admissions application. This is especially true if you wish to attend law school, or another professional program, where student ethics are extremely indicative of professional responsibility. Law schools will require you to explain yourself over and over again, during both the admissions process and throughout your time on campus.
When students work with an attorney-advisor from the moment they are notified of the academic misconduct allegation, it guarantees they have the best defense for their case. Attorney-advisors know how complicated these grievance processes can be, and so they will work diligently to gather evidence and witnesses to testify on your behalf. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have an unmatched experience supporting students accused of academic misconduct. They know how to mitigate unnecessary consequences and preserve your time on campus. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.