Going to college is a right of passage for many students. Maybe you're the first person in your family to attend college or the first to pursue this particular degree. Whatever it is, you've worked incredibly hard to be there. You never expect to be facing disciplinary charges for academic misconduct allegations, and it might feel like your dream of the future is slipping away. Who can you trust? What are the next steps?
Don't worry, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping students in similar situations as your own. If you have been accused of academic misconduct, working with an attorney is the best way to ensure your university upholds your due process rights. Call the Lento Law Firm today.
Academic Misconduct Defined at Oakland University
The specific definition of academic misconduct will vary from school to school. Generally, though, it covers any behavior or action that gives a student an unfair academic advantage without the university or professor's explicit permission.
At Oakland University, academic dishonesty refers to the following situations:
- Cheating on an exam or other academic assignment. For example, if a student uses a book on a closed book exam or prepares notes and smuggles them into the exam, that would be considered cheating.
- Plagiarizing the work of others. An example of plagiarism would be using the words, thoughts, or ideas of another and trying to pass them off as your own or without giving the original author credit in your assignment.
- Cheating on lab reports by falsifying or making up data
- Falsifying records
- Collaborating on an assignment with another student without permission
- Submitting work for multiple courses or submitting the same piece of work over and over for one course
Oakland University Academic Dishonesty Procedure
All faculty and staff are expected to report their suspicions of academic dishonesty to the university. The instructor will create a clear roadmap of the incident so that the person reviewing it will be able to follow along. Unfortunately, there are instances where professors elaborate or completely omit specifics of the incident. If you believe this has happened, you will want the advice of an attorney advisor to help you navigate the issue. It is imperative that the university be made aware early on of these omissions or elaborations.
Once the university is aware of an allegation of academic dishonesty, it will launch a formal investigation into the matter. If the university believes there is enough preliminary evidence to warrant a hearing, they will offer the student the option of an administrative or committee hearing.
Committee hearings allow the student to present witnesses and other relevant testimony for the committee to review. Students will also be given the opportunity to cross-exam witnesses the university presents. Choosing to undergo an administrative hearing effectively forfeits your right to bring and question witnesses and present evidence on your behalf.
Both hearing procedures allow for the decision-maker to determine responsibility and what sanctions might be necessary given the circumstances surrounding the incident. Possible sanctions may include:
- Deferred suspension
- Removal from Oakland University
- Suspension of an organization
- Revocation of your degree
- Withholding your degree
Additionally, at Oakland University, they have a particular sanction called “Persona Non-Grata,” which restricts the student's access to the entire campus or certain areas of campus.
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision
Once you are notified of the hearing committee's determination of responsibility and on the sanctions they've placed on you, you have ten working days to appeal it. Appeals must be made in writing to the designee specified in the notice and can only be made on the following grounds:
- A procedural error or irregularity affected the outcome; or
- There is new evidence that was not reasonably available during the hearing that could affect the outcome.
If the appeal is based on a procedural error, you will want to include details on what the procedural error was and how it prevented a fair outcome. And if it is based on new evidence, you will want to specify in detail what the new evidence is, how it affects the outcome, and why it wasn't reasonably available during the hearing. The appeal decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
For students accused of academic misconduct, the allegations can have long-lasting consequences. For instance, if you are found responsible, and the university chooses to punish you with suspension or expulsion, those decrees can be noted on your final transcript. If you decide to apply to another school to finish out your college degree, or if you decide to apply to graduate school, you will have to explain those notations to any admissions officer or teacher who asks about them. With a disciplinary record that needs to be disclosed, many academic and professional doors will close unfortunately. Additionally, falsely accused students may find that their reputations have been harmed despite being found not responsible.
If you are accused of academic misconduct at Oakland University, it is imperative you contact an attorney-advisor as soon as possible. Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm, will be able to lessen any damaging consequences these accusations might bring about. Attorney Lento is an experienced advisor who has worked with hundreds of students across the county overcome academic misconduct allegations. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.