Academic Misconduct at the University of California, Santa Cruz

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is a public land-grant school, one of the ten campuses within the University of California system. UC Santa Cruz, located near the north end of Monterey Bay, just south of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metroplex, is the nearest UC-system campus to the famed Silicon Valley. It enrolls nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students in degree programs spanning the arts, humanities, engineering, physical sciences, biological sciences, and social sciences.

UC Santa Cruz's Commitment

As a public institution advertising the charm of a small liberal-arts school with the depth and rigor of a major research university, UC Santa Cruz must concern itself with the academic integrity of its students, graduates, and program. Indeed, UC Santa Cruz's Academic Misconduct Policy begins by acknowledging that academic integrity is its intellectual cornerstone. The Academic Misconduct Policy refers students to the Code of Student Conduct, especially its Sections 102 and 105, within UC Santa Cruz's Student Handbook for definitions of the prohibited academic misconduct.

In short, UC Santa Cruz necessarily and with some regularity pursues academic-misconduct charges against its students. That's no surprise because academic misconduct within higher education comes in different forms with a long history. Student misconduct also raises significant concern throughout higher education, including at UC Santa Cruz.

Read more here about college academic misconduct. Read below how UC Santa Cruz defines academic misconduct and decides misconduct charges, and to learn what you can do if you face academic-misconduct charges. National academic-misconduct attorney and advisor Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm wants to educate you about legal rights and personal interests surrounding academic-misconduct charges.

Academic Misconduct at UC Santa Cruz

Cheating. Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct includes a long list of prohibited behaviors, some of which involve violent, threatening, or harassing acts, but several of which are traditional forms of academic misconduct. The code's core forms of prohibited academic misconduct, stated and defined in Section 102.01, begin with cheating, defined as fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, or using or attempting to use materials, or assisting others in using materials, which are prohibited or inappropriate in the context of the academic assignment in question. The code gives examples of cheating:

  • providing answers to or receiving answers from others for any academic assignment;
  • using notes, information, calculators, cell phones, or other electronic devices or programs during exams or for assignments from which they have been expressly or implicitly prohibited;
  • improperly obtaining or using improperly obtained information about an exam or assignment in advance of its availability to other students, or assisting others in doing so;
  • putting one's name on another person's exam or assignment; or
  • altering previously graded work for purposes of seeking a grade appeal.

Plagiarism. Section 102.01 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct also includes plagiarism as a core form of academic misconduct, defining plagiarism as the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source and giving as examples:

  • copying from the writings or works of others into one's academic assignment without attribution, or submitting such work as if it were their own;
  • using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment; or
  • paraphrasing the characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device of another without proper attribution.

Fraud. Section 102.01 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct also includes furnishing false information in the context of an academic assignment as a core form of academic misconduct, giving as examples:

  • writing an exam or term paper for another person;
  • soliciting another person to take an exam or write a paper for one's own class;
  • submitting the same piece of work as partial fulfillment of the requirements in more than one course without permission of the instructor;
  • representing oneself as another person, or failing to identify oneself forthrightly and honestly in the context of an academic obligation; or
  • representing, explicitly or implicitly, that work obtained from another source was produced by oneself.

Improper Advantage. Section 102.01 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct also includes creating an improper academic disadvantage to another student or an improper academic advantage to oneself as a core form of academic misconduct, giving as examples:

  • removing, defacing, hiding or deliberately withholding library books or other materials, particularly those with short-term loan periods or on reserve for courses;
  • contaminating a laboratory sample; or
  • altering the indicators of a practical exam.

Other Academic Misconduct. Section 102.01 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct includes interfering with instruction and theft or damage of intellectual property as other core forms of academic misconduct. Other violations of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct that may relate to an instance of academic misconduct include damaging or destroying university property or the property of a student or staff member on campus, and violation of the university's computer-use policies.

Misconduct Procedures at UC Santa Cruz

Section 103 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct refers to different policies for undergraduate and graduate students, for the procedures the university must follow to resolve academic-misconduct charges. UC Santa Cruz's undergraduate-misconduct procedures begin with the instructor meeting with the student suspected of academic misconduct. The instructor adjusts the student's grade depending on the instructor's determination of any misconduct. The instructor also completes an academic-misconduct form for college-provost review.

If the student agrees with the college provost's determination of academic misconduct, then the provost imposes a sanction. If the student disagrees, then the provost forwards the misconduct charge to an Academic Tribunal that decides the charge based on the submission, after further invited submissions, or after hearing, as the Tribunal determines. The instructor and student attend any hearing, at which the student may present evidence and call witnesses. UC Santa Cruz's policy permits the accused student to bring a parent or friend as a support person at the hearing but does not permit that person to participate.

UC Santa Cruz's policy provides that the Academic Tribunal determines disputes charges under the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, not the higher clear-and-convincing-evidence standard. A student found to have committed academic misconduct may appeal the adverse decision.

Misconduct Sanctions at UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz, like other institutions of higher education, treats academic misconduct seriously. Colleges and universities must do so to preserve the integrity of their degrees and programs. You, too, should treat misconduct allegations seriously, based on the progressively severe sanctions UC Santa Cruz may impose. Section 105 of UC Santa Cruz's Code of Student Conduct lists these potential academic-misconduct sanctions:

  • warning or censure;
  • educational or counseling courses;
  • community service;
  • disciplinary probation;
  • loss of privileges;
  • exclusion from activities;
  • deferred suspension from enrollment;
  • active suspension from enrollment;
  • restitution;
  • dismissal; and
  • revocation of an awarded degree.

An Attorney- Advisor's Role

Students facing academic-misconduct charges most often don't have the procedural skills to navigate the disciplinary proceedings and successfully defend against the charges. The charges may have frightened the student, who may believe that a charge means a violation.

Don't make those mistakes if you face academic-misconduct charges at UC Santa Cruz. Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm is a national academic-misconduct attorney and advisor with the skill and experience to successfully defend against UC Santa Cruz academic-misconduct charges. Even if UC Santa Cruz allows an attorney advisor only a limited direct role in its disciplinary proceedings, Joseph D. Lento can help you assess allegations, identify evidence to present, identify how to challenge the complainant's evidence, and analyze and appeal adverse findings, to defeat false or exaggerated charges.

Skilled advocacy exposes frivolous charges, and in cases where accused students have made a mistake, skilled advocacy can allow for mitigation and the least severe outcome. Don't underestimate the value of an experienced attorney advisor. Academic-misconduct violations affect reputation, education, and career. Thousands of college and university students nationwide have retained Joseph D. Lento at the Lento Law Firm to defend and defeat academic-misconduct allegations. Joseph D. Lento has the expertise to help you navigate and defeat a misconduct charge at UC Santa Cruz. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.

Contact Us Today!


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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