The Bearcat nation takes academic misconduct seriously, as well they should. A university with a reputation for dishonesty can't be trusted to provide a full, rigorous education to its students.
You should take academic misconduct just as seriously and for the same reasons. Your reputation matters, and if you're found guilty of cheating, that finding could follow you for years. An academic misconduct notation on your transcript makes it difficult to transfer to another school, and any employer will think twice about hiring you if they think you can't be trusted.
If you should find yourself accused of academic misconduct, your first job is to educate yourself about the University of Cincinnati's policies for dealing with such allegations. Your second job is to contact an attorney who specializes in academic misconduct cases. Don't try to fight the charge alone. University judicial policies are notoriously complex, and you need someone on your side who knows how to navigate the bureaucracy.
Defining Academic Misconduct
In general terms, academic misconduct includes any action that gives someone an unfair academic advantage or that undermines the learning process. In more concrete terms, the University of Cincinnati lists five specific kinds of academic misconduct.
- Aiding and abetting academic misconduct: This one is listed first in the student code of conduct. The school wants all of its students to understand that helping someone else to cheat is just as serious as cheating yourself.
- Cheating: The code of conduct lists several examples of “cheating,” such as “representing academic work by another person as one's own.” In simplest terms, though, cheating means using “dishonesty or deception” to fulfill an academic requirement.
- Fabrication: Fabrication involves knowingly falsifying information, and it can include a variety of different behaviors. Fabrication can mean something as serious as lying on a scholarship application form, but it can also mean inventing a source for your English midterm.
- Plagiarism: Students often think of plagiarism as copying another person's work, but there are actually many ways to plagiarize. Something as simple as failing to cite a source in a paper counts as plagiarism. Turning your own work in to two different courses counts as well.
- Violating ethical or professional standards: This catchall category of academic misconduct appears at the end of the list and is designed to give the university a way to deal with any violations that don't fit its previous definitions.
The resolution process at the University of Cincinnati can include up to three levels. The accusation can be resolved directly by the faculty member and the student. Failing this, the case is heard by a three-person panel. Finally, the decision of this panel can be appealed to an appeals committee.
- Faculty-student resolution: Academic misconduct allegations often begin with a meeting between the student and the faculty member who has made the allegation. In some cases, the accusation may arise out of a simple misunderstanding, and the instructor can simply choose to dismiss the case. Of course, a student may accept responsibility for the violation as well as any penalties the instructor assigns. Sometimes this is the best option, particularly the instructor is recommending is light. However, it is important to remember that even with this type of resolution, the academic misconduct is included in the student's academic record.
- Hearing: If a student denies the allegation or protests the instructor's sanction, the case moves to a hearing. A three-member panel presides over this hearing. That panel consists of a hearing chair, a faculty representative, and a student representative. The student may select an advisor to help them through the process, and this advisor may be an attorney. However, the advisor cannot address the panel. He or she may only provide written advice or confer quietly with the student. In addition, both sides in the case have the right to submit written questions of the other party or of any relevant witnesses.
- Appeal: A student has the right to appeal the hearing's findings. These appeals are made to the vice president for student affairs, who appoints a committee of between two and five faculty and staff to decide the case. Appeals can only be filed for very narrow criteria, including new evidence or proof of hearing panel bias.
What kinds of penalties can you face for academic misconduct at the University of Cincinnati? The possibilities range from a formal reprimand or an academic sanction like course failure, to academic probation, suspension, and even expulsion.
Again, perhaps the most important thing to remember about these penalties is that even a reprimand becomes part of a student's record. A record of academic dishonesty can have consequences for the remainder of the student's academic career and into the student's professional career.
Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento specializes in student academic misconduct cases. He has unparalleled experience representing clients just like you. He knows university policy and how to work within it to get you the very best possible outcome. More importantly, he knows how to make sure you are treated fairly and that you get all the rights you deserve. Joseph D. Lento won't just work for you, he'll work with you to protect your academic reputation.
If you or your child has been accused of academic misconduct at the University of Cincinnati, contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.