Getting into college is no small feat. You spend four years studying, taking tests, joining clubs, playing sports, and hoping and praying to get into your first school of choice. This is why it can be incredibly difficult and confusing when you are accused of academic dishonesty. At the University of Missouri – St. Louis, students are expected to maintain high standards of academic integrity. As such, claims of academic misconduct are adjudicated quickly. Unfortunately, this means that students who show up for these proceedings insufficiently prepared run the risk of being suspended or expelled for the alleged behavior.
All students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis are allowed to work with attorney-advisors from the moment they are notified of these allegations. Attorney-advisors work tirelessly to gather evidence, question witnesses, and build strong defenses that are sure to get the best possible outcome for your case. The Lento Law Firm has helped hundreds of college students navigate allegations like these. Call the Firm today.
Academic Misconduct at the University of Missouri – St. Louis
At the University of Missouri – St. Louis, students are expected to uphold the university's code of conduct, which includes statements on academic integrity. Their Board of Curators has defined academic honesty as “essential for the intellectual life of the University.” Any violation of academic honesty constitutes academic misconduct.
The exact definition of academic misconduct varies from school to school, but it typically involves any behavior that gives a student an unfair advantage over other students. At UMSL, it includes:
- Plagiarism: using another's ideas, words, or results without giving them credit
- Cheating: using course materials, information, or devices during an exam or assignment without permission
- Allowing someone else to copy from you
- Sabotaging another student's work or intellectual property
University of Missouri – St. Louis Academic Dishonesty Procedure
One a faculty member suspects a student of committed academic misconduct, they must assign an appropriate grade for the exercise in question (a failing grade, a remedial grade, or a parallel exercise) and submit relevant information to the Office of Academic Affairs. They will also send a written statement to the Director of the Office of Academic Integrity of the matter.
The Director will notify the student of the accusations and set up an appointment with the student within five days. During this meeting, the student will be informed of the claims and any evidence the faculty member has submitted. At this point, the Director has the authority to impose sanctions or other consequences on the student. They will inform the student of their decision by using a specific form that gives the student the option to accept the sanctions or asking for a hearing before the Student Conduct Committee.
If the student challenges this informal meeting, the Director and the student will meet before the Student Conduct Committee for a formal hearing. During this hearing, you will have the right to present an argument as to why the claims of academic misconduct are incorrect. You will also have the opportunity to question witnesses and exhibit evidence, as well as cross-examine the Director's evidence and witnesses. When both parties have been heard fully, the Student Conduct Committee will determine whether or not the accused student has violated the academic integrity policy and what sanctions should be imposed.
Sanctions are meant to curb the behavior of the student. As such, they should not be more or less severe than the conduct in question. Possible sanctions may include:
- A warning
- Loss of privileges
- Discretionary sanctions like work assignments or service to the University or community
- University housing suspension
- University housing expulsion
- University dismissal
- University suspension
- University expulsion
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision at the University of Missouri – St. Louis
If the student or Director wants to appeal the Student Conduct Committee's decision, the University Chancellor will review it. Appeals must be made in writing within five calendar days of receiving the committee's decision. A copy of the Petition for Review must be sent to the non-appealing party. So, if you are found not responsible, and the Director is seeking an appeal, you must answer this Petition for Review within five calendar days.
Generally, there are grounds on which the appeals need to be made. Specific grounds will vary from school to school, but typically they are as follows:
- There were procedural errors that affected the outcome of the case
- There is new evidence present now that was not reasonably available during the hearing that would affect the outcome of the case
- The sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the facts at issue
The Chancellor will review the appeal and determine if the student has a right to a review of the hearing. If they determine you do not, the committee's decision is final and cannot be appealed further. But if they decide that an appeal is warranted, the Chancellor's decision on the appeal is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
If you are accused of academic misconduct, it can have significant consequences that affect life outside of campus. For instance, if you are found responsible for committing academic misconduct and sanctioned with suspension or expulsion, those penalties will be noted on transcripts. When you try to apply to another college to finish your degree or to a graduate school to continue your education, you will have to explain those notations to any admissions officer who inquires. Additionally, if you are forced to retake the course, you will have to wait until it is offered again. Some courses, which are required to graduate within your major, are only offered once a year, forcing you to push off your graduation date until it is completed.
Hiring an attorney-advisor as soon as you learn of these allegations is incredibly important. Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm, have the skills and unmatched passion for creating strategic defenses that are sure to lessen any negative consequences you might face. Attorney Lento has worked with hundreds of students across the county who have been accused of academic misconduct. He understands how complex these issues can be and he knows what to do to achieve a successful outcome. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.