At the University of North Florida, students are expected to abide by several rules. One of these rules is to refrain from academic misconduct. If you are accused of academic misconduct, you might feel very overwhelmed. Who can you turn to for help? What steps do you take next? The university's priority is to protect its reputation. They will work quickly to adjudicate incidents of academic misconduct in an effort to show the other students such behavior is not appropriate. As such, some accused students find their due process rights are lost in the shuffle. If you or someone you love has been accused of committing academic misconduct, hiring an attorney-advisor is the best way to ensure the university upholds your due process rights. Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento, have worked tirelessly for years to protect university students from being unnecessarily punished because of academic misconduct accusations. Call Lento Law Firm today.
Academic Misconduct at the University of North Florida
The University of North Florida is committed to creating an academic environment full of integrity, respect, accountability, and innovation. At the beginning of the school year, students are given a Student Code of Conduct, which they are supposed to read and familiarize themselves with. The code of conduct contains the rules and policies students are expected to follow while attending UNF. One such policy covers academic misconduct.
While the definition of academic misconduct differs from school to school, most schools define it as any action that gives a student an unfair advantage over another student. At UNF, academic misconduct includes:
- Misuse of technology: stealing or misusing computer resources
- Unauthorized collaboration on an assignment, exam, or other coursework
- Copying or attempting to copy another student's work or allowing another student to copy from you
- Multiple submissions: submitting all or portions of the same work for different courses without permission
- Plagiarism: using another's ideas, words, or results without giving them credit
- Sharing, posting, purchasing, or obtaining course materials without the explicit written permission of a faculty member
- Permitting another person to use your identity to take an exam for you
The University of North Florida Academic Dishonesty Procedure
Any member of the university community can report a student for academic misconduct. When the university becomes aware of such an incident, they will reach out to the accused student for a preliminary discussion. During this discussion, the university will decide if an alternative dispute resolution is appropriate.
If the university decides that an alternative dispute resolution process is warranted, the accused student will meet with the Program Coordinator for either conflict coaching, facilitated dialogue, or mediation. All three options involve the accused student meeting with a university designee in the hopes of helping the student come up with an alternative option to improve the situation.
If an alternative dispute resolution process is not appropriate, the university may launch a more formal investigation into the incident. The student will be made aware of any information, evidence, or witnesses the investigator uncovers at least five days before the hearing. The accused student will also be invited to a pre-disciplinary hearing review. During this review, the student will be able to discuss the allegations and review the reports and materials that support the university's case.
At the administrative hearing, you will have a chance to present your argument, evidence, and witnesses, as well as respond to the university's evidence and witnesses. If you are found responsible, the university will determine which sanctions to impose on you. Possible sanctions may include:
- A reprimand
- Restorative services
- Reflective learning
- Educational programming
- Counseling assessment and compliance
- Disciplinary probation
- Course-specific/program-specific probations
- Restricted access to university housing areas or other areas on campus
- Banned from holding leadership positions
- Loss of university recognition
- Transcript notations
- Withholding of registration, diplomas, or transcripts
- Revocation of academic credit, diploma, degree, or certificate
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision at the University of North Florida
At the University of North Florida, students may appeal the official hearing decision to the Provost or their designee. This request for an appeal must be made in writing within five class days of the date on the official hearing decision letter. In your request, you will want to include all supporting documentation, and remember, this request can only be made on specific grounds.
The grounds for appeal include:
- Errors in the hearing proceedings that significantly affected the outcome of the hearing
- There is new information that wasn't reasonably available at the time of the hearing that would substantially change the outcome of the case
- The sanctions imposed are significantly disproportionate to the violation committed
The Provost or their designee will assign someone to review the appeal. It is your job to prove one or more grounds listed above has occurred. The appellate officer will then affirm, modify, or reverse the official decision or order a new hearing. This decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Being accused of academic misconduct can have several long-term consequences. For example, holding leadership positions in Student Government or as a Resident Assistant would look great on employment or graduate degree applications, but if you are banned from holding a leadership position, you won't be able to take advantage of either. Additionally, if you are forced to fail a course that is a prerequisite for your major, you may not be able to move forward in your major until the next time it is offered. If you are a junior or senior, waiting a year for a prerequisite to be offered could significantly delay your graduation date.
The best thing you can do for your case is hire an attorney-advisor the moment you receive notice of the academic misconduct allegation. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experienced fighting for students accused of academic misconduct. They understand how nuanced these proceedings can be and work diligently to gather evidence and witnesses to defend you. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.