Academic Misconduct at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Like universities across the country, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville takes academic integrity very seriously. The school's Student Code of Conduct has language that encourages all students at the University to make a personal commitment to uphold the virtues of academic integrity. In addition to encouraging students to follow this philosophy, it's also responsible for setting the ethical guidelines that students should follow throughout their academic careers. With students and faculty working together, the school ensures that the core values behind its degree remain in place.

To that end, the University of Tennessee Knoxville has no tolerance when it comes to dealing with academic dishonesty. If you've been accused of academic misconduct at the school, you could be dealing with sanctions that range from automatically failing a course to being kicked out of the school. Depending on the alleged infraction, you could be looking at sanctions that will have a very deep impact on the rest of your life.

What is the University's Honor Statement?

At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, every student is encouraged to abide by the University’s honor statement. The statement says that “As a student of the University, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.”

The Student Code of Conduct at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is basically the University's blueprint for how students and faculty members are supposed to conduct themselves in every aspect of school life, including academics. It lists out the different types of academic misconduct and what is supposed to happen if a student is accused of some sort of transgression.

What Happens When a Student Is Suspected of Academic Dishonesty?

According to the Code of Conduct, if a staff or faculty member suspects that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, they need to submit an incident referral report to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS). Students who may witness or hear about another student committing academic dishonesty or misconduct are not forced to make a report, but the University does encourage them to do so.

How Is Plagiarism Defined at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville?

According to the University, plagiarism is when a student takes the intellectual property of another personal institution and pass it off as their own. This definition goes on to include the student illegally using another people's words or ideas in any format or medium of communication. The only time that this is excused is if the information that was used is assumed to be common knowledge. The University takes plagiarism so seriously that the penalties range from failure of and dismissal from a course to expulsion from the University. A more granular definition of plagiarism at the University includes the following.

  • Summarizing content without citing the source
  • Using elements like statistics, pictorial representations, graphs, and other information without citing the original source
  • Collaborating on a graded assignment without getting the instructors express approval
  • Using a professional service or the services of an individual who hires themselves out to write essays or complete other academic tasks

What Are Some Other Types of Academic Dishonesty?

In addition to plagiarism, there are many other types of academic dishonesty that a student could get in trouble for. They include some of the following.

  • Receiving unauthorized help or information during an exam or on a particular academic assignment
  • Using unauthorized materials when taking an exam
  • Receiving or providing assistance connected to field work, lab work, or any other type of academic assignment without permission
  • Intentionally falsifying data on a project or any other type of academic work
  • Taking an exam for another student or having another student take an exam for you
  • Submitting the same work that you did for one course in another course without getting permission from the original instructor or the present instructor
  • Forging someone's signature or allowing someone else to forge a signature on any type of university related document
  • Ignoring the specific instructions or procedures listed out for an exam or an assignment, giving you an unfair advantage
  • Behaving in any way that unfairly puts other students at a disadvantage academically

One key thing to note about all of these transgressions is that you don't even need to have been successful at cheating. The mere appearance of cheating could land you in hot water.

This is why having an attorney-advisor on your side may help you navigate this process. If you're found guilty of academic misconduct, the imposed sanctions could end up upending the rest of your life, so you need help with how to proceed.

What Happens When a Student Has Been Accused of Academic Misconduct?

Once an instructor suspects a student of academic misconduct, they have to follow the school's student misconduct process. The instructor will contact the student about the alleged act, describing information that they have supporting the allegations, and give the student an opportunity to respond.

The instructor can impose an academic penalty for the transgression if the student doesn't respond to the allegations within five days of first being contacted. The penalty could include sanctions like failing or reduced grades, loss of credit for the work that the student submitted, additional assignments, or an oral or written reprimand.

The instructor has the ability to impose more than one academic penalty. After imposing the academic penalty, the department head has to sign it. One copy is then sent to the student and others are submitted to the SCCS, the Dean, and any other associated parties.

The student will receive an email from the SCCS. This email will contain an appointment time where the student will be allowed to meet with the SCCS and give their side of the incident. This meeting is called the Educational Conference.

What Happens During the Educational Conference?

During the Educational Conference, the student (respondent) has the opportunity to either deny the instructor's allegations or file an appeal against the academic penalty that was imposed. The respondent is also able to present information and identify witnesses. During this conference, SCCS and the respondent will be able to ask each other questions and clarifying information.

this point the SCCS will either decide to take no action, investigate the matter further, or come up with another resolution with the respondent. If the SCCS believes that a violation did take place, it will recommend the sanction.

At this point, that student has the opportunity to either accept the sanction or request that the matter be elevated to a formal appeal hearing. During this part of the process, the SCCS will avail students of all of the options available to them at that time. The student has to submit a written notice of appeal of academic penalty to SCCS within five business days.

What Types of Sanctions Could Be Student Be Hit With?

There are several factors that go into sanctions at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. The University says that the purpose of the sanction is to help educate the respondent about appropriate conduct, help the respondent develop both professionally and personally, and to discourage students from violating the school's standards of conduct.

The sanctions levied against the respondent are supposed to be in proportion to the alleged transgression, but that may not always be the case. The school will determine what constitutes “proportional”, and you as a student may not agree with them. This is why it's so important to get an attorney-advisor on your side who understands the nuances of academic misconduct and sanctions so that you can understand how to best advocate for yourself.

Some sanctions the school could impose include the following:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • Deferred suspension
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Withholding of or revocation of a degree

Why Are Sanctions Such a Big Deal?

Depending on the sanction you receive, you could be looking at an uphill battle trying to set up the rest of your life. You need to be able to provide a strong defense so that you get the best possible outcome for your situation.

If you are expelled from the University due to academic misconduct, all of the information pertaining to your expulsion goes on your permanent record. You won't be able to return to the school, and it may be difficult for you to get accepted into another school. If your degree is revoked, you could lose all of your future professional opportunities.

When seeking employment or to further your education, expect that businesses and educational institutions will request disciplinary checks or background checks regarding current or former University of Tennessee – Knoxville students. Even academic probation can cause major consequences. If you have any sort of academic misconduct on your record, things could be extremely difficult for you in the future.

Academic misconduct violations need to be taken seriously. You should never assume you will just be able to skate by when it comes to academic misconduct. The University is going to go out of its way to prove the allegations against you. You're going to have to do everything in your power to build your defense. Reach out to the Lento Law Firm online, or call 888-535-3686.

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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