When you graduate from high school, you have so many plans for your life at college. You may hope to join several clubs, play on your school's intramural football team, and make the lifelong friends your parents always talk about. You've been dreaming of this time for most of your life, so when you are accused of academic misconduct, it may feel like those dreams are being taken away. At Western Kentucky University, complaints of academic misconduct are taken exceptionally seriously. If you or someone you love has been accused of academic misconduct, working with an attorney from the moment you are notified of the accusations will ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of college students who've stood in your shoes navigate these allegations. Call the Lento Law Firm today. We can help.
Academic Misconduct at Western Kentucky University
While the exact meaning of academic misconduct changes from school to school, the fundamentals are always the same: any act that gives a student an academic advantage without the permission of the instructor or university.
At Western Kentucky University, they go on to specifically define academic dishonesty as the following:
- Cheating: intentionally using, or trying to use, unauthorized materials on an exam, paper, laboratory exercise, or other academic exercises
- Plagiarism: using another's ideas, words, or results as your own without giving them credit
- Misrepresenting oneself or an organization
- Knowingly furnishing false information to the university
- Omitting relevant or necessary information to gain an advantage or to injure another student
Western Kentucky University Academic Dishonesty Procedure
If your professor suspects you of academic misconduct, they will notify you to set up a meeting to discuss the issue. During this meeting, they will go over the complaint and give you an opportunity to present your side of the story. If you do not accept responsibility, or if they still believe you have committed a violation, they will refer the matter to the Dean of Students and/or the Office of Student Conduct.
After reviewing the case and meeting with the accused student, the Dean of Students or the Office of Student Conduct will determine if there are additional steps to take and may refer the matter to the Director of Judicial Affairs.
When the Director of Judicial Affairs is appointed, he or she will arrange a committee to oversee the formal hearing process. The committee will call the student before them to discuss the incident – what happened, who was involved, etc. – and provide them with an opportunity to present their case. It should also be noted that Western Kentucky University has made it clear that accused students are allowed to have attorney advisors present during these proceedings.
Once the student has finished presenting their case, the committee will determine if there is a preponderance of evidence to show the student did, in fact, commit an act of academic misconduct. They will also decide what sanctions are necessary and/or connect the student to campus resources to help curb this behavior in the future.
If the committee believes sanctions are necessary, they will assign them based on the severity of the misconduct in question. Possible sanctions may include:
- A warning
- Assigning a failing grade for the assignment
- A failing grade for the class without the option to withdraw
- Restricted use of facilities
- Restricted university participation
- Deferred suspension
- Interim suspension
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision
If you are found responsible for violating the academic integrity of the university, you have five business days to appeal the decision in writing to the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Experience. Appeals are only considered valid if one of the following grounds is cited:
- To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly and in accordance with the Office of Student Conduct outcomes.
- To determine whether the decision was based on substantial information.
- To determine whether the outcomes imposed were appropriate and not unreasonably harsh based on the circumstances surrounding the violation.
The Vice President will review the appeal and decide whether or not the decision should be affirmed, modified, or remanded for further review. With the exception of suspension or expulsion punishments, the Vice President's determination of the appeal is final and cannot be pursued further.
If the punishment in question involved a suspension or expulsion and the Vice President upholds it, the student can appeal that determination to the President of the University. The President will determine if the Vice President's holding was consistent with the university's ethical principles and standard of conduct.
If they find that it was, the student can appeal the decision to the Board of Regents. Whatever the Board of Regents decides, it is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Academic misconduct allegations can have disastrous lifelong consequences. For example, if found responsible, at a minimum, the punishment you receive could prevent you from participating in intramural sports, Greek life, or other extracurricular activities. More importantly, these sanctions could also prevent you from graduating at all. Moreover, students who are falsely accused of academic misconduct may face reputational harm you haven't considered yet.
If you are accused of academic misconduct at Western Kentucky University, it is vital you contact an attorney-advisor as soon as possible. Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm, will be able to allay any negative effects you might face. Attorney Lento is a skilled advisor who has worked with hundreds of students across the county. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.