Academic Misconduct Charges at the University of North Dakota

College is hard enough as it is. You're trying to deal with a bipolar roommate; the dorm showers have left you with a foot fungus the doctor can't identify; you can't understand a word that your German calculus professor has said all semester. The last thing you need is an accusation of academic dishonesty.

So, you're careful. You follow every rule to the letter, you make sure every source in every paper is fully cited, and you suck up to your professors whenever you can. That's not always enough. Schools these days have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to cheating allegations, and they can be downright draconian in the punishments they assign.

If, despite your best efforts, you should find yourself one of the accused, it's important you know that you don't have to handle the problem all on your own. Of course, it's no easy task to take on an instructor, let alone the weight of your university's administration. So, before you go into battle, you'll want to make sure you know exactly what you're up against. Even more important, though, you'll want to make sure you've found an attorney-advisor to help with the fight.

How the University of North Dakota Defines Academic Misconduct

Every university defines academic misconduct just a little differently. It's important you know how your particular school defines it, not just so you can avoid making a mistake, but so you know exactly what you're defending yourself from when you're accused.

In terms of academic integrity, UND's Code of Student Life focuses on “Acts of Dishonesty” and highlights three particular types of violations.

  • Cheating: First up, the policy mentions cheating. It actually offers several examples, including copying someone else's work, buying a copy of a test before it's administered, and having someone else take an exam for you. Here's the bottom line, though: Cheating involves the unauthorized use of any resource in completing your coursework. If the answers don't come from your brain, and you don't have permission to use whatever source you got them from, you're probably cheating.
  • Plagiarism: UND defines this as “the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means” another person's work and submitting it as your own. Keep in mind: “work” is a broad term. It doesn't just refer to text. You can plagiarize ideas, images, even computer code.
  • Collusion: Finally, UND makes clear that helping someone else commit misconduct makes you just as guilty as the person who's getting the benefit of the misconduct.

It's worth noting that the policy clearly states that academic dishonesty is “not limited to” these three offenses. That is, the school reserves the right to treat other acts and behaviors as misconduct. In particular, instructors have virtually free reign to create the rules for their own courses. As a result, knowing the rules means more than just understanding the three violations above. It also means taking the time every semester to read through every course syllabus so you can't be caught off guard by any accusation.

Academic Misconduct Procedures at the University of North Dakota

If you're going to successfully defend yourself, you also need to know the judicial procedures in place at your school. How much power, for instance, does your professor actually have, and how do you go about appealing their decisions?

Of course, as with most schools, classroom discipline at the University of North Dakota is primarily in the hands of instructors. They get to set policy in their courses, they're responsible for identifying violations, they conduct investigations, and ultimately, they get to assign sanctions as they see fit. Typical sanctions include

  • Verbal or written warnings
  • Makeup work or re-tests
  • Lowered grade on the assignment, including a zero
  • Lowered grade in the course, including an F

In addition, instructors at UND are required to submit documentation of all misconduct to the school, which can then add disciplinary punishments, such as suspension or expulsion, for repeat offenses.

You do have the right to challenge your instructor's decisions. Every school and college at the university has its own procedures for resolving such grievances. Typically, these involve taking your complaint up the chain of command. You might start, for instance, by meeting with the head of the department in which your course is listed. If the department head reaffirms the instructor's decisions, you might then take your case to the dean of the school that houses the department.

If this process should fail, you have the right to appeal your case to the University's Student Academic Standards Committee. In making its decision, this committee reviews the entire record, including witness testimony, relevant documents, and statements from both you and the instructor.

How Joseph D. Lento Can Help

Students don't always object when they're accused of misconduct, even if they're innocent. Sometimes it seems like too much work to collect evidence, fill out paperwork, and meet with school officials. Better just to accept the charge and the punishment that goes with it than go to that kind of trouble.

The problem with that thinking is that any charge and any sanction, no matter how small, can have serious repercussions for your academic and professional careers. If a warning for academic dishonesty happens to wind up in your academic file, it could cost you scholarships, interfere with grad school applications, and even give you trouble at job interviews. It is always in your best interest to fight for your academic reputation.

Joseph D. Lento can help. Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. That means he knows how to construct air-tight arguments, organize evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. Day-to-day, though, he applies those skills to help get justice for students like you. Joseph D. Lento knows the law and particularly how it applies to higher education. He also knows how to communicate effectively with faculty and administrators. Whether you've been charged with something big, like coordinating a large-scale cheating conspiracy, or small, like forgetting to cite a source in a paper, Joseph D. Lento is ready to help you get the very best possible resolution to your case.

If you've been accused of academic misconduct, contact Joseph D. Lento today to find out what he can do for you. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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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