Academic Misconduct Charges at Wichita State University

If you've ever tried to protest a parking ticket at your university, you know it's no fun tangling with school administration. That's particularly true if you're facing a charge of academic misconduct.

Most schools put faculty in charge of deciding whether you're guilty or innocent and of coming up with an appropriate punishment. There's a reason the American justice system doesn't let the police sentence the accused. When your fate rests in the hands of a single individual, and that individual is convinced you're guilty, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to prove your innocence.

Oh, sure, your school probably has procedures in place to appeal your instructor's decision. Good luck trying to navigate the system, though. Wichita State's policy is so complex they've published a flow chart to try and help students make sense of it.

Below, we do our best to explain it all. The most important thing you should know, though? If you're defending yourself from an academic misconduct accusation, you're going to need help. So, as a bonus, we'll also tell you how to get that help.

How Does Wichita State Define Academic Misconduct?

The first challenge in dealing with Wichita State's academic integrity policy is getting a handle on just what qualifies as a violation. You can't defend yourself if you don't understand what you're being accused of doing. WSU lists ten separate types of violations.

  • Plagiarism: Trying to pass another person's work off as your own without giving them due credit
  • Unauthorized use or possession of materials: Using any resource that hasn't been expressly authorized by your instructor. This can include anything from referencing your textbook during a closed-book exam to downloading an essay from an online paper mill.
  • Unauthorized collaboration: Working with someone else to complete your coursework unless, of course, you have your instructor's permission
  • Fabrication: Falsifying work or documentation. Making up lab results qualifies; forging a doctor's note to get out of a quiz does as well
  • Academic interference: Tampering with or sabotaging another person's work is expressly forbidden. “Interference” doesn't have to involve another person, though. Defacing library books counts.
  • Unauthorized resubmission: You're not allowed to submit the same work in two different courses unless you've been given permission ahead of time.
  • Facilitation: Helping someone else commit academic misconduct is its own offense.
  • Bribery: Just offering something of value in exchange for a good grade will get you in trouble.
  • Selling or distributing academic materials: You aren't supposed to give others any course materials. This includes obvious examples like copies of exams, but it also includes things like study guides and even lecture slides.
  • Research misconduct: This one is so complex it has its own policy. Basically, it has to do with conducting research in ethical ways.

Procedures and Penalties in Academic Misconduct Cases

How does WSU deal with policy violations? That's where the flow chart comes in.

Wichita State makes clear that the primary responsibility for investigating and punishing instances of academic misconduct rests with instructors. Your professor can't apply disciplinary punishments, like probation or suspension. However, they have wide latitude in deciding what academic sanctions to give you. These can include anything from a makeup assignment to a failing grade on the assignment to a failing grade in the course.

In addition to punishing you themselves, faculty must also report any violations to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS). This office maintains offense records and has the power to punish repeat offenders with disciplinary sanctions up to and including expulsion.

So far, so good. If it's your first offense, you accept responsibility for committing academic misconduct, and you accept whatever punishment you've been given, the process is simple. The complications arise when you're innocent or when a professor assigns a penalty that's all out of proportion to the offense. Here's what happens in those instances:

  • You'll be invited to an Informational Meeting with a Conduct Administrator. This person will explain the charges to you, make sure you know your rights, and give you a chance to see the evidence against you.
  • Next, you'll defend yourself at a formal hearing before the Academic Integrity Committee. The committee itself is a panel of three to five members of the WSU community, including faculty and at least one student representative.
  • At the hearing, the school will present evidence against you and call any relevant witnesses, including your instructor. You'll have the opportunity to make your case as well and to cross-examine any witnesses against you. All questions, though, must be directed to the panel members who actually ask them.
  • You may choose an advisor to accompany you to the hearing, but this person's role is strictly advisory. That is, they may not address the panel directly.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the panelists will review the evidence and come to a conclusion about whether or not you are responsible for academic misconduct. Decisions are made by a majority vote and based on the “preponderance of evidence” standard. If the panelists believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense, you'll be found responsible. The panel also has the power to reduce your sanction if they feel it is warranted.

Joseph D. Lento, Academic Misconduct Advisor

It is no exaggeration to say that an accusation of academic misconduct has the potential to derail both your academic and professional careers. A plagiarism notation on your transcript can cost you scholarships, keep you from getting into graduate school, and even hurt your chances of getting a good first job. A suspension or expulsion can completely derail your undergraduate education, leaving you with the student loan debt, but without the degree.

You don't have to just accept these outcomes, though. Whether you are entirely innocent, made an honest mistake, or believe you deserve a more reasonable sanction than what you've been given, you can—you should—fight for your future.

You don't want to take on that fight alone, though. You need someone who can stand up for your rights, someone who knows the system and can help you navigate it.

Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who specializes in academic misconduct cases. He's represented hundreds of students, just like you, helping them defend themselves from all types of allegations. He's dealt with everything from simple plagiarism accusations to complex cheating scandals. Joseph D. Lento knows how to work with faculty and administrators. He's on the phone every day, helping to resolve university cases. He speaks the lingo. Make no mistake, though: Joseph D. Lento is tough as nails. He'll make sure you get the very best possible resolution to your case.

If you've been accused of academic misconduct, don't wait. Contact Joseph D. Lento today at 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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