Academic Misconduct Defense at Montclair State University

Montclair State University, just 12 miles from New York City, was named New Jersey's best public university by Forbes. Carnegie has also designated the school a Research Doctoral University. As such a prestigious school, Montclair State highly values academic honesty and integrity. Subsequently, if you or your loved one is facing allegations of academic dishonesty, it's critical that you not ignore the allegations. Taking action immediately and seeking out an attorney with experience in this practice area can help ensure you receive the best possible outcome. They will be able to navigate the process with you and negotiate with the school on your behalf, if necessary.

Academic Dishonesty at Montclair

You can find Montclair State University's approach to Academic Dishonesty in their Academic Dishonesty Policy, which lays out several components of what types of behavior constitute academic misconduct. Primarily, it's any attempt to either turn in work without proper citation or to inappropriately help someone else with completing work that “requires independent work.”

Although these very broad strokes seem to not offer much guidance, in fact, they leave open the interpretation to a very broad understanding on the part of the faculty member who alleges the behavior. The school does offer several examples of what could be academic dishonesty, including:

  • Changing test/exam answers after the fact and then stating that the instructor mis-graded the work
  • Helping someone else with any work that they are preparing for credit
  • Collaborating on a test or exam without prior permission from the instructor
  • Purchasing, obtaining, selling, or otherwise engaging with a portion of a (or the entire) test or exam in order to gather information about the exam and potential questions/answers

What are Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct?

If the faculty member believes that there is a clear case of cheating, there are a few different possible consequences. First, at the course level, they may either assign a failing grade to the assignment in question or, they may choose to assign a grade of F for the entire course.

If it turns out that the student had a previous academic dishonesty incident, then the case will be turned over to the University Director of Student Conduct in order for further adjudication. When this occurs, the Director will use the hearing process for non-academic matters. In this instance, then, probation, suspension, and expulsion are all potential sanctions that the Director could impose.

Disciplinary Proceedings for Academic Dishonesty at Montclair State University

The investigatory process begins when a faculty member or instructor believes that academic dishonesty has occurred. The first step that the Academic Policy requires is that the faculty member speaks with the student who is involved. After speaking with the student, they should proceed to discuss the allegations with the department chair.

At the department level, the first stage is for the faculty member (together with the chairperson) to ascertain whether or not the allegation seems to have guilt of intention. That is, they should ask whether or not the student intended to commit the academic integrity violation or if it was an accidental error.

Once they've made this determination, there are two possible routes. For students where it seems like an error in practice rather than intention, they may choose leniency. If they do so, then together, the chair and the faculty member will decide whether or not the assignment should be graded zero, or they may allow the student to attempt to redo the task in a way that shows that the student can complete the assignment through their own work.

For students where the chair and instructor have determined that the academic dishonesty was intentional, the sanctions are more severe. As mentioned in the section above, they may assign an F for the assignment or even for the course.

In addition to these academic sanctions, the student's name will be placed on the University Academic Dishonesty List. When this occurs, the student will receive a written formal notice. At this stage, the faculty member can also decide to refer the case to the University Director of Student Conduct or to take no other “formal conduct action.”

Given the ambiguity of this process, it's very important that as soon as your student receives notice from a faculty member of an allegation, you reach out to an attorney who can assist you. Everyone deserves due process, and an experienced attorney who truly understands how to work with colleges and universities can make sure that you get that.

If the case is referred to the Director of Student Conduct, you can consult CANVAS, using your student login, to learn more about the proceedings that would follow.

Are Appeals Allowed for Academic Honesty Violations?

The Montclair site is unclear as to whether or not appeals are possible for academic dishonesty (although they do exist for other code of conduct violations). We recommend that you review CANVAS for more information, using your student login information.

Academic Integrity Defense Attorney for Montclair State University

Academic dishonesty allegations should be taken very seriously, perhaps even more seriously at Montclair than if you were at another school, especially since the majority of the process is handled directly by the faculty member who has made the charge of academic misconduct. If you or a loved one is facing these allegations, you should contact an academic defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have partnered with hundreds of families across the nation to ensure that students receive the best possible outcome in these circumstances. They bring great expertise as well as unparalleled experience. Trust that you can have peace of mind when they are standing by your side and helping you navigate this process. Contact them by calling 888.535.3686 or entering your information online.

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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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