Students don't always take charges of misconduct seriously. Instead, they try to deal with accusations themselves. After all, what's the worst that could happen? A makeup assignment? A lowered grade on a paper? The fact is, you could wind up on academic probation, suspended, or expelled. Even if the punishment is only a warning, it could cause you problems down the road. When academic misconduct winds up on your record, it can interfere with scholarships, doom internship and graduate school applications, and even affect your job search.
An accusation of academic misconduct is serious business. Your school wants you to simply accept your fate. They're counting on it, in fact. If you should decide to protest, you'll find the justice system is weighted against you. Schools don't like to admit they're wrong, and they'll even bend the rules to protect their faculty.
You don't have to accept this situation. Question every charge, challenge every sanction, and get the very best help you can find to do it.
Defining Academic Misconduct at Northern Kentucky University
If you're going to take your school on and win, you need to know everything you can about what you've been charged with.
NKU says it pretty clearly themselves: “NKU takes academic dishonesty very seriously.” What does that mean in practical terms? The school's Academic Integrity Policy lists eight separate types of violations.
- Academic deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation: This first rule basically does the job for everything that follows. In short, if you know you broke a rule, even one that's not listed below, you've committed misconduct.
- Using prohibited materials: Otherwise known as cheating. You're not supposed to use any unauthorized source to complete your coursework, whether that's a book during a closed-book exam, or another person to take the exam for you.
- Plagiarism: You also aren't allowed to try and pass another person's work off as your own. This applies to written work, visual work, music, and even computer code.
- Taking a test for another student: Ultimately, this falls under number two, cheating, but NKU goes to the trouble of listing it as its own offense.
- Submitting another person's work as your own: Again, sort of already covered under the prohibition against plagiarism, but NKU wants to make sure you understand.
- Submitting the same work to two or more classes: Pretty self-explanatory. You might think of this as using an “unauthorized source” or as “submitting another person's work as your own,” the “other person” in this case being you in another course.
- Interfering with other students' access to materials: Keeping other students from accessing things like studios, lab equipment, or library materials.
- Damaging materials: Physical destruction of studios, lab equipment, or library materials.
Finally, you should know that faculty are ultimately responsible for setting the rules in their own courses. If it's on the syllabus, even if it's not on this list, it qualifies as academic misconduct. The very first thing you should do at the start of every term is carefully review your syllabi for all your courses.
Northern Kentucky Academic Misconduct Procedures
Let's start with the good news: NKU offers students a process for defending themselves that includes the option of a full, formal hearing. The bad news is, that process is complex and can be difficult to navigate.
Primary responsibility for identifying and punishing academic misconduct rests with NKU faculty. If your instructor believes you've violated policy, they are supposed to meet with you to discuss the matter. They should ask for your side of the story and any evidence you might have to prove your innocence. Ultimately, though, they have the right to assign an “academic” sanction. Typically, these include things like
- Verbal or written warnings
- Re-tests, re-writes, makeup assignments
- Lower grade on the assignment in question, up to a 0.
- Lower grade in the course, up to an F.
In addition, your instructor may also report your violation to the Dean of Students. These administrators can impose “disciplinary” sanctions for multiple offenses, including probation, suspension, and even expulsion.
If you choose to contest your instructor's findings or the sanction they've imposed, you can ask for a hearing into the matter. This hearing involves a number of complex rules about everything, from how you submit evidence to what kinds of questions you can ask witnesses. For instance, the hearing Decision Makers don't have to find you responsible (guilty) “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to uphold your instructor's decision. If they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense, they must find you responsible.
How do you make sure you can get through this complicated process? Hire a school misconduct attorney-advisor, someone who understands how campus justice works and has experience representing students. Luckily, NKU's policy allows for you to appoint an advisor to help represent you, and that advisor can be an attorney.
Joseph D. Lento, Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor
It's not each to take on your college or university. You need to make use of absolutely every advantage the school's policies give you. If you have the option to choose an advisor, as you do at Northern Kentucky University, you want to pick the very best advisor you possibly can.
Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who specializes in advising student clients. In other words, he knows how to construct air-tight arguments, organizes 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, or888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.