Academic Misconduct Defense at Wayne State University

Located in downtown Detroit, Wayne State University is devoted to the values of integrity, diversity, collaboration, innovation, and academic excellence. Wayne State's laudable commitments to excellence, though, require that it ensure that its students conform to accepted academic standards. The university maintains a detailed Student Code of Conduct. Wayne State students must meet that Code or risk facing the university's charges of academic misconduct. A charge of academic misconduct is a serious problem that can damage your future educational and employment prospects. If you face academic misconduct charges at Wayne State University, then retain national academic misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm.

Wayne State's Academic Standards

Wayne State's Student Code of Conduct prohibits several categories of academic misconduct. Prohibited academic behaviors at Wayne State include:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating
  • Fabrication
  • Reusing work
  • Using a substitute to complete work
  • Academic obstruction
  • Forgery
  • Violation of course rules

Wayne State's Student Code of Conduct defines several of these terms. For instance, academic obstruction is an attempt to limit a student's access to resources or to alter equipment to produce wrong answers for future users. Both the prohibitions and their definitions are important when facing academic misconduct charges at Wayne State. So is the Code's scope. The Code applies to actions that take place either on campus or at university-sponsored events off campus. If you face an academic misconduct charge at Wayne State, know that national academic attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm are available to defend you.

Wayne State's Informal Misconduct Procedures

Wayne State's Student Code of Conduct defines the procedures that the university promises to follow when charging a student with academic misconduct. Initially, a faculty member may lower a student's grade for academic misconduct without filing a formal charge. The student can file a written appeal of the reduced grade to the department head within 10 days. The department head will then allow the student to make an appearance on the matter within 15 days. The decision would be forthcoming within 10 days.

Wayne State's Formal Misconduct Procedures

Initial Review and Investigation. If, instead, the matter proceeds to formal charges, the university's Student Conduct Officer must receive the complaint within a reasonable amount of time if the university is to act. The Student Conduct Officer then begins an investigation. The Student Conduct Officer must notify the accused student and give the accused student the opportunity to examine the evidence in the case file. Within 10 days, the Student Conduct Officer can drop the matter or refer it to the Dean. The Student Conduct Officer can also make a recommended disposition of the charge, which the student has 10 days to accept or decline.

Informal Conference. If the accused student rejects the recommended disposition, then the Dean will give the student a choice of going through a formal hearing or choosing an informal disciplinary conference. If a student does not respond at all to the Student Conduct Officer's recommended disposition, then the Dean may proceed with the recommended sanctions. If the accused student chooses an informal conference with the Dean, the student may present exonerating or mitigating evidence including calling witnesses. The Dean will make a final decision within 10 days. Informal conference rules do not permit appeals.

Choosing an informal conference presents significant risks that the Dean will decide based on individual biases and preferences, and in the school's interests. The accused student has no peers or even professors as decision-makers. A student has the right to have an attorney present at an informal disciplinary conference, but the school can revoke that permission if the attorney is not “improving the quality of the conference.” Do not choose an informal conference without retaining an expert national academic misconduct defense attorney. Attorney Joseph Lento is available for your consultation.

Formal Hearing Panel. If, instead, the accused student rejects an informal conference in favor of a formal hearing, or if the Dean decides that the accusations are sufficiently serious, the misconduct charges proceed to a formal hearing. Each Wayne State college selects two Academic Misconduct Committees at the beginning of the school year. One contains 8 to 24 students, while the other has 8 to 24 faculty members. The hearing panel then consists of three faculty members and two students chosen from the Academic Misconduct Committees. The student will have the opportunity to strike two members from each hearing panel before the committees are selected from the panels.

Formal Hearing Conduct. Usually, the hearing includes the accused student and the charging party, although it can proceed without them. The formal hearing panel hears both sides and may question witnesses. The accused student may remain silent to avoid self-incrimination without prejudice. Either party can ask the Dean to call witnesses on their behalf. These witnesses should make themselves available unless doing so would lead to personal hardship or interfere with university activities. The accused student may have an attorney present if notifying the Dean at least 48 hours before the hearing. The attorney may assist the student in presenting and questioning witnesses. The hearing will be closed to the public unless the accused wants it to be open. It will also be recorded, but a recording failure will not invalidate the hearing.

Hearing Panel Decision. The formal hearing panel may find either that the accused student committed no violations or that the student has violated the Student Code of Conduct. The decision is in the hands of the hearing panel, not the Dean or Student Conduct Officer. The hearing panel decides under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. The hearing panel will issue a written decision with which the school must promptly notify the accused student of its decision, including the appropriate sanction, if any. The written decision gives the accused student a clear conclusion to review with the student's expert national academic misconduct defense attorney.

Appeals. If the accused student loses before the hearing panel, suffers a violation finding, and faces a sanction, then the accused student may appeal the decision. An accused student must personally file an appeal, even if represented by an attorney. The president of Wayne State University decides appeals. The president may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision. A less likely option is to refer the case back to the college for further proceedings. Another appeal option is to request a postponement of the sanction. The president may grant this request unless the Dean demonstrates that the injury to the school would outweigh the damage to the accused due to a denial. The university keeps disciplinary records on file for at least five years unless the student is not guilty. In that case, the record will be sealed and then destroyed after three years.

The Consequences of Academic Misconduct

The consequences of an academic misconduct finding at Wayne State University are serious. Being found responsible for academic dishonesty can lead to all sorts of problems, including reprimand, probation, loss of privileges, and suspension or expulsion from the university. It can also mean loss of university housing, acceleration of student loans, and lost opportunities to transfer or gain admission to other schools. Ultimately, academic misconduct can mean lost jobs and careers, the very things for which you may have pursued your Wayne State University degree.

Who Can Help You Defend and Defeat Academic Misconduct Charges?

Wayne State University offers an Ombudsperson who can advise a student accused of academic misconduct. After receiving a report of an accusation, the Student Conduct Officer will give the accused a memorandum explaining the role of the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson does not act as an advocate. The Ombudsperson may offer advice and guidance but will not mount an aggressive defense in your best interests. Do not rely on the Ombudsperson for your defense of academic misconduct charges at Wayne State University.

Instead, retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Lento specializes in cases like yours. He has successfully defended hundreds of students nationwide facing academic misconduct issues. Attorney Lento has the trial skills necessary for your formal hearing, but he also knows the special rules and nature of academic administrative proceedings. Local attorneys may have criminal defense or other trial skills, but they don't have the national experience Attorney Lento has in academic administrative matters and in the university setting. Above all, Attorney Lento will work tirelessly to bring you the best possible result. Contact the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686.

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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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