Colleges in Montana want to protect their reputation as institutions of higher learning, and so have to enforce their codes of academic conduct and integrity. However, they frequently err on the side of caution, and this can put innocent students into serious trouble.
Having a lawyer acting as your advisor during an academic misconduct investigation and hearing can be the best way to ensure your rights and your future are both protected from these baseless accusations.
What is Academic Misconduct?
Academic misconduct is anything that violates your school's code of academic conduct, which is usually posted on your school's website. Unfortunately, these rules are deliberately ill-defined and vague so the school can go after students who did something unfair but might not fit within one of the explicit violations. This can get innocent students who have actually done nothing wrong into trouble.
Different Types of Academic Misconduct
While every school has its own academic code, they tend to explicitly list the following acts of academic misconduct:
- Plagiarism. When you take someone else's ideas and present them as your own, it often violates your school's code of academic conduct. However, what constitutes plagiarism is often a judgment call, and can easily be done by accident if you simply fail to cite a source in a graded assignment.
- Cheating. Cheating on an exam by using prohibited materials or having someone else take the test for you is a common example of academic misconduct in Montana.
- Distributing material. Academic misconduct does not have to happen in a graded environment – stealing academic material like answer keys or upcoming exam questions can lead to academic misconduct allegations, as well.
- Being complicit. Not all allegations of academic misconduct are confined strictly to the person who benefited: If you knew that someone was cheating and failed to report them or actively helped, you could get in trouble, too.
- Record falsification. You can also be charged with academic misconduct if you alter official school records, like your transcript, or lie on other official documents.
If you are found to have violated your school's code of academic conduct, the repercussions can range from a simple warning all the way up to expulsion from school. However, even the lowest penalties can prove to be a significant obstacle, in the long run. The academic blemish of a written warning for plagiarism, for example, can be something that potential employers note and frown upon after you graduate from college and begin applying for your dream job.
Montana Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento
Just because it is not a criminal charge, being accused of academic misconduct in Montana is not a trivial matter. The repercussions can stick with you, years after the issue has been resolved.
Having a student discipline defense attorney like Joseph D. Lento at your side and acting as your advisor can be the best way to prevent these accusations from turning into a finding of misconduct. Contact him online to protect your rights and your post-graduation future.
Montana colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's academic misconduct advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Blackfeet Community College
- Carroll College
- Chief Dull Knife College
- Dawson Community College
- Flathead Valley Community College
- Fort Belknap College
- Fort Peck Community College
- Little Big Horn College
- Miles Community College
- Montana State University
- Montana State University Billings
- Montana State University Great Falls College of Technology
- Montana State University Northern
- Montana Tech of the University of Montana
- Montana Tech College of Technology
- Rocky Mountain College
- Salish Kootenai College
- Stone Child College
- The University of Montana
- The University of Montana Western
- University of Great Falls
- University of Montana Helena College of Technology
It is an unfortunate reality that academic misconduct charges can upend an accused student's life if not properly addressed, and Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at colleges and universities in Montana and throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor for students facing disciplinary cases in Montana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.