Located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University (CMU) promises to “help you pursue your dreams, reach your goals and find your future.” Unless you are accused of academic misconduct, in which case CMU could stand in the way of your dreams, goals, and future.
In terms of discipline, CMU is no different than any other university. The university can be a stepping stone to a fulfilling career and life but has a defined set of rules that each student must submit to. If you're accused of academic wrongdoing, and you don't defend yourself effectively, then you may face the consequences of school-issued sanctions.
While an attorney-advisor should always work with a university—rather than against it—you must know that Central Michigan University is not your personal advocate. Even if the school assigns some form of advisor, consider hiring an attorney-advisor who is undoubtedly in your camp.
What Qualifies as Academic Misconduct at Central Michigan University?
You won't be the first Chippewa to face academic hardship at CMU. Academic difficulty is common enough that CMU’s Parent and Family Guide (p.3) covers academic probation early in the document. While a university generally expects students to struggle, it is less understanding of misconduct.
CMU’s Policy on Academic Integrity states that “students are responsible for learning and upholding professional standards of research, writing, assessment, and ethics in their areas of study.” The policy provides in-depth definitions of prohibited behaviors, including:
- Cheating on examinations: Defined by CMU as “using or attempting to use materials, information, notes, study aids, or other assistance in any type of examination or evaluation which have not been authorized by the instructor.”
- Plagiarism: Providing several specific examples, CMU defines plagiarism as “intentionally or carelessly presenting the work of another as one's own.”
- Fabrication, forgery, and obstruction: This category of misconduct includes faking data, counterfeiting documents or signatures, destroying other students' work, and other offenses.
- Multiple submissions: Students at CMU cannot submit the same work for multiple assignments or courses.
- Complicity: CMU defines complicity as “assisting or attempting to assist another person in any act of academic dishonesty.”
- Misconduct in research and creative endeavors: Students at CMU must adhere to accepted practices when completing research and creative assignments.
- Computer misuse: CMU may sanction students who use computers in a “disruptive, unethical, or illegal” manner.
- Misuse of intellectual property (IP): IP violations at CMU may include the “illegal use of copyright materials, trademarks, trade secrets or intellectual properties.”
CMU leadership may determine the seriousness of these offenses on a case-by-case basis.
How Central Michigan University Handles Alleged Academic Misconduct
Though CMU follows a general framework when adjudicating alleged academic misconduct, it notes that “no single process will be appropriate to every situation.” CMU handles the “majority” of academic integrity cases by:
1. Informing the student (you) of the allegations against them
If you haven't already, you should receive written notification of the allegations against you and the sanctions you may face if you are found responsible. Once a professor determines that you've violated the school's Policy on Academic Integrity, they have ten University business days to contact you with their findings.
2. Allowing you to respond to the allegations of academic misconduct
You may contest or admit to the allegations against you. An academic advisor may generally advise that you contest the allegations (especially if you're not responsible) or remain silent on the matter. Admitting fault without first consulting an attorney-advisor could expose you to significant negative consequences.
3. Allowing the instructor to “exercise their professional judgment”
CMU's academic integrity policy gives instructors the initial opportunity to handle alleged academic wrongdoing. In specific terms, the presiding instructor may “exercise her or his professional judgment in determining whether the student has engaged in academic misconduct, and to determine the consequences of such misconduct on the student's grade for the assignment and/or the course.”
4. Allowing you to appeal an instructor's decision
If you disagree with an instructor's finding of responsibility or chosen sanctions, you may appeal. Before you can appeal, you must first engage in discussion with the instructor.
When dealing with sanctions at the instructor level, the professor may act as a sort of investigator. They have broad leeway to discuss your work, the allegations of misconduct, and other relevant points with you. You may absolutely want to consult an attorney-advisor before submitting to this process.
Hearings and Appeals at Central Michigan University
Should you choose to contest any aspect of an instructor's ruling, you must file your appeal to the instructor and appropriate dean within ten business days of receiving your notice of a ruling. You may alternately have ten days from the date that grades are posted to file your appeal, depending on which date is earlier.
A committee of faculty and students will hear your appeal. The committee will conduct a hearing during which your attorney-advisor may be present. Following the hearing, the committee—led by a Proceedings Officer—will make a recommendation to the presiding dean.
The dean will issue the final ruling and may:
- Uphold the findings of the professor who issued sanctions
- Find that, based on the available facts and evidence, the professor could not have reasonably found the presence of academic misconduct
- Find that the professor had reason to determine academic dishonesty occurred, but that the professor issued unjust sanctions
The dean may determine both your culpability and any sanctions you should receive. As the academic policy states, “the dean's decision will be final.”
Hire Attorney-Advisor to Help With Your Academic Misconduct Case
Actually, a dean's decision may not be final. If you hire a qualified attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento, then he may explore other avenues for resolving your case. He may work with CMU’s General Counsel, which may have great influence over the school's decision in your case.
Lento and his team will have your back during this trying time in your life. Sanctions from your university can permanently tarnish your record, cause you to be dismissed, and have lifelong effects. Now is the time to defend yourself, and the Lento Law Firm can lead your fight.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to discuss your circumstances.