Attorney for Carnegie Mellon University Students

Because Carnegie Mellon University seeks to maintain the highest possible academic standards, the urge to get ahead can sometimes tempt students to use questionable and inappropriate methods. When the stakes are high, students are more likely to rationalize taking a “shortcut” to complete their academic endeavors. After all, in their minds, nobody gets hurt if they cut corners once or twice. But what may seem like a miniscule act of rebellion could lead to consequences that jeopardize your academic standing at the university and your post-college professional life.

If you are a student who has been accused of academic misconduct at Carnegie Mellon University, you must understand that accusations of academic misconduct are serious. In this article, we'll address how Carnegie Mellon University handles allegations of academic misconduct and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you through the process once accused. 

Academic Integrity Violations

Carnegie Mellon University's student handbook strongly emphasizes that academic misconduct is an allegation that will be taken very seriously. The actions of students, faculty, and staff are a representation of the school community and the professional dealings that the university leads. Therefore, a student's failure to commit to regulations that preserve academic integrity will be met with severe and immediate punishment. This is why if you've been accused of any of the following academic misconduct violations, you should contact an experienced student defense attorney.

Cheating occurs when a student avails her/himself of an unfair or disallowed advantage which includes but is not limited to:

  • Theft of or unauthorized access to an exam, answer key or other graded work from previous course offerings
  • Use of an alternate, stand-in or proxy during an examination
  • Copying from the examination or work of another person or source
  • Submission or use of falsified data
  • Using false statements to obtain additional time or other accommodation
  • Falsification of academic credentials

Plagiarism is defined as the use of work or concepts contributed by other individuals without proper attribution or citation. Unique ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged in academic work to be graded. 

Unauthorized assistance refers to the utilization of sources of support that have not been explicitly authorized in this policy statement or by the course instructor(s) in the completion of academic work to be graded. Support may include but is not limited to advice or help provided by another individual, published or unpublished written sources, and electronic sources. Examples of unauthorized assistance include but are not limited to:

  • Collaboration on any assignment beyond the standards authorized by Carnegie Mellon's academic integrity policy
  • Supplying or communication unauthorized information or materials, including graded work and answer keys from previous course offerings, in any way to another student
  • Submission of work edited or completed in whole or in part by another person
  • The use of unauthorized devices
  • The use of unauthorized information or materials, including graded work and answer keys from previous course offerings
  • Submission for credit of previously completed graded work in a second course without first obtaining permission from the instructor(s) of the second course. 

Carnegie Mellon University's Response to Academic Misconduct

In an effort to preserve the integrity of the university's community, the school will take the proper action if instructors or students suspect that a violation of academic integrity has occurred. 

First Violation - What to Expect

Students accused of academic misconduct will go through an initial process with an instructor. A conversation will ensue and if the faculty member and department head feel certain that a violation of the course policy has occurred, they will pursue course level action and submit a report to the Office of Community Standards and Integrity.

Second-Level Review

The case would be reviewed by an Academic Review Board (ARB) who will make a recommendation to the Vice Provost for Education as to whether or not the student is responsible for the violation and if so, what an appropriate outcome might be. The final decision will come from the Vice Provost of Education and may be appealed to the Provost.

The majority of cases that are heard by an Academic Review Board are second-level reviews for students with more than one incident report. Although outcomes can range from academic skill-building to suspension or expulsion, the most common outcome is a one-year suspension. 


If you've been found responsible for academic misconduct but don't believe that your actions violated Carnegie Mellon's academic integrity policy, the university has a formal appeal process in place. The process will be coordinated by the Office of Community Standards and Integrity and will be discussed in your follow-up meeting with a member of the Office of Community Standards and Integrity staff. 

Need a Student Defense Attorney? Contact the Lento Law Firm

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for more information at 888-535-3686.