A career in biomedical engineering requires a serious amount of time and effort. A student starts with a four-year stay in college, followed by a graduate program, ranging from medical or dental school to business or law school, each of which comes with their own entrance exams and hurdles. This career is not an easy one to pursue, which is why it's shattering for any student to be accused of violating a school's code of conduct.
If you are accused of violating your school's code of conduct, and a disciplinary hearing does not go your way, or you exhaust the appeals process, it could mean the end of your biomedical engineering career before you even start. With so much time, money and effort invested, it is crucial you reach out to an attorney-advisor as soon as you are accused. An attorney-advisor will work assiduously to advocate on your behalf and mitigate any possible negative impact these accusations could cause.
Universities and graduate schools across the country have similar academic misconduct policies. If a university accuses a student of cheating or violating the code of conduct in any other way, they will be subject to a hearing. During this hearing, a committee will determine their punishment. Generally, punishment ranges from a loss of a letter grade in the course to a full expulsion from the institution.
Academic misconduct is categorized as any action or attempted action that might give a student an academic advantage over other students or create a disadvantage for any other member of the academic community. This umbrella includes various behaviors such as plagiarism, altering academic documents or transcripts, cheating, helping another student cheat or plagiarize, or getting access to materials before they are meant to be available to everyone else. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Fraud or dishonesty on an assignment or examination
- Use of unauthorized materials on an assignment or examination
- Copying, or giving, the answers of another student on an assignment or examination
- Paraphrasing another's work without acknowledging them
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that protects students from any form of discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. For a biomedical engineering student accused of a Title IX violation, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct, there are specific steps the university will take, including:
- Provide both parties with equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence.
- Review law enforcement investigation documents, if there are any.
- Gather and examine other evidence.
If a school finds that you violated Title IX in any way, they will, at the very least, take steps to separate you and the other student. For example, if you are in classes together, are lab partners, or within the same study group, the university will remove you from these spaces. More incendiary punishments will include suspension and expulsion, both of which are contingent on the degree of accusation.
You would think that with the amount of education and time that goes into studying biomedical engineering, students would have little time for much else. But the reality is that highly motivated students, like those in biomedical engineering programs, also seek opportunities to let their hair down. Disciplinary concerns may occur during these breaks, and while they may not carry the same stigma as academic misconduct issues do, they do carry long-term consequences.
Every school has different standards for what they consider a disciplinary charge, but some examples might be:
- Assault on another student
- Cyberstalking a fellow student, teacher, or member of staff
- Stealing from a dormitory, classroom, or common area
- Destroying property
If your university accuses you of disciplinary or code of conduct violations, they will bring you up before a committee and adjudicate the matter, with penalties ranging from warning letters to full expulsion.
Academic issues are separate from acts of misconduct. These issues generally encompass concerns with progressing through the program, issues with grades, or failing to meet academic standards.
Biomedical engineering programs require that students finish their program in a certain amount of time, at a certain clip. There are always extenuating circumstances that provide a bit of flexibility in this expectation, but for the most part, if a university does not perceive a student to be making satisfactory academic progress, they may prevent the student from continuing in the program.
Grade point averages are extremely important for graduation. When you receive a bad grade in a course, it pulls your GPA down considerably. Whether this grade was warranted or made incorrectly or improperly, it will affect your ability to progress through the program and graduate.
Many universities with biomedical engineering programs also have codes of conduct around their student and faculty research methods. For instance, at John Hopkins University, their research code of conduct is violated by falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism in the research's proposal, performance, review, or results. All allegations of research misconduct are made to the Research Integrity Officer. The Research Integrity Officer will then review the allegation and make a formal investigation into it. If the officer determines that the actions fall within the definition of research misconduct, the student will face a more formal hearing.
Biomedical engineering programs are highly competitive, and the competitive nature starts from your first application until you retire later in your career. Being penalized for academic misconduct, Title IX charges, or any other academic issue will have serious consequences on your school and career life, including:
- Putting you behind schedule to graduate with your class;
- If your university expels you, it may bar you from continuing in any graduate program in biomedical engineering; or
- Simply preventing you from entering research labs, thus inhibiting your ability to complete research projects.
No matter the penalty you receive, it will affect your graduate and professional careers. For instance, if you are accused of hurting someone, the school may require you to keep a specific distance from that person as part of your punishment. This will significantly affect what classes you can take, where you can move on campus, and what times you can work in the research lab or library. Further, after graduation, the university will describe these penalties on your transcripts. Most post-graduate work for biomedical engineering is in research or manufacturing, where reputation and transcripts go a long way to securing jobs or funding for projects. Having a tarnish on either will negatively affect your prospects.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
It is essential that you seek out an attorney-advisor for help once you are accused of academic misconduct, disciplinary violation, or even just a crime in general. Attorney advisors will work diligently to gather all the facts and evidence surrounding your allegations and strategize to help mitigate any long-term negative consequences. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have helped countless biomedical engineering students across the country face these types of accusations. They work tirelessly to ensure the university provides fair due process and allows you to explain your side of the story. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation.