Brown University Academic Integrity Advisor

 Brown University's academic code states that academic integrity protects and promotes the pursuit of its academic mission. Membership in the Brown community carries with it a responsibility for upholding the university's principles. These regulations generally require students to maintain a degree of honesty and transparency in all of their academic endeavors. Students who violate these regulations, intentionally or unintentionally, will be accused of academic misconduct. 

Guilty determinations of academic misconduct have been known to jeopardize students' college careers and affect their professional lives down the line as well. In this article, we'll address how Brown University handles allegations of academic misconduct and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you through the process once accused.

How Does Brown University Define “Academic Misconduct?”

Academic achievement at Brown University is assessed on the basis of work that a student produces independently. A student who obtains credit for work, words, or ideas that are not the products of his or her own effort is academic misconduct. 

Offenses Against the Academic Code

There are various ways to constitute academic misconduct and violate Brown University's academic code. Here are the most common ways students do so:

Use of Sources

To complete some assignments a student often needs or is required to employ outside sources of information or opinion. All such sources should be listed in the bibliography.

Citations and footnote references are required for all bits of information that are not common knowledge and about which there is not general agreement. New discoveries or debatable opinions must be credited to the source, with specific references to edition and page even when the student restates the matter in his or her own words. Word-for-word inclusion of anyone else's written work requires citation in quotation marks and the use of appropriate conventions for attribution. If there are any questions at all about proper citation methods, students are expected to consult either their course instructor or a reference guide.

Creative Work

A piece of work presented as the individual creation of the student is assumed to involve no assistance other than incidental criticism from any other person. A student is not permitted, with honesty, knowingly employ story material, wording, dialogue taken from published work (including websites, film, video, DVDs, radio, television programs, lectures and other sources) without full acknowledgement. 

Examinations, Quizzes, and Tests

In writing examinations and quizzes, the student is required to respond entirely on the basis of his or her own memory and capacity, without any assistance whatsoever except such as is specifically authorized by the instructor. 

Cheating on exams and quizzes can take the forms listed below. This list isn't exhaustive.

  • Engaging in other actions that undermine equity and reduce the objectivity of evaluation of student work
  • Having another person take an examination in one's own name
  • Using unauthorized materials from which one gains unfair assistance during an exam
  • Appropriating an exam or exam materials without authorization
  • Missing an exam in order to gain advantage
  • Copying other students' work during an examination
  • Engaging in collaboration or unauthorized assistance on take-home exams or assignments 

Laboratory Work and Assignments

Notebooks, homework, reports of investigations or experiments, and computer code projects must meet the same standards as all other written work. If any of the work is done jointly or if any part of the experiment or analysis is made by another other than the writer, acknowledgement of this fact must be made in the report submitted. Obviously, it is dishonest for a student to falsify or invent data. 

Registration Documents

Change of Course Permits, also known as Add/Drop slips, become official University documents once they are processed by the Registrar's Office. Registration transactions are mechanically clocked and dated; the original copy is retained by the Registrar. Students are handed a receipt, which is also an official document. Any alteration of the receipt to use as evidence of adding or dropping a course, of changing a grade option, or of gaining entrance to a course constitutes a serious violation of the Academic Code. 

Other Offenses

In addition to fraudulent uses of sources or tampering with registration documents as described above, academic dishonesty includes a number of other offenses that circumvent procedures set up to produce fair grades. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lying in the course of investigation of an Academic Code case or during a hearing before the Committee on Academic Standing
  • Using commercial “research” companies' services
  • Using papers, reports, or other course exercises produced by other students and/or that have been saved or kept on file from earlier years
  • Furnishing one's own or others' course work to one or more other students
  • Falsifying records or routines for grading, whether before or after graduation
  • Gaining access to a recommendation without permission once rights have been waived
  • Withholding, removing, or destroying materials needed by other students for class exercises

Brown University's Procedures for Academic Code Hearings

 All cases of suspected academic dishonesty in the College or Medical School shall be referred to the Case Administrator of the Academic Code, who shall be an academic dean appointed by the Dean of the College. Faculty and students are urged to report their suspicions so that all members of the University community will feel equally responsible for academic misconduct, and so that repeat offenders may be identified. 

Committee Findings

Hearings, deliberations, and decisions on penalties shall be made by the Standing Committee on the Academic Code, consisting of a dean from the accused student's college/school, plus two faculty members to be chosen from a standing pool of six.

If an undergraduate student is determined to be in violation of the Academic Code, the Standing Committee shall determine an appropriate sanction, which will be conveyed to the student in a letter from the Committee.  The student will be informed in the letter that he or she has the right to appeal any decisions by the Academic Code Committee to the Dean of the College.

Penalties

The Standing Committee on the Academic Code is authorized to enact any penalty it judges to be appropriate for a violation of the code.  The most common penalties assessed by the Academic Code Committee are described below.

  1. Reprimand: A letter of reprimand will be written to the student. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's academic folder. A reprimand is accompanied by permanent record entry and parental notification.
  2. Loss of credit in the exercise: for most offenses the least severe penalty will be loss of credit in the exercise. Students may also be subjected to permanent record entry and parental notification.
  3. Directed no credit in the course: when the offense is sufficiently serious to merit failure in the course, the student will be withdrawn from the course immediately following adjudication.
  4. Suspension: a serious offense may result in the student's suspension from the University for a period of one semester or longer. 
  5. Dismissal: a student who has been dismissed must earn readmission, by work and/or study away from Brown for at least one semester and usually an academic year or more.
  6. Expulsion: a very serious offense or multiple offenses may warrant permanent expulsion from the University. 
  7. Revocation of degree: an offense that is discovered after the awarding of a degree many warrant the revocation of that degree.

Appeals

An undergraduate student who has been found in violation of the Academic Code may appeal the Committee's ruling to the Dean of the College. Normally, appeals will be considered only when new information that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing becomes available or when an allegation of substantial procedural error on the part of the University or the Academic Code Committee is made. 

Academic Integrity Attorney

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 at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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