Academic Integrity is taken very seriously at the collegiate level. If you or your loved one is facing allegations of academic dishonesty at San Bernardino, you should make sure you're equipped to handle the procedure and protect your future.
The Standards for Student Conduct lists dishonesty as including “forms of academic dishonesty…intended to gain an unfair academic advantage.” This very broad description is followed by a list of adjacent behaviors, such as forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents and providing University representatives (faculty members, officials, etc.) with false information. At California State University San Bernardino, the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development is responsible for allegations of academic dishonesty. This office provides further explication of the relevant policies and procedures, as well as a longer list of what the school considers cheating and plagiarism.
Investigation and Disciplinary Process at California State University San Bernardino
The first step when a faculty member suspects academic dishonesty is to file a form with the Judicial Affairs Officer stating the allegations. Next, the faculty member must notify the student of the allegation. This should include both the suspected behavior and any relevant evidence. The faculty member will choose one of three sanctions:
- Verbal or written reprimand
- Changing the grade on the assignment in question
- Assigning another task or examination
Students must be given ample opportunity to challenge the allegations. If they don't agree to the sanctions chosen by the professor, they can request that it be referred to the Judicial Affairs Officer.
At this point, the Student Conduct Procedures take over. Article III describes the procedures.
First, the Judicial Affairs Officer (or Student Conduct Administrator) has 40 working days to conduct an investigation. Within ten days of the investigation's completion, they must send a “notice of conference” to the student. This notice will include proposed sanctions, a factual description of the alleged violation (and associated behavior), notification that the student has a right to be accompanied at the conference by an Advisor, and where the student can view their file.
At the Conference, the student will respond to the allegations of academic misconduct. If the student agrees to the allegations and sanctions, then the case is closed. If the student does not agree to either the allegations or the sanctions, they can request a hearing.
Within ten working days of the Conference's conclusion, the student will receive a “notice of hearing.” This notice contains much of the same information as the earlier notice but also includes some hearing-specific components, such as notification that the new sanction may be more severe than the originally proposed sanction, notification that the student can accept the proposed sanction and waive their right to a hearing, and the date and time of the hearing. The hearing will be scheduled no sooner than ten working days and no later than 20 working days after the date on the notice of hearing.
The hearing itself is closed, apart from the Hearing Officer, the Student Conduct Administrator, the student, an Advisor, and one person to help with recording the hearing. Witnesses are expected to attend in person unless an exception is made. The Hearing Officer will listen to evidence as presented by the student and the Student Conduct Officer.
Some important things to note:
- Formal rules of evidence do not apply. Hearsay can be included.
- The standard of proof is a Preponderance of Evidence, and the burden of proof (person responsible for proving the instance) rests with the Student Conduct Administrator.
- The Hearing Officer's procedural decisions are final.
- Only information presented at the hearing can be used toward the Hearing Officer's final report. There shall not be any substantive communications about the case's facts unless both the student and the Student Conduct Administrator are present.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will compile a written report of findings and conclusions and send this to the president within ten working days.
The president shall review the report and make a final decision. They may choose to impose the recommended sanctions, reject sanctions completely, or select a different sanction altogether.
What Sanctions are Possible?
Article V discusses potential sanctions for academic misconduct. In addition to the sanctions noted above, they can include:
- Loss of financial aid
- Educational sanctions, such as assigned essays or training
Disciplinary action may be noted on a student's academic record — which means that the impact of the alleged actions can extend beyond just that moment.
What Is the Appeal Process for Decisions?
According to the Student Conduct Procedures, it is possible to file an appeal to the Chancellor's Office, if you are not satisfied with the outcome. The appeal must be filed within ten working days of receiving the notice of decision from the president. An appeal is only possible if one of four things is true.
- The hearing outcome wasn't supported by substantial evidence
- New evidence that would have affected the outcome is now available
- The sanctions don't match the substantiated conduct
- Prejudicial or procedural errors influenced the hearing
Appeals should be addressed to:
Once the appeal is received, the CO will provide a response of receipt within ten working days. The appeal will not include a new hearing. The CO may, however, return the appeal to the San Bernardino campus and delineate a timeline for a reopened hearing. The Chancellor's Office will reply to the request within no more than 30 working days.
Experienced Attorney-Advisor Assistance
The Lento Law Firm and Joseph D. Lento have helped countless students (and their families) across the nation, as they faced accusations of academic dishonesty. Contact them today for assistance with your case: 888.535.3686 or online.