Civil engineering programs encourage students to specialize in one specific area of engineering, like construction or transportation. A student will generally only need a bachelor's degree to pursue their dream career in this field, but a master's degree might increase their income. Because this field requires less of an educational investment than some other engineering pathways, it is much more competitive. Universities expect their students to take a myriad of courses and have excellent grades in each. If a civil engineering student were to be accused of violating their university's code of conduct, it could have a disastrous effect on their future prospects.
If your university accuses you of violating their code of conduct, contact an attorney-advisor today. An attorney-advisor will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome of any hearing you must attend. Don't let something like this derail your dreams.
Throughout the world, the secondary education world has created specific policies that address academic misconduct. The university intends these policies to discourage cheating and allow the university to prescribe a wide array of punishment, ranging from loss of a letter grade to barring a student from engaging in extracurriculars to complete expulsion from the institution.
Whether they are bachelor's or master's degrees, most civil engineering programs consider academic misconduct to encompass any act or attempted act that gives students an unfair advantage over other students. These behaviors include:
- Helping another student to cheat or plagiarize
- Getting access to materials before they are meant to be available
- Turning in the same work for multiple courses
- Altering academic documents or transcripts.
According to federal law, Title IX protects students from any form of discrimination based on sex, which includes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. If another student, faculty, or staff member accuses a civil engineering student of violating Title IX, the university will take particular steps to investigate the allegation. If they believe there is merit to the accusation, they will conduct a hearing in which they will:
- Allow both parties equal opportunity – that is, both parties will have the same opportunity to present relevant evidence and witnesses.
- Review law enforcement investigation documents, if there are any.
- Gather and examine other evidence.
If your university finds that you violated Title IX, they will take steps to prevent you and the alleged victim from being in the same vicinity. This means that if you are lab partners, in the same classes, or reside in the same dormitory, the university will remove you from those spaces. A punishment like this could mean having to change your entire schedule, friend group, extracurriculars, or residence. More intense punishments will include suspension and expulsion, which could have a catastrophic impact on your future career.
As we've mentioned before, civil engineering programs are highly competitive, so many highly motivated students will look to spend their downtime partying. If a campus police officer catches a student buying illicit drugs, drinking while underage, assaulting another student, or a host of other infractions, they will bring the student before a committee that will determine their punishment.
The disciplinary action does not need to be done on campus either. If your school learns that you were involved in any action that violates their disciplinary code of conduct, you will be subject to a hearing and expected to present witnesses and evidence on your behalf. Penalties for these actions include warning letters, academic probation, removal from certain courses or extracurricular activities, suspension, or expulsion.
Some examples of disciplinary actions include:
- Assault or battery of another student
- Cyberstalking a student, faculty member, or staff personnel
- Underage drinking
- Buying or selling drugs
- Destroying property
- Stealing from a dormitory, classroom, common area, or person
Academic issues are any issues that prevent a student from moving through their program at a prescribed pace. Most universities have decided how long a student should take to complete a civil engineering program – usually about eight years. This maximum tends to be reserved for students working full time and taking classes part-time or who have other extenuating circumstances that don't allow them to take more courses at once.
In addition to progression issues, academic issues also encompass grade issues. For instance, if you believe you were given a specific grade because of the teacher's bias and not based on your actual work or test scores, you will want to bring that to the university's attention. Grades are significant for graduate programs and post-graduate careers, as they show future schools and employers how seriously you took your undergraduate education. A bad grade can pull your overall grade point average down considerably, negatively impacting your future.
No matter the accusation, whether it be for academic misconduct, academic issues, a disciplinary charge, or a Title IX violation, the consequences can be disastrous for your future. These consequences might prevent you from entering research labs or participating in extracurricular activities you need to be competitive on your graduate school applications. Additionally, these violations can be noted on your transcripts and permanent record, meaning any future employer or graduate school can inquire about them, potentially preventing you from attending the graduate school of your choice or securing your dream job. Even if a student can overcome other potential obstacles, an adverse outcome at the school level can also affect a student's ability to obtain a professional license as a civil engineer.
How an Attorney Can Help
No matter the violation you are being accused of, having an attorney-advisor act on your behalf will ensure the university upholds your rights. Unfortunately, many universities do not uphold their student's rights and just force the negative consequences of these actions into place. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have worked with hundreds of engineering students accused of violating their university's code of conduct and facing other issues at their schools. They will work tirelessly to collect evidence and witnesses, ensuring the university hears your side of the story. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. Don't try to navigate this alone. The Lento Law Firm can help.