College Academic Misconduct Advisor - Ball State University

When you or a loved one is facing allegations of academic dishonesty, it can be a misguided temptation to shrug it off when a faculty member first approaches you or your student. However, academic misconduct allegations can quickly snowball into more serious affairs if not addressed as best as possible. Ball State University, like many schools, allows students to select an advisor to assist them with the process. An attorney-advisor can inform you of the best ways to navigate the challenges of the school's disciplinary proceedings. This guide offers a brief overview of some of the components of the Student Academic Ethics Policy, especially as it pertains to the resolution process, definitions of misconduct, and sanctions.

At Ball State University, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA) is responsible for overseeing everything that is relevant to academic misconduct, academic integrity, and anything else that falls under administering the Student Academic Ethics Policy.

What Does Ball State University Consider Academic Misconduct?

Ball State University (BSU) values honesty, trust, and personal responsibility, and their working definition of academic dishonesty demonstrates this— “intentional acts of fraud” in the academic environment. They even differentiate between intentional behavior and academic negligence (such as the student forgetting to include a single footnote accidentally). Here's a non-comprehensive list of some of the behaviors they name:

  • Copying someone else's work
  • Receiving unauthorized assistance or providing it
  • Taking a quiz/exam/etc. in place of someone else or having someone else do so for you
  • Plagiarism
  • Aiding someone else in an act of academic misconduct
  • Fabricating information or citations
  • Deviating from accepted ethical guidelines for behaviors and practices of research activities

The Student Academic Ethics Resolution Process at Ball State University

There are two main types of resolution at BSU. The first is an informal resolution. A faculty member notifies a student within five school days of becoming aware of a potential violation, and within five days of that written notice, the two will meet. If the student does not respond, that is considered an admission of responsibility. There are four possible outcomes to this:

  1. Finding of Not Responsible
  2. Finding of Violation
  3. Disagreement as to Violation
  4. Disagreement as to Consequences

If number three occurs, the faculty member may choose to proceed to a formal resolution. If they do not, then the student is deemed not responsible for the behavior.

If number four is the outcome, then the student has five school days to file an appeal (which is further discussed below).

The formal resolution process is handled by the Associate Provost, who decides whether to pursue one of four options.

  1. Informal Process Resolution
  2. Referral to Student Academic Ethics Committee
  3. Forward Case Resolved at Informal Level to a Hearing Panel
  4. Forward Case Resolved at Formal Level to a Hearing Panel

Each of these instances is further detailed in the Student Academic Ethics Policy.

What Consequences Could You Receive for Academic Misconduct?

Potential sanctions at BSU will vary based on the seriousness of your offense, as well as whether it is a first offense or a subsequent offense.

The Student Academic Ethics Policy as of July 2021 states that if the faculty member is responsible for assigning a consequence, it could be “up to and as including” failure of a course. That means that the instructor could dock the assignment's grade or even elect to fail you for the course. If you are a graduate student, the instructor could also potentially dismiss you from your graduate program.

If the consequences are handed down by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (after a Hearing Panel), then the consequences could include suspension or even expulsion.

BSU's policy is careful to state that in some instances, the resolution and/or consequence could impede your ability to proceed with either registering for courses or continuing in a specific program. The responsibility for knowing this lies with the student, not the school.

Is There a Long-Term Impact for Academic Misconduct?

Academic integrity is highly valued at the collegiate level—the pursuit of knowledge requires honesty. Subsequently, there can be a long-term impact to findings of academic misconduct. Ball State University does maintain records in cases where the findings were that the misconduct took place. These files are kept for five years from when the case is resolved unless there's an ongoing or relevant investigation, in which case, the Provost could delay their destruction. If you choose to apply for an internship. any form of graduate school, or a scholarship, for example, this record could negatively impact your application and candidacy. Additionally, suspension, expulsion, and failing grades can all impact financial aid awards and of course your academic progression, provided you can even overcome such consequences.

What Is the Appeal Process?

If a student disagrees with a finding, whether at the faculty member level or at a hearing panel, the student may appeal within five school days to the VPAA. The Associate Provost will select the time, date, and location for the academic misconduct appeal and will provide advance written notice within a minimum of ten school days and no more than 20 school days from the date of the student's appeal.

It is beneficial to note that the student's privacy is protected by the policy, which clearly states that all members of the Hearing Committee must return any materials, files, or personal notes connected to an appeal procedure once it is complete. Additionally, they may not “reveal any facts, documents, or testimony gained through participating in or observation of the hearing…unless required by a court of law….or upon the advice of the University's legal counsel.”

Experienced Attorney-Advisor for Ball State University Academic Integrity Defense

Academic misconduct doesn't have to have a significant negative impact on your future—if you take action in a timely fashion and an effective manner. Having an attorney-advisor who understands how to work within the university confines and has the practical experience (and success) to do so can be invaluable. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped countless college students across the nation as they worked to resolve allegations of academic dishonesty. Let the Lento Law Firm bring their passion and experience to your circumstances in order to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call 888-535-3686 for more information on how Attorney Lento and his team can assist, or reach out online, and they'll return your inquiry.

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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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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