The academic community at Brandeis University rests on truth and integrity. The University expects students to challenge themselves by posing difficult questions and respecting the rest of the Brandeis community. Integrity rests on the free exchange of ideas, which cannot happen if someone is dishonest.
Because academic integrity and the pursuit of truth is part of Brandeis University's mission statement, the school treats academic misconduct as a grave matter. The consequences of an academic dishonesty determination can be both severe and long-lasting. If you've been accused of academic misconduct at Brandeis, the potential repercussions are too serious to treat the matter lightly—even if you're innocent. An experienced student defense legal advisor can help you handle an academic dishonesty charge.
What Is Academic Misconduct at Brandeis University?
The Brandeis University Department of Student Rights and Community standards handles academic integrity cases. Section 4 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook states, “Every member of the University community is expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. A student shall not submit work that is falsified or is not the result of the student's own effort.” The handbook also describes what's expected of students, faculty, and staff concerning academic honesty.
Examples of academic dishonesty at Brandeis
- Turning in an exam, report, thesis, lab report, or any other exercise that was completed by someone else
- Selling copies of exams or reports
- Sharing copies of exams, reports, or exam questions and answers
- Obtaining access to instructor versions of books or instructor materials without permission
- Talking during an exam
- Using unauthorized materials during an exam
- Collaborating on an assignment or project without the instructor's explicit permission
- Submitting work completed for a previous course
Brandeis asks students, faculty, and staff to report suspected cases of academic misconduct to the Assistant Dean of Student Rights and Community Standards.
What Happens if You're Accused of Academic Misconduct?
The Department of Student Rights and Community Standards does not notify students of alleged academic integrity cases immediately. The department receives submissions of potential academic misconduct incidents and reviews them first, to determine if there's a violation of Rights and Responsibilities. If there is a violation, the department will assign a hearing officer to the case.
If you're the subject of an academic integrity case, the hearing officer will contact you to schedule a meeting. At the meeting with the hearing officer and the accusing faculty member, you can choose one of three options to resolve the case:
- Agreement: You accept the academic misconduct charges against you and discuss appropriate sanctions with the hearing officer and the faculty member. You won't be allowed to appeal if you choose this option.
- Administrative Hearing: You choose a hearing with the hearing officer and faculty member, who will review the documentation and hear your defense. If you're guilty, you'll receive a decision letter. With this option, you have the right to appeal to the University Appeals Board.
- Student Conduct Board Hearing: You may also request a hearing with the Student Conduct Board, an entity that formally adjudicates students in cases of alleged violations of Rights and Responsibilities. You may appeal the decision of the Student Conduct Board with the University Appeals Board.
Penalties for Academic Misconduct at Brandeis
The penalties for academic dishonesty range from a failing grade on the assignment to expulsion from the university. Section 20 of Rights and Responsibilities covers sanctions for violations of community standards, including academic integrity violations.
When deciding sanctions for academic misconduct, the university considers the following:
- Seriousness of the offense
- History of prior violations (of all Rights and Responsibilities policies, not just academic integrity)
- The offense's impact on others
- The student's class year
- Information regarding intent
In most academic misconduct cases, Brandeis also tries to incorporate a learning component into sanctions. These types of education sanctions might include a grade reduction or course failure, workshops on note-tacking and proper citation, or some form of training.
Not completing the educational component of your sanctions could land you in more trouble. The university could issue a disciplinary warning, put you on residence probation, remove you from your university living unit, take away university privileges, put you on disciplinary probation, suspend you, or dismiss you from Brandeis University entirely.
If you receive a determination of academic dishonesty, Student Rights and Community Standards may let your academic program or department know. An academic integrity violation could keep you from continuing your program.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
During hearings and other disciplinary meetings related to the Student Conduct Process, Brandeis allows the student to have an advisor present—but only if that advisor is from the university. While this might be helpful to you if you go before the Student Conduct Board, there's no guarantee that this advisor has your best interest in mind or will be dedicated to the cause. An external advisor with legal experience in student defense, on the other hand, will make your interests the sole priority.
You may not have legal counsel present at your student conduct hearings or meetings, but you may retain legal counsel as a “passive advisor” if there are coexisting criminal charges. Since academic misconduct charges usually don't coincide with criminal activity, you likely won't be able to have a legal representative present as your passive advisor. But you can still consult with an attorney-advisor outside of your hearing to help you prepare your statements and build a defense strategy.
Contact a Student Defense Legal Advisor
Academic dishonesty isn't a crime, and you're not on trial, so why would you need the services of a legal advisor? You may not have committed a crime, but your university will still take your offense seriously. It'll handle your case according to university rules, and not laws, as well. To deal with the Student Conduct Board properly, you need an attorney-advisor with experience handling academic misconduct cases. Too much is at stake in terms of academic and professional goals and it would be misguided to take the matter lightly.
Joseph D. Lento of Lento Law Firm has defended thousands of college students across the country in academic misconduct cases. If you want to prevent the long-term consequences of an academic dishonesty mark on your record, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.