The first injunction of the Honor Code at Brigham Young University is the call to “be honest.” The school makes it clear in its code of conduct that students come to the university” not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character.” As such, the school has a strict Academic Honesty Policy, but also a very strict Honor Code which the dedicated Honor Code Office is responsible for enforcing. If they suspect you of academic misconduct, your instructor may apply academic sanctions they see fit, but they will also have to notify the Honor Code Office, which often steps in with more severe disciplinary actions. Your reputation for academic integrity follows you, and if mishandled, an accusation of academic misconduct could jeopardize your academic career and professional aspirations.
Brigham Young Academic Honesty Policy
Brigham Young University has an Academic Honesty policy which emphasizes the need for BYU students to be totally honest in their dealings with others. The policy explains that they “should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.”
What counts as academic misconduct in the Brigham Young Academic Honesty Policy?
Academic misconduct is a very broad category of behavior—any kind of dishonest conduct to gain an unfair advantage in your academic assignments or grades.
Offenses prohibited in the Academic Honesty Policy include the following:
- Intentional Plagiarism—representing the words, ideas, or data of someone else as their own, or includes them without including quotation, reference, or footnote.
- Inadvertent Plagiarism—this type of plagiarism involves the inappropriate but accidental use of another's words, ideas, or data without proper attribution.
- Fabrication or falsification — creating content of or distorting information and citing it as if it were from an authority.
- Cheating — Copying from another person's work or allowing someone to copy from you, collaborating without authorization, or using unauthorized materials.
- Other Academic Misconduct — planning to commit academic misconduct, bribery, altering grades or other official educational records, or obtaining or providing to another an unadministered test or answers.
What happens if the school suspects you of Academic Misconduct?
If they suspect you of academic dishonesty in the first instance, your instructor will investigate and determine the facts.
If your instructor determines that you were guilty of academic dishonesty, they must notify the Honor Code Office and consult with the department chair about how to discipline you.
If the incident involved the violation of a public law, such as breaking and entering into an office or stealing an examination, your instructor will also report you to the appropriate law enforcement officials.
If you cannot reach a satisfactory resolution with your instructor or you feel the school is sanctioning you unfairly, you can seek to have the matter reviewed through the Student Academic Grievance Procedure.
Student Academic Grievance Procedure
You have 90 days from the day you are given your final grade on the course to petition via the academic grievance procedure.
School policy encourages you to first write to your instructor requesting a review. As your instructor has been responsible for handling it thus far, students may find this unhelpful.
If either your instructor is unavailable or you have reason to believe that they will not deal with the matter fairly, you can submit your grievance directly to the BYU Independent Study Educational Services Manager. It will then be up to the Educational Services Manager to make a decision on your case. The process will be as follows:
- The Educational Services Manager will review your case.
- They may decide to convene a review committee to further investigate.
- If a review committee investigates, they will present their findings to the Educational Services Manager along with a recommended resolution.
- The Educational Service Manager will weigh this up in order to determine the resolution.
- They will give you their decision in writing.
This decision is final and you cannot appeal it. There is no process in place for your to pursue a further review. However, the Dean of the BYU Division of Continuing Education may choose to review and alter a determination at their sole discretion.
What are the Consequences?
Your reputation for academic integrity follows you. Being accused of academic misconduct can put all of that in jeopardy. With an academic misconduct determination on your record, you may have difficulty gaining admission to another college or university, become ineligible for scholarships, awards, or other academic honors, or even be turned down for employment.
Academic sanctions your instructor can decide upon:
- Requiring work be redone
- Grade reduction or failure in the assignment
- Grade reduction or failure in the course
- Removal from the course
The university may discipline you in addition to, or independently from any academic sanctions. University discipline may be administered through the Honor Code Office or through the Dean of Student's Office.
- Dismissal from the program, department, or college
- dismissal from the university
- temporary or permanent notation on the student's permanent academic transcript
What can an Attorney-Advisor do?
If the school is investigating you to determine if you have violated their code of conduct, your school might try to persuade you that it's not a legal matter, so you don't need an attorney. However, an experienced academic misconduct advisor can help you put forward the best possible defense, determine if the college has treated you fairly and given you your due process, and, if necessary, guide you through a grievance procedure.
For many years, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have defended students across the nation facing academic misconduct charges. Too much is at stake to leave students at the hand of unfair or arbitrary disciplinary proceedings. We will fight passionately for a fair resolution for you. Call us at 888-535-3686, or contact us online.