“The foundation of a university is truth and knowledge,” Colorado State University emphasizes in its school policies. This means the school heavily promotes academic integrity in its culture. Faculty are instructed to be on the lookout for academic misconduct. If your instructor reports you and the school mishandles it, the reputational damage could badly harm your academic career as well as your career prospects. Many students would regard this as an unacceptable risk, and so the best course of action is to secure a knowledgeable attorney advisor to guide you through the school's disciplinary process.
Student Conduct Code
Colorado State University has a Student Conduct Code which all students must follow. Though academic misconduct is a broad category, the student code explicitly prohibits certain offenses under the category of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct is any attempt to gain an unfair advantage in your academic work. The University emphasizes in its Student Conduct Code that they maintain the right to amend its rules and policies so, in theory, they can sanction students for offenses beyond those explicitly described. If the school suspects you of violating the student conduct code, a hearing officer will investigate and determine whether you have violated school policy. If you make a finding that you have violated school policy, they will issue an appropriate sanction.
What Offenses Count as Academic Misconduct
The following actions are expressly prohibited as academic misconduct in Colorado State University's Student Conduct Code:
- Cheating — using any unauthorized sources of information and providing or receiving unauthorized assistance on any form of academic work. Enabling others to cheat also counts as cheating.
- Plagiarism — copying the language, structure, ideas, or thoughts of another and representing them as your own without proper acknowledgment. The school will only discipline you for plagiarism in work you have submitted for credit, not for plagiarism found in a working draft.
- Unauthorized possession or disposition of Academic Materials — selling, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining examinations, class notes, term papers, or other academic work. This includes stealing another student's work or using information from exams that an instructor did not authorize for release to students.
- Falsification — inventing information or including untruths in your academic work.
- Facilitation of any act of Academic Misconduct —knowingly assisting someone else in academic misconduct makes you also guilty of misconduct.
Disciplinary Process: Role of your Instructor
If your instructor suspects you of academic misconduct, they must adhere to the school's procedure.
- If your instructor has information suggesting you have engaged in academic misconduct on their course, they must first make an appointment with you to discuss it. You have this opportunity to discuss it with the instructor one-on-one and explain or defend yourself.
- If the instructor finds that you have committed academic misconduct, they will assign you an academic penalty. This ranges from having to redo an assignment to a grade reduction.
- Your instructor will notify you in writing, confirming the details of your infraction and what academic penalty you will face. They will send a copy of this notification to Student Conduct Services.
- If the course instructor cannot contact you or collect the relevant information before the time to assign final course grades, they will assign you an interim grade of Incomplete. Your grade will be Incomplete until your instructor can resolve the matter of your suspected misconduct.
Your case could end swiftly after your meeting with your instructor, with either a dismissal of the suspected infraction or the imposition of an academic penalty. Alternatively, following your meeting, your instructor may choose to refer the case to Student Conduct Services in the Student Resolution Center.
Disciplinary Process: Role of Student Conduct Services
If your instructor has referred your case to Student Conduct Services, the disciplinary procedure will follow the following process.
- First, a Hearing Officer will review your instructor's report. If it does indeed appear to them that you may have engaged in prohibited conduct as identified in the Student Conduct Code, they may assign charges from the Student Conduct Code.
- They will then schedule a student conduct hearing. The hearing officer will notify you in writing about the charge or charges against you and inform you of the hearing's date, time, and location. They will send all this to your email address.
- You will have at least two business days to prepare for the hearing.
- Student Conduct Services will conduct the hearing. Their purpose will be to determine whether you violated the Student Conduct Code. If they find you have, they will decide upon an appropriate response. Your instructor will most likely have already given you an academic sanction such as a grading penalty. However, the Student Conduct Services may choose to impose further sanctions upon you for violating school policy.
Your course instructor may impose any of the following academic penalties:
- Grading penalty
- Loss of credits
- Course failure
- Removal of opportunity to repeat assignment
- Academic misconduct notation on your official transcript.
Your instructor and a hearing officer must be in agreement for this sanction, and the notation is typically permanent and irreversible.
Student Conduct Services may impose any of the following university sanctions:
- Loss of Good Standing
- Deferred Suspension
- Compensation for loss or damages to University property
If you believe the result of the hearing was unfair, you can petition to have the Academic Misconduct Review Committee hear your appeal. You must submit an appeal within ten business days of receiving the Hearing Officer's decision, or else the decision is final.
The school may grant you an appeal on one of the following grounds:
- The hearing was not conducted fairly.
- The information presented in the case was insufficient to establish that you violated the Student Conduct Code.
- The sanction imposed was not appropriate.
- New information has emerged that was not available at the time of the original hearing.
The Academic Misconduct Review Committee is comprised of two faculty members and one student. They will hear your case, along with any newly available information, and can affirm, amend or reverse the previous decision.
Experienced Attorney-Advisor for Student Defense
Not all students think to equip themselves with a defense attorney when they are facing college disciplinary proceedings. However, with so much at stake, this is an error. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully defended countless students across the nation against charges of academic misconduct. We fight passionately to defend your education and prospects. Call us at 888-535-3686, or contact us online.