As a prestigious institution of higher learning, Ohio University holds integrity and honesty as two of its basic values. The university expects all students to adhere to these standards. Upon discovery of any academic misconduct, the administration may investigate and reprimand the student or students who engaged in it. The punishments are often quite harsh. Academic misconduct includes cheating, plagiarism, using research that is falsified, or collaborating with other students without authorization by the professor. Any student who aids a classmate in any form of cheating is also committing an act of academic misconduct.
Academic Integrity Is Important
Any educational institution must have a solid reputation for honesty and integrity amongst its students, faculty, and staff. A reputation for dishonesty would devalue any degree earned at Ohio University. In the competitive process of applying to grad schools and jobs, you may lose a valuable edge against others vying for the same position. A lack of academic integrity can cause faculty to lose trust in the student body as a whole, reducing the overall educational experience for honest, hardworking students. As such, all new students should carefully read the Student Code of Conduct and make sure they understand it.
What Constitutes Academic Misconduct
Ohio University considers any misdeed defined in the Student Code of Conduct an A1 violation. Academic misconduct includes any form of dishonesty employed in the fulfillment of scholastic requirements. This applies to students who knowingly assist others in misconduct as well as those who commit the act. The two most common forms of academic misconduct are cheating and plagiarism. Here are some examples of each:
The university defines cheating as a student answering questions on any exam, test, or quiz by means other than their own knowledge of the material. Specific examples include:
- Using without authorization a course textbook, notebook, or any source of written information.
- Using technological means such as a laptop, tablet, or cell phone, to look up answers to questions without permission to do so.
- Copying the work of another student or allowing a classmate to copy yours.
- Using any source of information that is unauthorized such as writing notes on clothing, skin, or hiding notes on one's person.
- Sitting in and taking an exam, test, or quiz for someone else.
- Asking for or providing assistance to another student without permission of the professor.
- Using a calculator without permission.
- The acquisition of any form of unauthorized knowledge for use in taking a test or quiz.
- For the sake of attendance, signing in another student.
The university defines plagiarism as using the writings or ideas of another and presenting them as one's own. Examples include:
- Taking the work of another, whether published or unpublished, and reproducing it to fulfill an assignment.
- Using any work created in full or in part by another person on an academic exercise.
- Submitting as your own, any work that has been edited or revised by another person.
- Using quotes or the ideas or words of another person without properly citing the source. This includes using quotation marks around that person's words and using footnotes.
- Using a source without citing it by simply altering the words used or the organization of the material.
Ohio University Procedures Regarding Academic Misconduct
When a faculty member makes an accusation of academic misconduct, that professor will determine the effect of the action on the student's grade, while the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility has the authorization to discipline the accused.
Upon suspecting a student has violated the academic misconduct policy, the professor will first confront the student accused and determine what the penalty regarding grades should be. The professor may penalize the student's grade for the exam or course, sometimes with an F. This will have a severe impact on the student's GPA.
Formal Disciplinary Referral
In lieu of, or in addition to the grade penalty, the instructor may file a disciplinary referral with the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility. In this case, the office will notify the student in writing of the referral and schedule a date for an interview. At the interview, the hearing body will explain the charges against the student and detail the accused's rights. The student can either admit the charge, in which case the body will impose disciplinary action, or deny the charge. In the case of a denial, a hearing will be scheduled in which the student will be allowed to defend themself. At the hearing, the body will make a determination as to whether the misconduct accusation is verified. If the misconduct charge is upheld, the student will then be disciplined. The accused student has the right to appeal this decision, as well as be represented by an advisor.
The Appeal Process
Should the accused wish to appeal the disciplinary action, they should refer to the section on appeals under Code of Conduct Procedures in the Student Code of Conduct for the proper method of filing an appeal.
When appealing a decision involving a grade penalty, the student should contact in this order: the professor who made the accusation, the department chair, dean of the college the class belongs to, and finally, the university ombuds.
Possible Consequences of Academic Misconduct
The university may take several disciplinary actions, all of which can be very harmful to your academic career and possibly your future. The professor may give you a failing grade on the exam or for the entire course, which will hurt your GPA and cost you needed credits. Other possibilities are academic probation, loss of scholarship or financial aid, and suspension or expulsion. Your penalty may be attached to your permanent record, creating an obstacle to getting into a grad school or securing employment.
Hire an Attorney as Your Academic Misconduct Advisor
If you are accused of academic misconduct for any reason, do not take it lightly. The potential damage is just too severe. You need an attorney experienced in advising and representing students in the investigation, hearing, and appeal process. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686. Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students in Ohio and nationwide and has the knowledge and skills to defend you effectively. He will fight for you every step of the way. Don't risk your future.