Saint Leo University (SLU) is the oldest Catholic university in Florida, and it boasts a “century-long tradition of welcoming students of all faiths.” As part of this welcoming tradition, Saint Leo University demands that its students abide by an academic code of conduct.
Merely being accused of academic dishonesty can harm your reputation. Should you fail to clear your name (and face formal sanctions), then you may pay steep personal and professional costs.
Joseph D. Lento will be your trusted attorney-advisor throughout your case. He will prepare you for Saint Leo University's adjudication process.
To understand why Lento and his team can be of great help, consider what hurdles lie ahead of you.
Saint Leo University's Standard for Academic Integrity
Section B2 of SLU’s Student Code of Conduct sets the following standard for academic integrity:
“All students have a responsibility to uphold the Academic Honor Code by refraining from any form of academic misconduct, presenting only work that is genuinely their own, and reporting any observed instance of academic dishonesty to a faculty member.”
Any alleged violation of this standard could lead to formal sanctions.
Specific Acts That May Violate SLU's Student Code of Conduct
In addition to the violations listed in Section B2 of the Saint Leo University Student Code of Conduct, you could face repercussions for an allegation of:
- Receiving test questions or answers in advance of the examination
- Sharing test questions or answers with other students
- Completing work for another student
- Using electronic resources, cheat sheets, notes, or other aides when not permitted to do so
- Using the words or ideas of others without proper citation
- Collaborating with others on a non-collaborative assignment
- Engaging in any behavior considered to be a breach of the academic code of conduct
There may be no debate that a certain (alleged) behavior qualifies as academic dishonesty. However, there may be questions as to:
- Whether you engaged in the alleged behavior
- Whether the allegations against you have been misrepresented or embellished
- Whether you should face sanctions
- What types of sanctions (if any) are appropriate
The Lento Law Firm can help you answer these questions. Joseph D. Lento and his team will work to minimize the harm caused by the allegations levied against you.
How Does Saint Leo University Respond to Allegations of Academic Misconduct?
SLU’s Academic Catalog outlines how the school adjudicates alleged violations of the academic honor code. There are multiple stages to the adjudication process, generally occurring in this order:
Reporting of alleged wrongdoing
Faculty members who allege wrongdoing will report the allegation through the university's Academic Honor Code Reporting System.
Determination of sanctions by the presiding professor
A professor has the leeway to impose the following sanctions:
- Issuing a grade of zero for the assignment in question
- Allowing you to re-submit the assignment for a reduced grade
Instructors at Saint Leo University do not have the authority to issue a failing grade in the course. You have the right to contest both the allegations against you and any sanctions that a professor proposes.
Notification of the allegations against you
You will receive an automatic notification from the SLU Academic Honor Code Reporting System once the professor submits a report of alleged wrongdoing.
Appeal of the allegations and sanctions levied against you
Some students may choose to accept the sanctions that a professor proposes. We do not generally advise that you do this, as any form of academic sanction may reflect on your record in one way or another.
Rather than accepting a punishment without contest, you can request a hearing to try and mitigate the allegations or sanctions against you.
What Can You Expect From the Appeals Process?
You have five days from the receipt of an alleged violation to request an appeal. SLU's Academic Standards Committee will conduct a hearing, at which time you may:
- Present any evidence that supports your claim of innocence
- Make an oral case in your defense
- Present any witness testimony that supports your defense
- Refute the professor's account of events or specific allegations against you
The Academic Standards Committee will issue a decision regarding your guilt and any sanctions that you should face. If it determines that you are not culpable of the offense alleged against you, then you may face no sanctions.
If you disagree with the Academic Standards Committee's decision, then you have five days to appeal the decision. The Office of Academic Affairs will process this appeal. As the SLU Academic Catalog explains, “The final authority rests with the Office of Academic Affairs.”
What Do You Face Should You Lose Your Case?
If you do not successfully contest or appeal the allegations against you, then you may:
- Fail an assignment
- Fail a course
- Receive an official reprimand in your student file
- Be suspended from Saint Leo University
- Be dismissed from Saint Leo University
You may carry the blemish of academic sanctions beyond graduation. The topic of your alleged academic dishonesty may be unavoidable as you pursue employment or apply to graduate programs. A damaged reputation may diminish your professional opportunities and earning power.
If you face possible sanctions from Saint Leo University, hire skilled attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento to defend you.
Joseph D. Lento Understands the Collegiate Arena
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm understand the unique challenges of academic misconduct cases. They know what is at stake in cases like yours, and they understand that universities may rule on your case with a heavy hand.
Joseph D. Lento will be as involved in your defense as Saint Leo University permits, and because due process concerns often arise in academic misconduct cases, he will go beyond when appropriate to the circumstances. Attorney Lento will gather the facts of your case, seek exonerating evidence, and prepare you for the hearing that lies ahead. He will seek the best possible outcome for you.
Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to retain our services.