The University of California-Berkeley student code of conduct exemplifies the university's commitment to the general public as well as its expectations that its students both represent their communities and their own ambitions. In this code's appendix, students can find those code violations that put them at odds with the university's expectations for them. In this appendix, the university defines academic misconduct as behaviors including:
- Cheating, or instances of deceit involving a student's academic work. Examples include the completion of an exam, quiz, or assignment by one student on the behalf of another as well as the procuring of answer keys or past assignments from outside sources.
- Plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, or the use of another person's thoughts and ideas as one's own without permission or citation. Self-plagiarism here includes the use of one's previously-submitted work in a different course without the permission of both attending instructors.
- Theft of intellectual property, or the use of another student's work to complete one's assignments, exams, or quizzes.
- The falsification of information referring to the university.
- The alteration of university documents, including the forging of instructors' signatures or transcripts.
- Classroom or lab disturbances designed to disrupt the learning experiences of other students to the benefit of the acting party.
The student code notes that its categories of academic misconduct are not comprehensive and that department heads, along with representatives from the Center for Student Conduct, may address instances of perceived misconduct as they best see fit.
Sanctions for Honor Code Violations
Student accused of violating the University of California-Berkeley's honor code may face the following sanctions:
- Written or verbal warnings
- Community service
- Disciplinary probation
- Restitution or related monetary fines
- Record holds
- Loss of privileges on campus
- Exclusion from certain areas on campus or from official functions
- Interim suspension
- Dismissal from the university
- Withholding a student's degree
- Degree revocation
Application of these sanctions may vary based on the behavior the student allegedly engaged in.
The university also notes that it may impose a stay of sanction, meaning that the consequences for a student's alleged academic misconduct may remain in play until the student in question engages in some manner of university-required activity. Students may also be required to visit on-campus counselors or programs before they're allowed to resume student activities.
University of California-Berkeley Instructors and Academic Misconduct
All instructors who suspect that a student has engaged in academic misconduct have the option to meet with that student before submitting a report noting their suspicions to the Center for Student Conduct. At this point, students have the option to assume responsibility or to refute their accusations.
Students who assume responsibility for accusations of academic misconduct must sign a Faculty Disposition Form. The instructor in question will then submit this form to the Center for Student Conduct within the next sixty days, along with any other evidence they believe provides the Center with more details regarding the case. From here, the instructor can collaborate with Department representatives to determine how the behavior in question may impact the student's grade and whether or not the student needs to go through the university's investigation process.
If a student denies the academic misconduct accusations leveled against them, the instructor may still file their related documents with the Center for Student Misconduct. The Center, in turn, will inform the student if it seems as though the student needs to go through the University of California-Berkeley's hearing process.
The University of California-Berkeley's Academic Misconduct Hearing Process
Cases against students can be dropped if the Center for Student conduct does not have sufficient evidence of the initial charge leveled against the accused. Similarly, students who have no history of academic misconduct may only receive written notification that their behavior violates the university code of conduct instead of having to go through the hearing process.
If the attending department and the Center for Student Conduct believe that there is sufficient evidence brought forth against a student in a case of academic misconduct, that case may be charged. This process typically involves the following steps:
- The student will be notified both of the charges brought against them, of the potential consequences, and of the hearing to be held regarding that behavior.
- An advisory review committee will form to address the case, usually involving representations from the Center of Student Conduct as well as representatives from the student's department.
- Students have the option to meet with these parties in an informal setting or to go forward with the hearing process. In information resolutions, the student will face sanctions as applied by the above committee, having accepted responsibility for the accusations leveled against them.
- Students who choose to go through with an official hearing may present their case to the aforementioned board, while the board and accusing instructor – or similar party – may do the same. The board will determine whether or not the student will face consequences in light of their accusations and will inform the student as such.
Students have the opportunity to appeal the applied sanctions after their hearing concludes. No student, however, who fails to participate in their hearing may appeal the decision put forward by the advisory review committee.
Contesting Accusations of Academic Misconduct at the University of California-Berkeley
Anticipating accusations of academic misconduct is bad enough. Getting word of these accusations through the University of California-Berkeley's Center for Student Conduct, seemingly out of the blue, can be even worse. Luckily, no student has to face accusations of academic misconduct alone. Instead, students and their families can reach out to attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm can schedule an initial meeting with impacted students and their parents to discuss the details of an academic misconduct case as well as the student's procedural and legal options.
To schedule a case consultation, interested parties can reach out to Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or via the firm's online form.