As part of the University of Colorado-Denver Honor Code, all members of the University of Colorado-Denver community pledge to “act with honesty and ethics in academia.”
Students, staff, and faculty must accept this responsibility to maintain the highest standards of intellectual honesty and ethical conduct in their academic work. Should they be found to have violated these principles, students can face severe sanctions and lasting reputational damage.
If your school has accused you of academic misconduct, you must act quickly. Your reputation for academic integrity follows you throughout your career, and an allegation of dishonesty can cast all your academic and professional aspirations into doubt.
An experienced attorney advisor can best ensure that the school follows the proper process and puts forward the best possible defense.
CU Denver Honor Code
The school expects you to be entirely honest both in your work and in your dealings with others.
CU Denver's honor code encapsulates the values of academic integrity. All members of the University of Colorado-Denver community pledge to “act with honesty and ethics in academia and society by building mutual trust and responsibility as a foundation for lifelong integrity.”
CU Denver Academic Integrity Policy
The school also has a specific Academic Integrity Policy. The policy identifies six fundamental values for academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. It also outlines specific offenses that violate these principles: academic misconduct, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, falsification, multiple submission, misuse of academic materials, complicity in academic dishonesty.
In the first instance, your course instructor will handle any issues if they are concerned about your academic integrity. If your instructor escalates the issue, they will involve the school's Academic Integrity Committee (AIC). It is the job of the AIC to promote and enforce the Academic Integrity Policy.
The AIC is made up of faculty, students, and staff. A non-voting member from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards coordinates the committee.
What Counts as Academic Misconduct at the University of Colorado-Denver?
Academic dishonesty and academic misconduct are broad terms. Any sort of dishonest attempt to gain an advantage in an academic assignment will be deemed to violate the school's expectations of academic integrity.
Offenses prohibited in the Academic Integrity Policy include the following:
- Academic Misconduct — use of unauthorized assistance in an attempt to deceive the instructor evaluating your work.
- Plagiarism — use of another person's distinctive ideas or words without acknowledgment.
- Cheating — “use of information, materials, notes, study aids, or other devices not authorized by the instructor in an academic exercise or communication with another person during such exercise.”
- Fabrication — inventing or counterfeiting information, such as creating results not obtained in a study or laboratory experiment.
- Falsification — deliberately altering or changing results to suit one's needs in an experiment or other academic exercise.
- Multiple Submission — “the submission of academic work for which academic credit has already been earned when such submission is made without instructor authorization.”
- Complicity in Academic Dishonesty — knowingly contributing to another's academic misconduct.
- Misuse of Academic Materials —
- stealing, destroying, or unauthorized use of reference materials, answer keys, prior examinations, computer programs, or another student's notes or materials.
- “altering, forging, or falsifying academic materials.
- selling or purchasing prior examinations, papers, or assignments.”
Who Handles Suspected Academic Misconduct?
The school encourages the informal resolution of academic integrity matters at the level of the individual faculty member and the school or college. However, for contested allegations or sanctions and repeat allegations, the school has centralized hearing procedures. “These procedures are overseen by the Academic Integrity Committee (“AIC”), which consists of faculty and students representing all schools/colleges and university staff.”
The first person to pick up on suspected academic misconduct will be your instructor in nearly every case. The University believes that most cases are best handled by your instructor at the classroom level. The school acknowledges that many cases of academic dishonesty “involve miscommunications, the absence of clear policies on syllabus or assignments, or cultural differences.” Your instructor will investigate the incident to determine the facts. You may be able to find a satisfactory conclusion at this stage. Your instructor may then bring a formal charge against you. From there, your case may or may not go to a hearing.
What Is the School's Procedure if Someone Has Brought Formal Charges of Academic Misconduct Against You?
While some cases of suspected academic misconduct begin and end with your instructor, any faculty member, student, or staff can bring formal charges of academic dishonesty against you. To bring formal charges, they will complete an allegation form online. This will start the following process:
- The school will send you a letter asking you to attend a mandatory meeting with your instructor to discuss the incident. The meeting will take place in the faculty member's office between three and five days after discovering alleged academic misconduct. A third party may attend.
- After your meeting, your instructor will determine if you are responsible for violating the school's academic integrity policy using the preponderance of the information standard (more likely than not).
- If they find you not to be responsible, they will inform The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS) of the finding, and it will end there.
- If they find you responsible, your instructor will assign sanctions.
At this point, you can accept responsibility for the alleged academic misconduct and accepts the sanction, or else contest the decision, in which case the Academic Integrity Committee will convene a hearing.
When will the Academic Integrity Committee Convene a Hearing?
The Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) will convene a hearing when:
- You deny the charge of academic dishonesty brought against you
- You dispute the sanctions imposed by your instructor
- The faculty member requests a hearing and feels that the most severe academic penalty they can give (a failing grade in the course) is insufficient.
- A student found responsible for prior academic dishonesty.
What Academic Sanctions Might You Face?
“Suggested academic sanctions for use by faculty include:
- verbal or written warning
- required additional assignments
- reflection essay
- academic integrity module review or seminar
- other educational sanctions as assigned
- grade reduction on assignment or test
- grade of F on assignment or test
- grade letter reduction in the course, or grade of F in the course.”
The maximum sanction that the faculty member may assign “is an F grade in the course, although they may recommend to the AIC that the University consider a stronger sanction.”
When will the Academic Integrity Committee Convene a Hearing?
At least three days before a hearing is scheduled, the Academic Integrity Committee will notify the parties involved on their CU Denver email addresses as well as the following:
- The specific charges brought
- The time and place of the hearing
- A description of the hearing process
- Your rights during the hearing and appeals process
What Happens During an Academic Integrity Committee Hearing?
During a hearing, the following occurs:
- The faculty member presents the evidence.
- The student puts forward their defense.
- The AIC panel asks any questions.
- The AIC panel discusses the case in private, decides based on the preponderance of the evidence, and identifies sanctions.
While faculty members can only give academic sanctions, anything up to a failing grade, the AIC committee can assign academic, educational, advocacy, or disciplinary sanctions. These might include notations on your transcript, probation, suspension, or expulsion.
What can an Attorney-Advisor do?
Your reputation is a precious asset you must protect carefully. 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. For many years, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have defended countless students facing academic misconduct charges across the nation. Call us at 888-535-3686, or contact us online.