US News & World Report ranks the University of Florida as sixth in the nation for public universities, and it has the highest Carnegie Classification. It's considered an R1 school—very high research activity. Subsequently, the school takes academic integrity and its honor code very seriously. At the University of Florida, all students agree to abide by the following pledge when they submit any academic assignments or work: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” If you or a loved one is facing allegations of honor code violations, it's important that you take them seriously.
What is Considered an Honor Code Violation at the University of Florida?
The University of Florida's Honor Code can be found in the Orange Book. The Orange Book covers Honor Code Violations between pages 12 and 14, and it chunks them into eight different categories. Some of these categories overlap, while others are more standalone. For example, cheating includes “Impersonating another person in any academic activity or providing an unfair academic advantage to another person by producing or completing academic work or activities on behalf of another person, with or without compensation.”
Its corollary, F, is “submission of academic work purchased or obtained from an outside source.” Other listed categories are plagiarism, interference with an academic activity, false or misleading information, and complicity in violating the student honor code. Although the Honor Code pages outline possible examples, the Orange Book explicitly states that these violations are not an exhaustive list.
What is the Resolution Process for an Honor Code Violation at the University of Florida?
The first step of the resolution process for an honor code violation is an informational meeting that takes place between the student and a Student Conduct Administrator. During this meeting, the Student Conduct Administrator will review the charges and the student's rights. They will then make a determination regarding the charges of the honor code violation.
A student may choose between accepting “responsible” or “not responsible for the charges.” They may also decide between “agree” and “do not agree” for the sanctions. If the allegation is for a first honor code violation and the student selects “not responsible for the charges” or “do not agree” for the sanction, then the case will go to a Hearing. If it is a second allegation, regardless of what the student chooses, it must go to a Hearing.
In instances where the results of the Hearing could result in expulsion (separation from the University of Florida), the case will go to a Student Conduct Committee Hearing. If the case would not potentially result in a separation, then the student can choose from two options.
Their first option is an Individual Honor Hearing Officer Hearing, and their second choice is a Student Conduct Committee Hearing (or Health Science Conduct Committee Hearing, if appropriate).
What Happens During a Student Conduct Committee Hearing?
The process for the Student Conduct Committee Hearing is outlined on page 35 of the Orange Book. Regardless of which option a student selects, the process is the same. The Hearing will begin with a review of both the Hearing procedures and the charges. Then, the accused student and the reporting individual may make an introductory statement. Witness presentations and questioning occur next, followed by the reporting individual presenting their evidence and questioning of them. The accused student will speak next and be questioned by the Hearing Board. Finally, there are closing statements on the parts of both parties, and the Hearing Board deliberates.
Students may choose to have an Advisor present with them and aid them during the procedure. The Advisor is not allowed to speak on the student's behalf or to participate directly during the Hearing.
Can I Appeal a Decision?
You can appeal a decision if your circumstances meet the criteria, as outlined here. You have ten business days to submit your appeal from the date of the decision letter that you receive. An appeal for a hearing is limited to situations that meet the following circumstances:
- “The Student's or Student Organization's rights were violated in the Hearing process in a manner which materially affected the outcome of the case.
- New relevant material or information has been provided that could be sufficient to alter a decision, and was unknown by the person making the appeal at the time of the Hearing.
- The sanction (s) imposed were not appropriate for the violation, taking into account both prior misconduct and mitigating circumstances.”
What are the Sanctions and Consequences for an Honor Code Violation?
At the University of Florida, there are three categories of sanctions for honor code violations: academic sanctions, status sanctions, and educational sanctions. Academic sanctions include penalties for the affected assignment, course grade penalty with the possibility of dropping the class, and course grade penalty without the ability to drop or withdraw. Educational sanctions may include the completion of an assignment or seminar that is relevant to the offense. Finally, honor code violations may result in status changes, such as probation, suspension, and expulsion.
The Best Academic Violation Attorney-Advisor
If you or a loved one is facing honor code violations at the University of Florida, you don't want to waste any time protecting your future. Although probation, suspension, or expulsion may seem like the only concern, in fact, honor code violations that are reported on your permanent academic record or that result in any kind of sanction can have a long-reaching effect. Financial aid status can change based on the length of absence from the university. Honor code violations can negatively impact applications to graduate programs or internships and also professional employment opportunities. It's important that you work with an attorney-advisor who has your best interests as their guide and has expertise with high-stakes cases. An experienced honor code violation attorney-advisor understands how to navigate the college disciplinary process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped thousands of students across the nation fight similar allegations. Contact us today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online to learn more about how we can help you.