When you've spent years working on getting into a good college and thousands of dollars on tuition, it can be incredibly upsetting to learn that you are facing allegations of scholastic dishonesty. A determination of academic misconduct could impact your future employment or graduate pursuits if the academic misconduct becomes a part of your permanent academic record. It's important that you take these allegations seriously and speak with a professional who can help you understand how to best navigate this challenging circumstance. One thing you want to be certain to do immediately is to review the University of Miami documents that pertain to scholastic dishonesty. There are several useful documents and policies you might want to review: the academic integrity policy, the Honor Code, and the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
What is the Academic Integrity Policy at the University of Miami?
The academic integrity policy is a comprehensive document that outlines the disciplinary proceedings at the University. It begins by explaining the membership and hearing panel structures. Whether a College Academic Integrity Committee handles an allegation or an Honor Council handles an allegation depends on the Class of the violation. Individual schools and colleges address alleged Class I and Class II violations (via their Academic Integrity Committee). A Hearing Panel at the Honor Council level handles all alleged Class III violations and any appeals for Class I and II violations.
As a whole, the policy details the reporting and adjudicating process, the appeals process and also offers sample forms at the end.
The Honor Code, on the other hand, outlines what constitutes an Academic Integrity Violation, whether it's a Class I, II, or III.
Are the Honor Codes the Same for Graduate and Undergraduate Students?
The Honor Codes are not the same for Graduate and Undergraduate students at the University of Miami. The Honor Code for Undergraduates has four main violations: cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and academic dishonesty. The Graduate School Honor Code begins with a reminder of innovation and integrity. There are eight items on its list of violations, some of which are generally more of a concern at the graduate level (such as fabrication of research or falsification of research). Although the list is more extensive for the Graduate school, both Honor Codes, in fact, state that all forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.
What Timeline can I Expect if I'm Facing Allegations of Scholastic Dishonesty?
For undergraduates, the timeline varies, dependent on the alleged Class violation. For both Class I and Class II, the Academic Dean for Undergraduate Studies will meet with you within 5 academic days of receiving a report of an alleged violation. They will present you with the charges and the potential sanctions. You will have 3 academic days to decide whether you will pick one of three options. First, you admit responsibility and accept the faculty's suggested sanction. Second, you admit responsibility and take the minimum sanction according to the guidelines. Finally, you can request a hearing with the Academic Integrity Committee.
The timeline varies here, dependent on what you choose. Generally, however, most actions take 3 academic days, apart from the Academic Integrity Committee meeting (that is within 2 weeks). Title VI B in the Student Handbook offers exact details.
If the violation is a Class III violation, the Academic Dean has 7 academic days after meeting with you to present the charges, to establish an Honor Council hearing panel. Title VI D explains the rest of the process as far as timeline. The Dean of Students will name members of the Hearing Panel, and you have one day to challenge any member to be removed. This must be done in writing. The Hearing Panel will consist of the presentation of information, witnesses, and deliberation. A majority vote of 3 out of 4 is required in order for you to be held responsible for the allegation.
What are Possible Penalties for Honor Code Violations?
The penalties can vary, dependent on faculty recommendation and the Class of the allegation. The recommended Class I sanctions at a minimum are an F on the assignment in question, and at maximum, an F in the course. Additionally, there may be an educational sanction that requires a student to participate in an educational opportunity to learn about academic integrity. Class II violations include the above possible sanctions. However, dismissal from the University is the maximum possible penalty. Class III violations also include the possibility of an XF in a course. As you can see, Class II and Class III allegations both could potentially result in suspension or expulsion. Possible sanctions that fall within the maximum and minimum could include strict disciplinary probation or even university service. This information can be found in both the Student Handbook and the Undergraduate Honor Code.
What Is at Stake?
College can be a time of experimentation and testing one's limits. It's a space for students to explore and grow after investing inordinate amounts of time and money. Sometimes it can be easy to forget what's at stake when college is also about the experience. It's important, however, to recognize that there is a lot at stake. Certain sanctions or penalties can result in a loss of financial aid or scholarship monies. This loss can, in turn, impact your financial future. If you have any desire to apply to medical school or law school, a permanent record of academic dishonesty can affect whether or not a school accepts your application and admits you to their program.
Experienced Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor
With so much at risk, it's critical that you speak with someone who can help you fight for your future. An experienced attorney-advisor can guide you as you navigate the disciplinary proceedings at the University of Miami. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are dedicated to fighting for students' rights. Over many years, they have successfully defended thousands of students facing similar allegations of academic misconduct. They can advise you on how to best prepare for your hearing panel and what defense strategy can achieve the best possible outcome. Reach out online or contact us today at 888.535.3686 to discuss your case.