Since its founding in 1890, it has been the mission of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, to create a culture that fosters academic integrity. The University expects students to uphold its standards of academic conduct. Students caught violating the Academic Integrity Code can face serious repercussions, from failed assignments all the way to expulsion and a permanent record.
If you value the investment you've made into your education, you won't bury your head in the sand. With your academic career and future at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, at stake, it is important that you familiarize yourself with school policy and its disciplinary procedure. Understanding what kind of due process to expect and securing a knowledgeable advisor is the best way you can safeguard your academic future.
What is College Academic Misconduct at the University of Oklahoma, Norman?
Academic misconduct is the broad term for any action you take to influence your grades improperly.
Violations of the Academic Integrity Code include the following:
- Cheating in examinations and assessments
- Plagiarism, including self-plagiarism or recycling work
- Improper collaboration
- Lies, Fabrication, and Forgery for the purpose of academic advantage. (For example, lying to an instructor for an extension or excused absence, fabricating lab results and sources, or forging a signature on a drop slip.)
- Intimidation, hacking, and destruction of property for the purpose of academic advantage
(For example, stealing other's work, dishonestly procuring examination papers, or altering grades.)
If you have taken one of these actions for the purpose of academic advantage and either knew or reasonably should have known that the act constituted misconduct, you will likely be penalized for a violation of the academic integrity code.
There are grey areas around which the scope of the code is not entirely clear. What's more, the disruption created by the coronavirus pandemic has opened up more avenues for dishonesty whilst also making the boundaries and expectations more unclear for students. Whatever, anecdotally, it seems that your peers are doing, your school's Academic Integrity Code does make it clear that online assignments are subject to exactly the same standards of integrity that apply in regular classroom assignments.
Another very important thing to remember is that failing to cooperate properly with the school's disciplinary process and in a timely way is in itself a violation of the code. Whether the initial report against you had any validity of all, anything that could be seen as “interfering” with the proper functioning” of the integrity code can bring about penalties of its own. Failing to respond promptly to the report against you can result in losing your right to due process, including an investigation and hearing. For this reason, it is especially important that you act quickly and waste no time in securing yourself the right advisor.
How does the University of Oklahoma, Norman handle Academic Misconduct?
The University manages issues of academic misconduct in line with its Academic Integrity Code. The scope of the code is fairly broad and applies to all the work you do for any class or any related academic activity, such as enrollment run by a Norman Campus unit. The code does not apply to the College of Law.
Since 2011, University of Oklahoma students have had major responsibility for managing and running their school's academic integrity system. The Integrity Council, made up of student volunteers, fulfills the investigative, adjudicative, and advisory roles in the academic misconduct process. The student council is assisted by faculty and staff and advised by a board appointed by the President.
Anyone can report suspected academic misconduct. They can make a report either to your instructor, an administrator, who might take steps to investigate themselves before referring on to the Integrity Council. Alternatively, anyone can make a report directly to the Integrity Council.
The process that follows depends on the severity of the report against you, as well as your own response.
If the alleged misconduct didn't involve an important assignment or general examination and was a lesser offense, you might receive an admonition. This warning from your instructor may come with a grade reduction but won't have repercussions outside of the University. However, it could come to bear on any future reports or disciplinary proceedings. If, however, you are charged with a full violation of the Academic Integrity Code, you will likely face both a grade penalty and a University sanction, which could be anything from a compulsory integrity seminar to expulsion.
What is the Academic Integrity Process at the University of Oklahoma, Norman?
The process starts when someone makes a report against you. You will receive notice of the reported violation and will then have ten class days to respond and schedule a meeting. At this meeting, the school will explain what the accusation was and what disciplinary process to expect.
You could admit to the violation there and then, at which point the University will issue a sanction. Regardless of how minor or severe the sanction, all violations will become a part of your permanent educational record.
However, you should not feel pressured into giving up your rights to due process. You are entitled to contest an unfair report against you. If you do, you will trigger an investigation. You will not necessarily have the right to a hearing. That comes down to whether the investigation report finds sufficient evidence to proceed to a hearing.
It's important to remember that you have the right, that every student has, to an advisor, and that can be an attorney-advisor. You also have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, and until the investigation is resolved, you shouldn't face sanctions nor a grade penalty. Instead, you should have a neutral, temporary ‘N' grade for the duration of the investigation.
A contested process led by the Integrity Council will proceed as follows:
- Initial meeting
- Written report
You can choose to end this process with an admission at any stage or else continue to contest the claim up to the appeal stage.
The most important thing to note about this process is that if you fail to respond to your initial notice in time, you could waive your rights to the investigation, hearing, and appeal. This will destroy any chance to have of defending yourself right from the outset. If the report is serious enough, you could simply find yourself abruptly suspended, or worse still, permanently expelled.
No student-led disciplinary process is perfect, so it is vital that you make the most of your right to an advisor and proactively defend your right to due process.
What are the Consequences of Academic Misconduct at the University of Oklahoma, Norman?
If the school finds you have violated the Academic Integrity Code, you will face two types of punitive measures: a grade penalty and a University penalty. Your instructor will decide on the appropriate grade penalty within reasonable set limits. As part of the official adjudication process, led by the Integrity Council, the school will also impose an official sanction.
University sanctions can include:
- An official reprimand on the student's file
- Integrity training
- Suspension for one or more semesters
Even if you receive a lighter sanction, the repercussions of an academic misconduct charge can be life-changing. A violation of the Academic Integrity Code will remain permanently on your academic record. You may have to disclose this to any post-graduate programs you apply for, with major ramifications for your future.
Why You Need an Attorney-Advisor
An academic misconduct charge can endanger all your academic and professional goals. With so much at stake and an imperfect student-led investigatory process to rely on, you must guard your right to a fair defense. That begins by securing the best attorney-advisor you can. Joseph D. Lento has helped students across the country to navigate their school's disciplinary proceedings and will work tirelessly to bring your case to the best possible outcome. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to arrange your consultation.