If you or a loved one is facing allegations of academic dishonesty at the University of Rochester, you may not realize the potential damage that could be done to an academic or future career. Perhaps you received a letter from your instructor (an instructor resolution warning letter), or you may have received a notification of the receipt of a Board Resolution form and that a hearing is necessary to resolve the case. Regardless of which is true in your circumstance, there are some steps you can take immediately. One of the first steps you should take is to look through your academic honesty policy, which will describe the process and procedures that the school will follow. Let's take a look at some of the information in the Academic Honesty Policy.
What is Considered a Violation of Academic Honesty at the University of Rochester?
Section V.B. of the Academic Honesty Policy lists nine different acts that constitute examples of academic dishonesty at the school. It's important to understand, however, that the list is not exhaustive, nor was it designed to be a complete list.
In fact, the policy states: “it provides examples of the most common kinds of unacceptable academic conduct by students. The policy also covers dishonest actions committed by students when the effects extend beyond the University and are judged to be prejudicial to the work or the reputation of the University.” Additionally, not knowing the policy isn't a valid excuse for inappropriate actions. This is why it's important to familiarize yourself with the documents that the University of Rochester provides you with.
Many of the listed examples are the common ones you may think of when you think to yourself, “what is academic dishonesty?”. Actions such as plagiarism or getting (or giving) help that is unauthorized are obvious examples. Others, however, may surprise you, such as “denying others access to information of material,” which includes intentionally hiding library materials or failing to return reserve readings to the library. Take the time to read through the listed examples, and remember that at heart, academic dishonesty is anything that goes against the definition of Academic honesty. The policy lists that in its introduction, but here it is for you, so you have it handy: “Academic honesty means acting with truthfulness and sincerity in carrying out all aspects of our individual and collaborative work, maintaining ownership over our work and acknowledging our debt to the work of others.”
What is the Role and Composition of the Board on Academic Honesty?
According to the Academic Honesty Policy at the University of Rochester, the Board on Academic Honesty “exists to hear and adjudicate cases of alleged academic dishonesty brought by any member of the College teaching, administrative or support staff against any student, matriculated or non-matriculated, who is or was enrolled in College courses.”
The Board's makeup includes at a minimum, eleven faculty members, eleven undergraduate students, and at least two graduate students. The chair of the Board is a tenured member of the faculty who has previously served as a Board member or is currently a Board member. The Dean of the College is responsible for selecting and inviting faculty members. Faculty serve for four-year rotations and may only serve two continuous terms.
The undergraduate students who serve on the Board are chosen by a process that the Center for Student Conflict Management and the All-Campus Judicial Council decide together. The ACJC is the judicial branch of the Students' Association Government at the University of Rochester.
The AS&E Dean of Graduate Studies selects the graduate student members who participate in the Board, with at minimum, one new member per year joining.
Your hearing generally occurs within a month of receiving the form, and the Hearing Board (made of two faculty and two student members) will listen to all evidence, ask questions, deliberate, and then decide if the standard of proof is met—in this case, a preponderance of the evidence. That means, is it more likely than not that the alleged violation was committed.
What are the Different Violation Categories?
If the Board or your Instructor determines that the allegation of dishonesty is more likely than not true, the category of the violation determines the type of sanction you may receive. The University of Rochester has three main categories: minor violations, moderate violations, and major violations. What do they each include?
- Minor: The key to a determination of a minor violation is that the submitted work fails to acknowledge the contributions of others, “due primarily to inexperience.” The work or unauthorized collaboration should be a “small portion” of the total work.
- Moderate: Moderate violations are more serious than minor violations and have a wider range of included actions. Some examples include submitting work for more than one class without an instructor's permission, providing a false excuse for missed coursework or an extension request, or unauthorized collaboration where the “identical work is more than a small portion” of the turned-in assignment. Lastly, falsifying a signature on any University document also falls into this realm.
- Major: The policy outlines very clearly what constitutes the main determination of a major offense. “When a minor or moderate offense involves pre-planning, conspiracy with other students or with individuals outside the University, or is accompanied by payment to a conspirator, those factors may increase the severity to the level of a major violation.”
What Are Possible Penalties?
If it's your first offense, you must complete an academic honesty tutorial. You may receive a zero on the assignment and possibly a further reduction of your semester grade for the course. Other sanctions may include suspension, expulsion, or disciplinary probation. The sanctions are listed in XII.D of the Academic Policy.
Choosing the Best Attorney-Advisor for Academic Misconduct
Although the University of Rochester only allows a community member advisor to assist you with the hearing process, an attorney-advisor who's familiar with academic misconduct disciplinary proceedings can prove invaluable. Their assistance in the preparatory stage can ensure that you or your loved one is able to strongly defend themselves during the hearing and at all steps along the way. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped thousands of students across the nation fight for their due process and academic future. He is passionately dedicated to each client he works with and helping them receive the best possible outcome. You've invested tens of thousands of dollars in a college education, and it's important to protect that investment of time and money. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online to learn more.