Based out of Orlando, Florida, Valencia College prides itself on cultivating a blossoming student body eager to take on an ever-changing job market. To create an environment that fosters this kind of success, the college emphasizes academic integrity in its student honor code. From day one on campus, students know what behaviors constitute academic misconduct – but they don't always know what the accusations process looks like or what sanctions those students accused of misconduct may face.
No student, luckily, has to face accusations of academic misconduct alone. Instead, students and families coping with accusations of academic misconduct at Valencia College can reach out to Lento Law Firm for guidance.
Valencia College Student Code of Conduct
The Valencia College Student Code of Conduct specifically notes that the phrase “academic misconduct” refers to instances of:
- Academic dishonesty
- The fabrication, forgery, or alteration of college documents
- The selling or purchasing of unapproved academic materials
- Collaboration between two or more students on exams, quizzes, assignments, and other projects when collaboration has otherwise been prohibited
- Theft of academic property
- Abuse of the college's facilities, including computer labs, chemical labs, wireless internet, etc.
- Inappropriate use of the college's insignia or an authority's signature in relation to student academics
The Student Code of Conduct does not go into explicit examples of these behaviors. Instead, the college allows individual professors to detail more specific understandings of academic misconduct in their syllabi.
Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
Valencia College breaks down allegations of academic misconduct into three categories based on severity. These include:
Professors who establish certain behavioral expectations of their students in their syllabi may assess students' behavior at any point to determine whether or not perceived behaviors violate these expectations. While the professor must discuss the instance with the appropriate representatives, students may still face a professor-mandated penalty for their behavior. These penalties can include:
- Loss of credit for an assignment
- Loss of credit for an exam
- Reduction of the course grade by a certain percentage
- A failing grade in the course regardless of the student's previous academic standing
- Forced withdrawal from the course
Students who wish to contest the consequences they face at the behest of their professor may file a Student Academic Dispute with their department.
Professors who believe that their students have engaged in behaviors that violated Valencia College's student code of conduct may present evidence of this behavior to the Office of Student Conduct instead of assigning the student their own sanctions. Code violations that go through the Office of Student Conduct will be addressed via Valencia College's academic misconduct hearing process.
Students may face sanctions for behaviors addressed during this process that include:
- Verbal and written warnings
- Academic probation
- Suspension from Valencia College
- Expulsion from Valencia College
Disciplinary and Academic Sanctions
In some cases, professors may believe that a student has engaged in behavior that merits both an academic and a disciplinary sanction. In these cases, professors may not register academic sanctions until after a student's academic hearing. If the Office of Student Conduct believes that the student in question violated the Student Code of Conduct, then the professor may apply what academic sanctions that they believe best fit the situation.
Valencia College's Academic Misconduct Hearing Process
Students accused of academic misconduct at Valencia College do not always go through the college's hearing process. Those students who may face disciplinary sanctions for their alleged behavior will. This process involves the following steps:
- A professor who believes that a student violated Valencia College's Student Code of Conduct must file an incident report with the Office of Student Conduct.
- The Office of Student Conduct will send a notice to the student detailing the accusation leveled against them as well as the time of their academic misconduct conference.
- Students are required to answer the notice, sent as an email, within two business days. Students have one opportunity to miss their appointments. Should an accused student miss their second scheduled appointment, representatives in the Office of Student Conduct will place holds on the student's account, preventing them from registering and withdrawing from classes until the matter is resolved.
- During their conference, students have the opportunity to address the allegations leveled against them, either accepting responsibility for their supposed actions or denying them.
- Students who deny responsibility for a professor's accusations will move to a Formal Disciplinary Hearing. The Office of Student Conduct may also forgo an informal hearing if the allegations brought forward by a professor seem especially severe.
- Students, professors, and other attending representatives may review the Valencia University Student Code of Conduct before addressing the case in question.
- The student, attending professors, and other applicable parties may present evidence backing their arguments before representatives from the Office of Student Conduct.
- Based on the presented evidence, the Student Conduct Committee will determine whether or not the accused student violated the college's Code of Conduct. If the committee concludes that this is the case, the student will face disciplinary sanctions with academic sanctions pending, depending on the severity of the accusations.
- Students have the opportunity to appeal suspensions and expulsions related to academic misconduct. Students may file their appeals with the Vice President of Student Affairs, noting that a) the evidence involved in their case inappropriately addressed their accusations, b) new evidence arose regarding the case, or c) the sanctions appear unfair or excessive.
Resources for Students and Families Facing Accusations of Academic Misconduct
No one has to face accusations of academic misconduct alone. Students and families facing these accusations who want to seek out professional assistance solely dedicated to your cause can reach out to the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can discuss Valencia College's allegations and the best approach students can take to protect their future.
Parties interested in scheduling a case consultation can reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or via the firm's online form.