As a prestigious private university with a selective acceptance rate, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) offers students a competitive yet convivial academic environment. The school's motto, “Theory and Practice,” highlights its scientific core and hints at its demanding curriculum and exacting standards. WPI's Student Code of Conduct outlines those standards, reinforcing academic integrity principles and explaining the hearing process if violations happen.
WPI has a comprehensive conduct system that allows students, staff members, and the administration to handle infarctions systematically. The repercussions depend on the type of violation and where it occurred. Since students can appeal and have a legal advisor present, understanding how the system works helps you reach a favorable resolution if you face academic misconduct charges.
If you face an academic misconduct charge from WPI, you don't have to take on the case alone. An attorney-advisor can help you clear your name from baseless allegations and help you face the Campus Hearing Board.
Academic Misconduct and Dishonesty
Student integrity is high on the list of expectations at WPI, and academic misconduct goes against its community standards. WPI defines academic misconduct as any action that interferes with evaluating a student's work and cheats others of awards and recognition. The university considers honesty a “fundamental value” of those dedicated to scientific learning and discovery.
The university publishes an annual report detailing the number of reported academic dishonesty cases and which departments had the most violations. While academic dishonesty goes against WPI's Code of Conduct, it is the most frequent infarction.
Examples of dishonesty in the code include:
- Cheating: The use of unauthorized means to cheat on a test or exercise. Some examples include using an essay mill to submit a research paper, copying another student's work, or communicating with others during an exam.
- Facilitation: Helping other students cheat or engage in an unauthorized academic activity. For example, saving test questions and giving them to another student, doing another student's work, or allowing others to copy exam answers.
- Plagiarism: Using the work of others and claiming it as one's own. For example, even if a student summarizes another person's idea and writes it differently, it is still plagiarism if they don't include a citation.
- Fabrication: As WPI students submit research, the falsification of results, information, or data is a grave offense. Examples include altering documents or records, citing sources that do not exist, and deceiving an instructor when submitting a corrected exam for review.
If a professor suspects that a student is engaging in academic dishonesty, they must follow WPI's resolution process.
Academic Honesty Resolution Process
When a professor believes that a student is cheating, they must fill out an Academic Dishonesty Departmental Agreement Form and send it to the Dean of Students. The form includes:
- Student's name
- Description of the violation
The professor contacts the student and meets with them either through a face-to-face meeting or Skype. They can accept the professor's sanctions through the Departmental Agreement Process or appeal to the Campus Hearing Board.
The Campus Hearing Board
If a student does not agree to a professor's sanctions, the case goes to the Campus Hearing Board. The board considers the allegations against the student and decides the proper course of action. If the board finds that the student is not guilty of the charges, the professor must accept the decision. The student must continue the course without a failing grade or penalization.
If this is the student's second infarction, or if the issue is severe, the Campus Hearing Board takes on the case immediately. The student's history makes a difference in the outcome. If the student has no prior history of academic dishonesty, the board may be lenient. Multiple infarctions can lead to suspension and expulsion.
If a student disagrees with the Campus Hearing Board's decision, they have a right to appeal. Then, the issue goes to the Judicial Appeals Board. The JAB can uphold the conclusion of the CHB, modify it, or asks the CHB for a rehearing.
WPI does not aim to punish its students disproportionately and wants to provide an opportunity for the behavior to change and become a constructive event. WPI's policy is clear and transparent. The student knows what to expect and can create a proper defense strategy to fight the allegations when they notice a deviation in the process.
WPI outlies the consequences of academic dishonesty from the first infarction to subsequent allegations.
- The student receives no credit for an exam or assignment (for less-serious offenses).
- The maximum penalty that a department can assign to a student is dismissal from the course. The student receives an “F” or NR.
- The Dean of Students receives the report and decides whether the penalty is appropriate.
- The case goes to the Campus Hearing Board if the student wishes to escalate.
- The case goes to the Campus Hearing Board with or without the student's approval.
- CHB imposes disciplinary sanctions.
- Students may receive a suspension for one or more semesters.
- WPI expels the student for egregious offenses.
In more severe cases, an academic advisor offers students the best chance of fighting against harmful allegations. With suspension or expulsion, a student loses years of hard work and may have to wait longer to graduate.
Call the Lento Law Firm
While WPI offers students multiple chances to appeal a sanctions decision, some penalties can cost more than a grade or lost credit.
Students who have a cheating or academic dishonesty notation on their permanent record can have difficulty finding adequate employment or internship opportunities later on. They also lose the chance to use professors as valuable character references, in addition to privileges and scholarships.
If you face academic dishonesty charges at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, call attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Advisor Lento have unparalleled experience in helping students fight academic misconduct allegations and retain their years of hard work and effort.
A lapse in judgment shouldn't be a death sentence when it comes to your academic progress. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a thorough discussion of your case at 888-535-3686.