Academic misconduct: It's a terrifying phrase. If your school has recently notified you that they will be investigating you on suspicion of plagiarism, cheating, or other academic integrity violations, it's easy to get scared very quickly. You might instantly start to think through all of your past assignments and tests. You might wonder who made an allegation against you. You might wonder if there's any way out of this situation that doesn't ruin your chances of graduating on time (or at all).
There's a lot on your mind. Unfortunately, it's only beginning. There's a lot that you're going to need to do over the coming weeks in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
Fortunately, you're not alone. At the Lento Law Firm, it's our job to ensure that you have the resources you need to succeed.
What is Academic Misconduct at Louisiana State University?
According to the LSU code of conduct, “high standards of academic integrity are crucial for the University to fulfill its educational mission.” In order to make sure that every member of the LSU academic community has the information at hand to uphold the academic integrity standards of the university, the code of conduct goes further to clarify the types of behaviors that the university will investigate as academic misconduct:
- Unauthorized collaboration
- Failure to follow course requirements
- False or fabricated information
- Attempting to commit academic misconduct
- Assisting someone else in an act of academic misconduct
- The use of unauthorized materials
This is not an exhaustive list. The university may choose to investigate any action that causes a teacher or a student to file an allegation of academic misconduct against another. Once LSU becomes aware that you may have been involved in an illicit action, LSU will initiate its procedures to determine what precisely happened.
Due Process at Louisiana State University: What To Expect
At LSU, due process for academic misconduct is known as the school's “Accountability Process.” An allegation of misconduct will first make its way to LSU's office of Student Advocacy or Accountability. An official of this department will take some time to review the allegations made and conduct an initial investigation into your alleged actions. If the official determines that they need more information, they will send a written notification to the alleged guilty party—you—to invite you to a meeting. At this meeting, the official will review the information against you, allow you a chance to tell your side of the story, and finish the meeting with either a decision of no action or a recommendation for disciplinary action.
The Punitive Measures at Stake
When LSU has decided that a student is guilty of a violation of the code of conduct, the following consequences are on the table:
- A written warning
- A disciplinary probation
- An interim suspension
- A deferred suspension
- An immediate, prolonged suspension
In addition, the school will consider other supportive or disciplinary measures, including revocation of campus privileges or mandatory counseling or educational measures (e.g., a class on plagiarism).
However, as harsh and varied as these consequences may seem, they are nothing compared to the long-term effect of having a disciplinary violation of any kind recorded on your LSU transcript. In the future, any time that you apply to a new job (or new academic program or scholarship), the people who are in charge of giving you that opportunity will do their due diligence. They will contact LSU and ask you about your behavioral record. They will see the note about your disciplinary violation on your transcript. This, in many cases, will be enough for many people to decide not to grant you the opportunities that you would otherwise deserve.
This is unfair, and you can't let this happen. This is why you need to work hard, now, to make sure that you can close this matter in a way that won't wreak havoc on your future.
At LSU, you do have the option to appeal your disciplinary violation. The university makes it clear, however, that you only have one chance to do so; the decision that the school comes to after your appeal—which may be the same as the original decision—will be final. It's, therefore, a good idea to wait until you're working with a professional attorney-advisor before you use up your one chance to appeal. Your student defense advisor will help you determine whether you have a strong basis for an appeal before you initiate the process.
Louisiana State University Students, Call Joseph D. Lento if You Need Assistance with Academic Misconduct Charges
Whether LSU is investigating you for plagiarism, cheating, or fabrication of data, you need to move quickly to make sure that a past slip-up doesn't adversely affect your future. After all, you've worked hard for everything you've achieved at LSU. You need to make sure that you can enjoy that same sense of success in the future. You need to make sure that your lack of action now doesn't jeopardize the opportunities you have in five, ten, and even twenty years.
However, navigating the academic and disciplinary procedures in front of you can be tough. You'll need to become innately familiar with your school's code of conduct. You'll need to write strategic arguments, be comfortable arguing your case, and dig up evidence that demonstrates your innocence.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help with all of this and more. For years, he's successfully helped students in your shoes work towards a fair process and a favorable outcome. He can help you, too. Rely on the empathetic experience and targeted expertise of Joseph D. Lento to get through your upcoming academic misconduct case.
Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more about how we can help you.