College Academic Misconduct Defense – Western Michigan University

The Western Michigan University community is underpinned by the values of honesty, integrity, and transparency. The university seeks to support a community of inquisitive scholars who pursue knowledge and maintain respect for others and the academic process. To this end, Western Michigan University has an Academic Honesty policy in its Student Code of Conduct.

Students who do not act with honesty and integrity in academic matters may find themselves facing disciplinary action, either from their professors or the university. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct during their undergraduate tenure, it could lead to devastating consequences for their future education, including expulsion from the university.

Having to explain an academic dishonesty mark on your college transcript or disciplinary records puts you in an uncomfortable position with graduate schools, employers, or internship supervisors. If you have been accused of violating Western Michigan University's academic integrity policies, know that you have a lot at stake.

Academic Misconduct at Western Michigan University

The Student Code of Conduct at Western Michigan University prohibits academic misconduct and has a specific process (Article VI of the Student Code) for dealing with suspected violations. All students must adhere to the Academic Honesty policy, and university instructors are expected to abide by it as well.

Examples of Academic Misconduct at Western Michigan University

  • Intentionally using unauthorized materials, information, notes, or study aids in any academic exercise
  • Looking at another student's examination
  • Having another person prepare work or conduct research on a student's behalf as part of an academic exercise
  • Intentional invention and unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in academic work
  • Inventing or counterfeiting information to use in any academic exercise or university record
  • Imitating or counterfeiting documents or signatures
  • Using “invented” information in any laboratory experiment, report of results, or academic exercise
  • Taking a quotation from a book review and indicating it was taken from the book itself
  • Submitting substantial portions of the same paper for credit in more than one course without each faculty member giving permission
  • Using someone else's language, ideas, or other material without making the source(s) evident
  • Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic misconduct
  • Using software to perform work that the instructor has told the student to complete without the assistance of software

If a student is accused of any of these behaviors, it launches the Western Michigan University Academic Honesty process.

The Academic Honesty Process at Western Michigan University

The Academic Honesty process proceeds in three steps and may or may not involve an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel (AIHP). The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) handles cases of suspected academic dishonesty.

Step 1: Charging a Student with Academic Dishonesty

The process typically starts when a faculty member formally charges a student with academic misconduct by submitting an online form to the OSC. After the OSC receives the charge, it places a hold on the student's account and contacts the accused student to make an appointment with an OSC staff member.

During this meeting, the OSC staff member fills out an Academic Dishonesty Process form, discusses the matter with the student, and asks if the accused student takes responsibility for the charge or not.

Step 2: If the Student Accepts Responsibility

If the student accepts the charge and admits responsibility for the academic misconduct, the OSC notifies the charging faculty member. The instructor may issue a grade penalty on the assignment in question or the entire course, including a failing grade. The OSC can also issue penalties not related to the student's grades.

Step 3: If the Student Does Not Accept Responsibility

If the accused student does not accept the instructor's formal charge of academic dishonesty, the OSC arranges a hearing. The hearing can either be between the student and instructor (with the instructor as the hearing officer) or with the student, instructor, and AHIP (with the AHIP as the hearing body). Faculty members can choose which type of hearing to have.

Either the hearing officer or the hearing body will determine if the accused student is responsible or not responsible. A faculty member may impose a sanction after a responsible determination, but the AHIP may not assess a sanction.

Academic Integrity Hearing Panel

The AHIP at Western Michigan University consists of three faculty members and two students selected using the Faculty Senate's Professional Concerns Committee procedures.

Appeals

Students may only appeal a determination given by an instructor, not the AHIP. All AHIP decisions are final. After a hearing with the instructor as hearing officer, however, a student can appeal the determination with the AHIP within five university business days.

If a student receives a grade sanction from an instructor, this sanction may not be appealed.

Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct at Western Michigan University

Instructors may issue failing grades for assignments or an entire course as a penalty for academic misconduct at Western Michigan University. If an instructor decides to fail a student in their course, the student must stop attending the course.

Apart from grade sanctions, students may also face penalties from the OSC. Non-grade-related sanctions for student misconduct are listed in Article V of the Student Code of Conduct and include:

  • Warning
  • Reprimand
  • Behavior Contract
  • Discretionary Sanctions
  • Restitution
  • Loss of Privileges
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of degree
  • Withholding degree

How a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help

Although the Academic Honesty process at Western Michigan University does not allow accused students to have advisors present with them during OSC meetings or hearings, an attorney-advisor can still play a vital role in your defense. Your advisor can coach you on what to say and help you gather relevant evidence and information to present that support your argument and defense. An experienced attorney-advisor will also be able to guide you through the disciplinary process, all the while making certain that Western Michigan University recognizes your rights and interests.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team have helped hundreds of college students across the country with academic misconduct accusations and they can help you protect your future as well. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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