Going through college can be hard. You have spent your entire life working towards the goal of graduating one day, but if you are accused of academic misconduct, that goal can seem to stretch farther and farther away. At DePaul University, academic integrity is paramount to creating an effective educational environment, which is why accusations of academic misconduct are taken very seriously. If you or someone you love has been accused of violating the academic integrity policy at DePaul University, working with an experienced attorney advisor from the very beginning will ensure the university upholds your due process rights and will prevent your case from potentially slipping through the cracks.
Academic Misconduct at DePaul University
Every school across the country has a specific academic integrity policy that they require students to review prior to classes starting. Generally, academic misconduct is defined as any behavior that results in a student having an advantage over other students. At DePaul University, those behaviors include:
- Cheating: any act that violates university norms or instructor guidelines for an exam, paper, or other academic exercises
- Plagiarism: turning in an exam, paper, or other academic exercise using the ideas and thoughts of another person without giving them the appropriate recognition
- Fabricating, falsifying, or sabotaging research data
- Destroying or misusing the university's academic resources
- Altering or falsifying academic records
- Helping someone else behave in one of the instances described above
- Failing to comply with the academic integrity procedures
DePaul University Academic Dishonesty Procedure
If a faculty member suspects a student of academic misconduct, they are encouraged to have a discussion with the student first. After this meeting, if they still believe the student has violated the academic integrity policy, they have the authority to impose whatever sanction they see fit. The Associate Provost will review these sanctions and can request that they be modified. The Associate Provost may also determine that an administrative hearing is necessary before deciding on the initial sanctions.
Administrative hearings are held to allow the student to present their side of the story, using relevant evidence and witnesses. These hearings are run by the Academic Integrity Board. During the hearing, both sides will have the opportunity to present relevant evidence and witnesses to advocate on their behalf. If the Board finds that the student is not responsible for the alleged violation, they will reverse the instructor's initial sanction, if there was one. If the Board finds that the violation did occur, they will uphold the sanction unless it was found to be excessive or inappropriate, in which case they have the option to administer a different sanction.
Sanctions may include:
- Failure of the course
- Lowering the student's grade an entire letter grade
- Educational remedies that are designed to teach the student how to follow the Academic Integrity Policy
- A letter of reprimand without a notation on the student's transcript
- A letter of reprimand with a notation on the student's transcript
- Suspension from the university for a particular period of time
- Dismissal from the student's program or major
- Expulsion from the university
- Revoking the student's degree completely
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision
Students have the right to submit appeal requests once the proceedings have concluded. These appeals must be turned in to the Academic Integrity Office within five days of being notified of the Board's decision. The appeal must include one of the following grounds:
- There was a substantial procedural error that unreasonably stopped the students from having a fair process or fair final decision.
- There is new substantive evidence that was impossible for the hearing panel to have heard at the time of the hearing, and it would be fundamentally unfair for it not to be heard.
- The sanction imposed was excessive and/or inappropriate.
The Associate Provost will refer the appeal to an appeals panel. The panel will review the case documents and consult with the original hearing panel. They will then decide if the appeal should be denied or overturned, the sanctions should be modified or thrown out, or refer the entire case to a new hearing panel. If the hearing panel must conduct a new hearing, they will determine if the complaint should be upheld, denied, or the sanctions modified. Whatever the outcome, it cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Being accused of violating your university's code of conduct can have disastrous long-term effects on your college career. For one, if you are forced to retake the course it may affect your graduation schedule or your ability to stay in your major. And what if you are suspended or expelled? Those sanctions will close doors both academically and professionally. Even a lesser sanction such as probation will follow you to the next university or graduate program. Alternatively, if you are adjudicated as not responsible after being accused of academic misconduct, the harm to your reputation may already be done. Teachers and other students may have created a bias that will be hard to move on from. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced attorney-advisor the moment you learn of the accusation to help you avoid the potential negative consequences associated with academic misconduct allegations. Attorney advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm, will work tirelessly to create a strategic defense that guarantees you the best possible outcome. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. Remember, you are not in this alone; the Lento Law Firm can help.