College Academic Misconduct: Indiana University of Bloomington

Indiana University is a "public Ivy League" institution known for its business, management, and communications programs. As a Tier 1 university, it has an understandably high academic threshold and an expectation of student excellence transcending the educational. Academic integrity is high on the list, and Indiana University has a comprehensive policy outlining students' ethical responsibilities.

While the institution has the right to maintain a fair playing field that promotes equal opportunities based on merit, mistakes happen. Students engage in less-than-favorable actions to keep up in such a competitive environment, without regard to the risks and consequences.

While the university acknowledges student rights, it also details administrative expectations that it reinforces with a policy. The academic misconduct policy is clear, thorough and helps students and their parents know what to expect if facing allegations that impact their educational future.

Student Conduct Expectations

The Division of Student Affairs lists multiple expectations and principles for students that set the tone for acceptable behavior. It includes:

  • Ethical participation as a member of the academic community
  • Accountability for words and actions
  • Treating others with respect and dignity
  • Using university resources and facilities ethically

The administration considers any violation of these policies as one of four types of misconduct: academic, personal, sexual, and organizational. For academic misconduct, the policy details the investigation process and consequences in its Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

Overview of Academic Misconduct

The University of Indiana broadly defines academic misconduct as any action that will jeopardize its academic integrity. Infarctions include:

  1. Plagiarism: Using another person's work as one's own. Students must cite or reference the source of their work, or instructors may assume that the student is engaging in deceptive behavior.
  2. Fabrication: Any information or data that a student presents in an assignment, research paper, or exercise must be genuine and factual. Students must not submit false documents, reports, or documentation to the administration, their peers, or instructors.
  3. Cheating: Multiple actions fall under this category, which the administration believes is an attempt to use tools or help others gain an unfair academic advantage. Examples include using electronic devices, the internet, cheating rings, essay mills, and other persons in an unethical manner.
  4. Violating Course Rules: The course syllabus outlines expectations of the academic division and professor of the class. For example, the professor may ask that students refrain from using specific tools or materials to complete a task, quiz, or assignment. If the student does so without authorization, it is a violation of course rules.
  5. Facilitation: Students must not help others with the intent to deceive the university or its professors. Thus, a student can't help others cheat, entice others to cheat, form cheating rings, or knowingly allow others to use their work unethically.

Once a staff member believes that a student is engaging in academic misconduct, they must go through the procedure outlined in the “Procedures” segment of the code.

Procedures and Appeals

The University of Indiana outlines the procedures that students and staff members go through when an academic misconduct case arises. The process is lengthy but offers multiple opportunities to appeal the decision and process until the Campus Review Board and Office of Vice Provost issue a final decision.

Step One: After the Incident

  • The faculty member who believes that a student is cheating brings the matter to their attention privately. If the student doesn't show up or present a convincing explanation, the professor starts an investigation.
  • If the investigation finds that a student engaged in academic misconduct, the professor may impose sanctions or give them a failing grade.
  • The professor submits a misconduct report form within 14 days of the incident to the dean.
  • The dean decides whether to accept the sanctions, add disciplinary probation, suspend the student, or expel them.

Step Two: Limited Procedural Appeal

  • Students can appeal a dean's decision within 14 days.
  • The dean discusses the matter with the student and faculty member, either alone or together.
  • If there is no resolution, the dean creates a panel of three faculty members and two students.
  • The board decides if the response is appropriate and informs the dean and the student within 14 days of the hearing.

Step Three: Appealing the Hearing

  • Students cannot appeal the board's decision unless they believe that there was a procedural error.
  • The student files an appeal within ten days to the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (graduates) or the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education.
  • The Vice Provost appoints a Campus Review Board to determine if a procedural error took place.

Step Four: Additional Sanctions

  • If the Dean of Students confirms the existence of academic misconduct after the appeals, they may impose university-wide sanctions.
  • With additional sanctions, the Registrar notes the sanctions on the student's transcript, which includes an expulsion notation (if applicable).

Step Five: Appealing a University-Wide Sanction

  • Students can only appeal the university-wide sanction with the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs or Undergraduate Education.
  • The office forms a Campus Review Board to determine if the appeals warrant an additional sanction.
  • Decisions are final and take effect as soon as the board concludes.

Without the help of an experienced advisor, it can be hard to determine if there were errors in the investigation process. Moreover, the administration may not follow the procedure correctly, placing you at a disadvantage after your appeal.

Contact an Attorney-Advisor

Given Indiana Unversity's lengthy and detailed policy, it may be overwhelming for students to go through the process alone. With the help of an advisor like Joseph D. Lento, students can develop a proper defense strategy and gather evidence and witnesses that bolster their case.

If you are an Indiana University student facing academic misconduct charges, don't wait until the administration decides on penalties to seek help. With Advisor Lento's guidance, you can meet the board with confidence and increase the chances of a favorable resolution.

A mistake or mishap doesn't have to be a permanent mark on your academic record. Call Lento Law Firm today for a strategic and thorough consultation at 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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