Being accused of academic misconduct can feel jarring and confusing, especially if you've worked tirelessly to get into college. You might not know what to expect or how to defend yourself from such allegations. At Old Dominion University, academic integrity is paramount to protecting the culture on campus, which is why they take academic misconduct allegations so seriously. If you or someone you love is accused of academic misconduct, working with an attorney advisor will ensure the best possible outcome for your future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento, and the Lento Law Firm, have years of experience helping college students across the country combat academic misconduct allegations. You don't have to fight this battle alone; Attorney Lento will work diligently on your behalf towards a fair process and the best possible outcome.
Academic Dishonesty at Old Dominion University
Academic misconduct varies from university to university, but at Old Dominion University, it is considered any action that violates their academic integrity standards. These actions include, but are not limited to:
- Cheating: using materials, study aids, or other information without permission on any academic exercise – like an exam, paper, or another assignment.
- Plagiarism: using someone else's ideas, words, or other original material without acknowledging the source on any academic exercise.
- Fabrication: inventing, changing, or falsifying citations, data, or other information on any academic exercise.
- Facilitation: helping another student attempt to commit, or commit, an act of academic misconduct or fail to notify faculty after witnessing such a violation.
- Disrupting the classroom so that the conduction of class is interrupted or impossible.
Old Dominion University's Student Disciplinary Process
If a complainant accuses a student of academic misconduct at any point, the university's Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity will review the referral. Referrals must be submitted in writing and cannot be made anonymously. If the Director or their designee determines there is sufficient information to accuse the respondent of academic misconduct, they will decide which violation applies. Respondents will receive a written Notice of Alleged Violation, which cites the portions of the Code that they allegedly violated and specifies a date and time to meet with a Conduct Officer.
At this first meeting, the Conduct Officer is allowed to offer resolution options to the respondent. These include a conduct conference, a hearing, or facilitated conflict resolution.
The university reserves conduct conferences for respondents whose referral will not lead to a review for suspension or expulsion. This conference is a closed meeting that allows the respondent to discuss the allegations with a Conduct Officer. The Conduct Officer will review all relevant information and decide whether it is more likely than not that the student violated the Code of Conduct. The Conduct Officer will email a Notice of their determination to the student. Every student will be given:
- Written notice of an alleged violation within three days after the conference
- Access to any reports or other supporting documents that are relevant to the allegations
- The ability to request a new Conduct Officer
- The ability to present evidence on their behalf during the conference
- The ability to be accompanied by an advisor to the conference
Further, if a Conduct Officer determines that a hearing is necessary, they will schedule one for the student.
If the Conduct Officer does not offer a conduct conference for the respondent or determines, after a conference, that there is no final resolution, the respondent will be allowed to have a hearing with the Conduct Officer or the Academic Integrity Council. Respondents will be given notice at least five days before the hearing.
Facilitated Conduct Resolution
Alternatively, referrals of academic misconduct can be resolved with mediation or other facilitated conduct resolution processes at the university or outside of it if all relevant parties and the Director agree. Any voluntary resolutions will be binding on both the complainant and respondent involved.
If the university adjudicates the student as having committed academic misconduct, the university will prescribe sanctions that match the degree of the misconduct. These sanctions range from a reprimand, loss of privileges, and termination of a housing agreement to suspension from student organizations, suspension from the university for up to 2 years, full expulsion from the university, or the complete revocation of admission and/or the student's degree.
Appealing a College Academic Misconduct Decision
Respondents who attend and participate in a hearing can appeal the decision of the Conduct Officer or the Academic Integrity Council, but a student cannot appeal not all sanctions. For instance, at Old Dominion University, only sanctions involving separation – like the termination of a housing agreement, revocation of admission and/or the student's degree, suspension, or expulsion can be appealed.
Appeals must be emailed to the Director within five business days after the hearing decision letter was sent. These requests must describe the basis for the request, and appeals can only be requested for the following reasons:
- To decide if sanctions involving separation were appropriate given the facts
- To decide if a significant departure from any provision of the Code of Conduct impacted the outcome unfairly and materially
- To decide if a finding of responsibility was reasonable based on the facts available
- To consider new information that wasn't known or reasonably available during the hearing
The final decision is not subject to any further appeals.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Unfortunately, being accused of academic misconduct can have long-lasting effects on your reputation. Teachers and staff may treat you differently for the entirety of your time at Old Dominion University. Additionally, if the university adjudicates you as having performed an act of academic misconduct, the charge will follow you around campus and into the future. Any sanction involving separation will be marked on your permanent record and need to be explained on graduate applications and even some job applications. Working with an attorney advisor from the moment the university notifies you of the accusations is the best way to avoid or mitigate these long-lasting consequences. Attorney Lento is a skilled advisor who can guarantee Old Dominion University upholds your due process rights and create a defense that endeavors to protect your future. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation. You've worked hard to get into college, and you deserve to graduate with your reputation intact.