At the State University of New York, or SUNY Albany, academic honesty is of paramount importance. SUNY is a community of scholars, and each student has a responsibility to promote integrity and truth. Misrepresentations or false scholarship undermine the trust of the academic community and stymy growth and discovery for all students.
As SUNY believes that academic misconduct hurts the value and credibility of the entire institution, it will not hesitate to investigate suspected acts of academic dishonesty and punish students found responsible. If you are accused of violating academic integrity standards at SUNY Albany, you could face consequences that threaten your academic progress.
Consider contacting a student defense attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this situation, as you don't want to risk your entire future.
Academic Misconduct at SUNY Albany
SUNY Albany has a Standards of Academic Integrity Policy that explains what academic integrity is, lists examples of violations, and provides procedures for suspected cases of academic misconduct. Although individual faculty members must include academic integrity information in their syllabi, students must also familiarize themselves with this policy.
The list of prohibited behavior in the SUNY Albany Standards of Academic Integrity Policy is illustrative, not comprehensive. Students should be aware that any act considered dishonest may result in an accusation of violating the SUNY academic integrity policy.
Examples of prohibited behavior include:
- Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work the work of another person, including words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation
- Cheating on exams: Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an exam
- Multiple submissions: Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit in more than one course without first consulting the instructors
- Forgery: Imitating someone else's signature on an academic or official document
- Sabotage: Willfully destroying, damaging, or stealing someone else's work or working materials
- Unauthorized collaboration: Working with other students on projects, papers, or other academic exercises when the instructor has not allowed it
- Falsification: Mispresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or assignment
- Bribery: Offering or giving something of value or service to an instructor with the attempt to receive a grade or other benefits illegitimately
- Theft, damage, or misuse of library or IT resources: Removing library materials from the library without permission; defacing, damaging, intentionally displacing, or hoarding library materials; violations of the university's Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy
How Does SUNY Albany Handle Academic Misconduct?
At SUNY Albany, academic misconduct cases start with instructors. Faculty members have the responsibility to determine if a student has committed an academic integrity violation. That faculty member may then decide on a penalty that is appropriate to the infraction. Faculty members must submit a Violation of Academic Integrity Report (VAIR) to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
Contesting a Faculty Decision
Students who disagree with a faculty member's decision concerning academic dishonesty may contest it using their department or school's grievance procedures. Each college or school at the university must have and post grievance procedures for disputing assigned grades or penalties for academic integrity infractions.
If a student is found not responsible for academic misconduct, the penalties do not take effect, and the VAIR is withdrawn. If the grievance process still finds the student responsible or a student admits to the academic integrity infraction, the faculty member may enforce their imposed penalty.
Escalating the Case to a Higher Level
Faculty members have the right to forward a case to Community Standards, but only in two specific cases:
- The faculty member finds the infraction merits a failing grade in the course and would like to have the case formally adjudicated.
- The faculty member or the college or school dean responsible find the infraction particularly egregious and would like the case formally adjudicated.
If a student is accused of an infraction and it's their second violation, the case is automatically forwarded to Community Standards.
Adjudication with Community Standards
The office of Community Standards at SUNY Albany uses the adjudication procedures in the Community Rights and Responsibilities document. The procedures for dealing with academic integrity violations go as follows:
- Administrative resolution: An administrative solution only applies when the sanctions will not result in removal from residence, suspension, or dismissal
- Student conduct hearing: Hearings take place before a student conduct body, and students may have an advisor present with them. Students may present witnesses and ask questions at the hearing
- Appeals: If the student does not agree with the decision of the student conduct body, they may appeal within seven calendar days of receiving the decision letter. The Dean of Students reviews appeals and recommends a finding to the Provost, who makes a final decision
Potential Sanctions for Academic Misconduct at SUNY Albany
Instructors may impose any one of the following sanctions directly on students they feel have violated the SUNY Standards of Academic Integrity Policy:
- Warning without further penalty
- Requirement to redo an assignment without breach of integrity
- Lowering an assignment grade
- Assigning a failing grade on an assignment or exam
- Lowering a course grade
- Giving a failing grade in the course
If the case goes through the Community Standards office and the student is found responsible for academic misconduct, the potential sanctions include:
- Revoking scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship
- Disciplinary probation
Why You Need an Expert Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
If you are accused of an academic integrity violation, you may feel that the instructor or school holds all the power. But as a student, you have rights. An experienced attorney-advisor can help you protect those rights and seek a fair adjudication and sanction.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of students in the SUNY system and nationwide with academic misconduct issues and has a thorough knowledge of how university procedures work. If you want to protect your future, contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686.