Being accused of academic misconduct can feel like having the rug ripped out from under you. You've worked so hard to get into college, chasing your dreams of a fulfilling future, only to have those dreams filled with fear and frustration. At the University of California Riverside, academic integrity is an important aspect of protecting the educational endeavors of the student and staff. As such, the university takes academic misconduct allegations extremely seriously. If you or someone you love has been accused of academic misconduct, working with an attorney advisor from the moment you receive notice of such allegations can ensure the best possible outcome. The Lento Law Firm has years of experience helping college students across the country fight academic misconduct accusations. You don't have to weather this storm alone; the Lento Law Firm can help.
Academic Misconduct at the University of California Riverside
The definition of academic misconduct varies from institution to institution, but at the University of California Riverside, they define it as any act that improperly distorts a student's grades or other academic record. This includes:
- Cheating: using or attempting to use prohibited materials or assist another in using materials that are prohibited on an academic assignment.
- Fabricating: making up data or results, including laboratory or field research results, or falsifying academic or university documents.
- Plagiarizing: using another's ideas, processes, words, or results as your own without giving them credit.
- Facilitating academic misconduct: helping another student violate the academic integrity of the university.
- Collaborating with another student on an academic assignment without permission.
- Interfering or sabotaging another student's endeavors.
- Failing to comply with research regulations.
- Retaliating against a person who reported or provided information about a suspected act of misconduct.
University of California Riverside Academic Dishonesty Procedure
If a faculty member or other instructional personnel suspects a student of academic misconduct, they are required to notify the student of the alleged act within 30 days of noticing it. The accused student must respond to the allegation, either in person or in writing, within 14 days. After conferring with the student, if the faculty member decides that it is more likely than not that the student did commit an act of academic misconduct, they can either impose appropriate sanctions on their own – if the student did not dispute the facts of the charges or refer the complaint to the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Programs (SCAIP).
After the complaint has been referred to SCAIP, they will perform an administrative review and notify the student within 20 days of the review. The administrative hearing involves meeting with the student, faculty member, and other individuals with relevant information. The charged student will have an opportunity to discuss the circumstances, causes, and motivations that may have contributed to their actions. If the SCAIP determines that it is more likely than not that you are responsible for academic misconduct, they will apply sanctions that meet the circumstances of the incident. This decision will be sent to the charged student within 20 days of the review. But if you have a record of previous academic misconduct, the complaint will not be reviewed by SCAIP at all. Instead, it will be referred to the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) for a formal hearing and a recommendation of suspension or dismissal to be considered. The Academic Integrity Committee will also review cases that were heard by SCAIP and referred to for further investigation because they were sufficiently complex.
The AIC will hold a hearing where the university, the student, and the instructor will be able to provide documentary evidence and witnesses relevant to the incident. The panel will then deliberate on the evidence presented and determine if a preponderance of the evidence indicates that the student did commit an act of academic misconduct and what sanctions should be imposed. They will deliver this decision to the student within 20 days.
While the sanctions are specific to the degree of academic misconduct performed, some examples include:
- Loss of privileges and exclusion from activities
- Exclusion from certain areas on campus or other university functions
- Disciplinary probation
- Suspension from the university for a certain period
- Dismissal from the university indefinitely
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Decision
Either party has the right to appeal the decision of the AIC if:
- There is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the original hearing that would have a detrimental impact on the outcome of the hearing.
- There was a procedural error that had a detrimental impact on the outcome of the hearing.
- The university interpreted the policy so substantially that it denied the parties a fair hearing.
- The sanctions were grossly inappropriate.
The appeal must be made within 14 days of the written decision of the AIC being made available to the parties, and the university may ask the other parties to respond to the appeal. Once the appellate body receives both appeals, they will determine whether the grounds for the appeal have been satisfied and make a decision within 20 days. Whatever their decision, it is final and cannot be appealed again.
How an Attorney Advisor Can Help
Academic misconduct accusations can have devastating consequences for any college student. The sanctions imposed can prevent you obtaining internships and scholarships, remove you from clubs or other extracurricular activities, and even prevent you from graduating. And for students who are falsely accused of academic misconduct, the harm to your reputation can be hard to move on from. This is why working with an attorney advisor from the moment you are notified of the accusations is so important. An experienced attorney advisor will work tirelessly to ensure the university upholds your due process rights and doesn't let you fall through the cracks. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team at Lento Law Firm are experienced attorney advisors who will create a strategic defense that not only protects your future but mitigates these potential negative consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule your consultation.