If you or someone you love has been accused of academic misconduct, you might be feeling a myriad of emotions – confused, ashamed, angry. You worked your whole life to get into college, to pursue your dreams, and now that dream might be taken from you. At the University of Delaware, academic integrity is vital to protecting the academic endeavors of its students and faculty, which is why they take accusations of academic misconduct so seriously. It is important to remember, though, being accused of academic misconduct is not the end of the road, no matter how hopeless you feel. Working with an attorney-advisor from the moment you find out you are being accused will ensure the best possible outcome. The Lento Law Firm has helped hundreds of college students fight academic misconduct accusations. You are not alone in this battle - the Lento Law Firm can help.
Academic Violations at University of Delaware
Every university has a different standard for academic violations, but at the University of Delaware, it is considered any action that violates its ability to protect the academic integrity of its students and faculty. These actions include:
- Plagiarism: using someone else's words, ideas, images, or data as if it is your own.
- Fabrication: using invented information or falsifying research or other findings.
- Falsely citing a direct or secondary source, including incorrectly citing a source.
- Citing sources in your reference list that were not actually used to prepare the paper.
- Using falsified, invented, or fictitious data or information, or deliberately concealing or distorting data to meet your needs.
- Submitting work prepared in some part by another person without permission.
- Submitting fabricated or altered documentation to support your work, an excused absence, postponement, or extension of a due date, or change of grade.
- Cheating: using material to deceive or attempt to deceive the grader that you have mastered information you have not. It includes:
- Copying another's academic work and submitting it as your own
- Allowing someone else to copy your work and turn it in as their own
- Using materials to complete an academic work without permission
- Collaborating with another person on a piece of academic work without permission
- Using electronic instruments (computers, cell phones, translators, etc.) to access or share information without permission
- Completing someone else's academic work using personal response systems (clickers)
- Academic misconduct: any other act that disturbs the educational process or provides a student with an academic advantage, including:
- Posting notes or other materials from class on the Internet without permission from the professor
- Re-submitting work that was done for another course and graded
- Bribing someone to get access to an academic exercise
- Working on an academic exercise after time is called
- Changing or altering a grade or other academic record or assisting another student in doing so
- Using, possessing, copying, distributing, selling, or giving all or part of an academic exercise or the answers to an academic exercise to other students
University of Delaware's Student Disciplinary Process
After a complainant notifies the Office of Student Conduct of the possibility of an academic violation, they will notify the student of the accusation, the policies, and potential sanctions that could be applied. After receiving notice, you have the right to not only present evidence and witnesses on your behalf in an administrative hearing but also to have an attorney advisor help strategize a defense for you.
During the hearing, the complainant, the administrative hearing officer, the student conduct advisor, the Office of Student Conduct, and yourself are all required to be present. The complainant will present information and witnesses regarding the allegations, then you and your attorney advisor will have the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses and present your own to speak on your behalf. Any information presented must be factually related to the case. For the university to effectively conclude that you have violated their academic integrity, the complainant must be able to show that a violation occurred by a preponderance of the information – i.e., it is more likely than not that you committed a violation.
When the hearing has concluded, the administrative hearing officer will send a written decision to the Office of Student Conduct that includes:
- A summary of the charges and the incident these charges came from
- Their findings and rationale for the findings
- The sanctions being imposed
- A description of the charged student's right to appeal and directions for how to do so
Appealing a Student Disciplinary Hearing Decision
Once the Office of Student Conduct notifies you of the administrative hearing officer's decision, you can file an appeal within five business days of the date the notice was sent. But the university only allows the following sanctions to be appealed:
- Academic penalty
- Deferred suspension from your dormitory or other housing on campus
- Deferred suspension from the university
- Suspension from the university
- Suspension from your dormitory or other university housing
- Expulsion from the university
To appeal the sanction, you must explain why it is inappropriate or unreasonable and what sanctions would be appropriate. This appeal must be printed and delivered to the Office of Student Conduct and cannot include the discussion of sanctions that are not included in the list above or include information disputing the charges, describing your character, or citing authorities other than the university.
The Director of the Office of Student Conduct will send a copy of the appeal to the complainant and give them an opportunity to appeal your appeal. Both appeals will be reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct staff and, if necessary, an Appellate Board panel. The decision they make is final and cannot be appealed a second time.
How an Attorney Advisor Can Help
When you are accused of academic misconduct, the university is supposed to ensure you have an opportunity to be heard, but even with this due process in place, many students face significant burdens and potentially harsh consequences for just being accused. Academic violation accusations can have long-lasting effects on your reputation and opportunities at the university. Additionally, if you are found to have violated the academic integrity of the university, the sanctions implemented will not only inhibit the remainder of your time on campus,but will also follow you around long into the future.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm are skilled attorney advisors who ensure that the university not only upholds your due process rights, but will also create a strategic defense that endeavors to protect your future. With so much at stake, you deserve to graduate with your reputation intact. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to schedule your consultation.