College or University Misconduct - What is at Stake?

To properly manage and defeat false, unfair, or exaggerated accusations of college or university misconduct, one best starts from the endpoint of what is at stake. To run a winning race, consider the finish line first. Whether the school's adverse finding involves academic cheating, sexual misconduct, or other misbehavior like vandalism, trespassing, or abuse of alcohol or drugs, what does it look like to ignore, underestimate, and mishandle false or exaggerated allegations, suffering the school's discipline?

Getting a Full View. Many students whom school officials accuse of misconduct think first and only of the charges' impact on their current coursework. They wonder, Can I continue and finish the term? For college and university studies, that narrow view is natural and normal. Students pressed with challenging studies tend toward pragmatism: do today what one must, while worrying tomorrow about tomorrow. Yet, a narrow view will not work when facing a school's misconduct charges. Students facing misconduct charges should not be thinking so much of their current coursework or even of their ability to continue in and complete the degree program. They should be thinking of the full impact of misconduct findings on their educational and vocational careers.

Taking the Long View. But just getting a full view of what could happen isn't enough. Indeed, the broad and lasting potential impacts may simply frighten the accused student into ignoring the matter or bailing from the degree program, hoping to start again later when the smoke clears or start again elsewhere. Those strategies, though, won't work. Walking away from misconduct charges typically results in adverse findings by default and the school imposing the stiffest appropriate penalty. Resuming studies at the same school won't be possible without first facing the penalty. Transferring to or restarting at another school also may not be possible, depending