Computer engineering programs are extremely competitive, combining physics, electrical engineering, and computer science. A student hoping to pursue a career in computer engineering will start with a four-year degree and then transition to a master's or doctoral program. Each of these programs will include their own entrance exams, personal essays, and other hurdles. Because this career is not an easy one to pursue, it can be shattering for any student accused of violating their university's code of conduct.
If you are accused of violating your university's code of conduct or facing academic issues at your school, hiring an attorney-advisor will ensure the best possible outcomes. You don't want to spend time working towards a goal, only to have it stripped away because your university did not uphold your rights.
Across the country, universities and colleges have established academic misconduct policies to inhibit students from cheating in any way. If a university accuses a student of violating their code of conduct, they will bring the student in front of a review board for a hearing. This board will review the facts of the matter, the evidence presented, and then determine the student's punishment – which usually ranges from loss of a letter grade in the course to being completely expelled from the school.
For most university computer engineering programs, academic misconduct is considered any action or attempt to act that would give that student an upper hand over other students or disadvantage another student. Examples include:
- Altering academic documents or transcripts
- Helping another student cheat or plagiarize
- Getting access to materials before they are meant to be available
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that is meant to protect students from discrimination based on their sex. This law includes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. When the computer engineering school becomes aware of allegations involving Title IX, they will investigate the accusation. These steps may include questioning witnesses, observing available evidence, and listening to your side of the story. If they believe the accusations warrant a hearing, they will:
- Give both parties an equal opportunity to present relevant evidence and witnesses. So whatever one party gets, the other party will too.
- If applicable, review law enforcement investigation documents.
- Collect and analyze other evidence.
Before the hearing, the university will endeavor to, at the very least, separate you and the alleged victim. Meaning they will prevent you from being in the same vicinity as each other. If you are taking the same courses or living in the same residence hall, the university committee will most likely change your schedule and remove you from the dormitory. If the university finds you have violated Title IX, depending on the act that caused the violation, they may punish you further with suspension or expulsion. Any of these punishments would be devastating for a computer engineering student as they would prevent you from taking specific courses at certain times, restrict you from studying where and whenever you wished, and even force you to rearrange your living arrangements. Further, if you are expelled, it will likely prevent you from pursuing the degree at another institution.
Outside of academic misconduct issues, students may be accused of other actions that would result in disciplinary charges. For instance, because computer engineering is so competitive, students may spend their free time partying. If campus security or a police officer catches an underage student drinking or buying illegal drugs, whether this event occurred on or off-campus, they will be subject to a disciplinary hearing.
Other examples of disciplinary actions might include:
- Assaulting another student
- Cyberstalking another student, a faculty member, or staff personnel
- Stealing from a dormitory, classroom, or common area
- Destroying property
If your university accuses you of violating their disciplinary code of conduct, they will bring you before a committee that will adjudicate the matter. Depending on the outcome, the penalties could range from a warning letter, academic probation, suspension, or full expulsion from the institution.
Academic issues are different from academic misconduct and disciplinary charges. Instead of being misconduct-based, they are based on how a student progresses through a program. For instance, many universities have maximum limits to the time a student can pursue a degree. This limit tends to be eight years for computer engineering undergraduate programs. While all students have this flexibility, universities tend to worry less about the full-time working students who take advantage of it. If you are only taking a few courses at a time and not working full-time outside of school, a university will worry about your ability to finish the program on time.
Another aspect of academic issues that might affect your ability to graduate on time is your grades. Your ability to take upper-level courses you need for your program, graduate, or get a job post-graduation will all be affected by your grade point average. A bad grade can pull down this average very easily, preventing you from pursuing your career the way you imagined.
If you think that your grades are not reflective of your completed work or the tests you've taken, notify your department chair immediately. They will investigate the matter and overturn the grade if the circumstances warrant it. You do not want to be subject to a low GPA because of a bias that has nothing to do with your capabilities.
Being penalized for a Title IX violation, academic misconduct, a disciplinary charge, or any other academic issue can have serious long-term consequences on your career. For instance, they might:
- Put your behind in school
- Prevent you from entering specific research labs or participating in extracurriculars that are necessary for graduate school applications
- Prevent you from applying to your graduate program of choice
- Bar you from attending graduate school at all
- Prevent you from attending another school's computer engineering program if your current university expels you
Additionally, if your university finds that you violated any of these standards, it can be noted on your transcripts and disciplinary records, forcing you to explain the matters on any graduate or job application that requests further information on it. Having this tarnish on your permanent record will negatively affect your future.
How an Attorney Can Help
After being accused of violating your school's code of conduct, you may feel completely bewildered. It's essential to hire an attorney-advisor the moment you find out about the accusations. An attorney-advisor will gather and present evidence and relevant witnesses on your behalf to mitigate any negative consequences these charges might incur. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience helping hundreds of computer engineering students across the country facing these types of accusations. They work diligently to ensure the university upholds your rights to be fully heard on the matter. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.