Cornell University Academic Integrity Advisor

Absolute integrity is expected of every Cornell University student in all academic endeavors. To practice integrity, students must adhere to a firm set of values most essential to an academic community, like respect and honesty. 

Students who exhibit attributes that don't align with Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity will be accused of academic misconduct. Guilty determinations of academic misconduct have been known to jeopardize students' college careers and affect their professional lives down the line as well.

In this article, we'll address how Cornell University handles allegations of academic misconduct and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you through the process once accused. 

Cornell University's Guidelines for Students

General Responsibilities

Students must adhere to Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity's general responsibilities. They include:

  1. A student shall in no way misrepresent his or her work.
  2. A student shall in no way fraudulently or unfairly advance his or her academic position.
  3. A student shall refuse to be a party to another student's failure to maintain academic integrity.
  4. A student shall not in any other manner violate the principle of academic integrity.

Any actions that don't align with these guidelines is considered “academic misconduct.” Since there are various ways to commit academic misconduct, we'll give you a few examples of activities that constitute this bad behavior. This is not a definitive list.

  • Knowingly representing the work of others as one's own
  • Using, obtaining, or providing unauthorized assistance on examinations, papers, or any other academic work.
  • Fabricating data in support of laboratory or field work.
  • Forging a signature to certify completion of a course assignments or a recommendation to graduate school.
  • Unfairly advancing one's academic position by hoarding or damaging library materials.
  • Misrepresenting one's academic achievements.

Cornell University's Procedure for Mitigating Academic Misconduct

Students and staff members who discover an apparent violation should report the matter to the faculty member in charge of the course or to the chairperson of the appropriate Hearing Board. 

Primary Hearing

A primary hearing is held by the faculty member. It essentially entails the faculty member, the student in question, and a third-party independent witness to meet, discuss the allegations, and establish the charge. Evidence in support of the charge will be presented, and the student will be given a space to present evidence refuting the charge. After the primary hearing, the faculty member may either dismiss the charge or find the student guilty (based on clear and convincing evidence).

A student who wishes to seek review of the decision may bring the case before the Academic Integrity Hearing Board. A student may seek review of a decision made by the primary hearing if he or she believes the procedure was improper or unfair; she or he contests the finding of the faculty member; he or she believes the penalty was too strict considering the offense.

The Academic Integrity Hearing Board

The Academic Integrity Hearing Board shall convene as soon as practical after notification of a request for review, although seven days notice should be given to all parties if possible. In the hearing, the Board members shall hear all available parties to the dispute and examine all the evidence presented. The student shall have the right to present her or his case and to challenge the charges or the evidence. The student's advisor may assist the student in the presentation and questioning. 

After hearing and examining all the evidence, the Board may either find the student innocent of the charge or find the student guilty of the charge. 


If a student is found “guilty,” he may be subject to the following penalties:

  • A failing grade for the course, or some portion of it
  • Probation
  • Suspension for a period of time
  • A mark on a student's transcript
  • Expulsion
  • Counseling, community service, or reprimand 


The student may appeal a decision of the Hearing Board. The appeal must be directed to the dean of the student's college, in writing, and shall be constructed according to one or both of the guidelines established below. The appeal shall normally be submitted within 4 weeks of notification of the Board's decision, but exceptions to this deadline may be granted by the dean on showing of good cause. If the Board's decision involves students from more than one college, the deans involved shall consult with each other. 

A student may appeal on one or both of the following grounds:

  1. Additional evidence which might have affected the outcome of the hearing became available following the hearing.
  2. A violation of procedure by the Hearing Board that might have prejudiced the outcome of the hearing. 

The dean may deny the appeal or send the case back to the Hearing Board for reconsideration. 

Academic Integrity Attorney

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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