Dickinson College's “Academic Misconduct” Policy
At Dickinson College, each member of the community is required to abide by the institution's academic integrity standard. According to the school's handbook, academic integrity is defined as the “respect for ideas - our own and others.” This respect is displayed by acknowledging other concepts and words in all academic works, and by refraining from exhibiting deceitful actions to gain academic merit, among other things. The handbook proceeds to mention that any of the following actions constitute academic misconduct:
This involves deception or the provision or receipt of unauthorized assistance. Cheating may take many forms, including plagiarism. The examples below are illustrative of cheating:
- Copying from another person's work or answers
- Obtaining and using a copy of the examination or answers to an examination without the knowledge of an instructor
- Submitting the same assignment in two courses without permission from both professors
- The use of online translator to complete assignments, quizzes or examinations in a language course
- Using prohibited materials in the preparation for assignments or the taking of examinations or quizzes
- Collaborating on assignments or examinations unless such collaboration has been authorized
- Assisting another or condoning academically dishonest behavior
- Plagiarizing - to use the concepts words, or work of another without proper citation in your assignment
Falsifying / Forging Academic Documents
This refers to the unauthorized alteration of information provided by the college on official records or documents. Falsifying / forging documents includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Altering information on a transcript
- Changing a grade or the comments/markings on a paper, assignment or lab report
It's important to note that these categories are not to be construed as exhaustive or restrictive in regard to academic misconduct. Actions not mentioned on this list that could be reasonably considered academic misconduct will still be considered a violation under school policy.
In the event that the actions of a student are alleged to violation Dickinson College's community standards, a process for review and resolution will be commenced. This section will describe the procedures employed for academic misconduct allegations. Reports of violations of standards are submitted to the Vice President and Dean of the Student Life Office. All cases of academic misconduct are heard through the formal resolution process.
By partaking in the formal resolution process, there are several privileges that accused students are afforded. You have the opportunity to be assisted by an advisor, have a response to the concern, and potentially appeal the initial outcome of a hearing.
Upon the receipt of a notification, the report is reviewed to determine what policies or standards may be in question. A student will be immediately notified via email of a scheduled hearing, and will be given a chance to prepare for the hearing.
Preparing for a hearing consists of doing a number of things. Only a student defense attorney will be able to help you adequately do so. These factors include:
Read the Community Standards. Accused students are encouraged to read and understand the community standards. Knowing the ins and outs of your rights, your responsibilities, and the procedures is the key to success in these processes.
Prepare Notes. Penning a recollection of the events that resulted in a hearing is something that every accused student should do. Every time you present your version events, it should always be a consistent story with what you've mentioned before, having notes helps maintaining a consistent story easy.
Submit Witnesses. Any witnesses whose testimony supports your version of events is incredibly useful in these cases. Providing their names to the Dean of Students Office solidifies the fact that they will be present in a hearing to testify on your behalf.
A student defense attorney can help you do all these things and more to build a solid defense for a hearing.
At the hearing, the panel - comprised of administrators, faculty and students - will first ask the student in question if they believe that they are responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation(s) outlined in their notice letter. The student will also be asked to share their accounts of events that resulted in an alleged violation. Once both sides are heard, the panel will deliberate and come up with a finding based on the preponderance of evidence - whether it was more likely than not that a violation occurred.
Hearing outcomes & sanctions
If a student is found in violation of the Dickinson Community Standards, sanctions will be implemented. Sanctions can range from either a warning to a possible expulsion. The degree of severity of a sanction assigned to a student depends on the seriousness of a case, and if there are any prior violations to consider.
Outcomes from the formal resolution process are eligible for appeal. An appeal is a request for a school to reconsider its decision. In order for an appeal to be granted, it must be based on reasonable grounds. Mere dissatisfaction with a case is not enough. The appeal may be based only on one or more of the following limited grounds:
- The procedures set forth in the Community Standards were not followed
- New or relevant information, not available at the time of the hearing, has arisen
- The sanctions imposed were excessively harsh or lenient for the violation
An appeal must be submitted within five business days from the date of the outcome letter.
Pennsylvania Student Defense Attorney
As you can see, allegations of academic misconduct can warrant some pretty serious consequences. For Dickinson college students who value their education, retaining a student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent the course of his career - over 15 years - helping students prepare for hearings, and achieve a favorable outcome. He can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.