Albany, NY's Excelsior College provides clear academic expectations for its students. Students must “use complete, accurate, specific, and truthful representations of authorship, origin of ideas, mastery of material, and data.”
Integrity standards apply to online students just as they do in the physical classroom. If you stand accused of violating Excelsior College's Academic Integrity Policy, then your graduation and future employment prospects may be on the line. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento will fight to clear your name.
Here is what you need to know if you or your child face an allegation of academic dishonesty at Excelsior College.
Excelsior College's Academic Integrity Policy
When you enroll at Excelsior College, you agree to the following mandate:
“Students shall uphold the principles of academic integrity in all aspects of their academic work and relationship with Excelsior College.”
The university has the right to determine what constitutes an act of academic misconduct.
What Excelsior College Defines as Academic Misconduct
Excelsior College’s Academic Integrity Policy defines academic violations in a specific manner. Violations include:
- Plagiarism, or the representation of another person's work as your own
- Fabrication, which includes the use of virtual proxy networks (VPNs) and falsification of information or statistics
- Cheating, which includes using unauthorized study aids, unauthorized communication, possession of test answers, dissemination of test answers, and “contract cheating” (the exchange of something of value for academic assistance)
- Collusion, or unauthorized cooperation on academic assignments
Online learning may be especially conducive to some types of academic misconduct. Online learners may be tempted to:
- Use the internet during examinations
- Use electronic aids
- Exchange answers with classmates through digital channels
- Engage in other types of misconduct made easier by the online learning environment
Professors' inability to observe students directly may sow distrust. Per The Washington Post, online learning leads to higher instances of cheating. Professors may allege cheating whenever suspicion arises, and you could face unfounded allegations of wrongdoing.
The Disciplinary Process at Excelsior College
All students at Excelsior College deserve due process. Preserving your rights starts with understanding the disciplinary process. The process that lies ahead of you may depend on:
- The nature of your alleged infraction
- The outcome of your initial meeting with your professor
- Whether you intended to commit wrongdoing or not
- Whether you have any prior academic infractions
Excelsior University categorizes academic misconduct into three levels based on the seriousness of the offense. Here is a description of what each infraction level denotes:
- Level One: An offense that could be attributable to poor writing skills, such as improper citation of a source or relying too heavily on another individual's words or ideas
- Level Two: An offense that shows “blatant” disregard for academic integrity, such as substantial plagiarism
- Level Three: An offense committed by a student with a prior history of wrongdoing or a particularly egregious offense
Excelsior University adjudicates Level One, Two, and Three infractions in different ways.
Adjudication of Level One Infractions
There is an assumption that a Level One infraction stems from ignorance. A student who fails to properly cite a source, for example, may not understand best writing practices. You may be permitted to undergo formal training and resubmit work with no penalty in the case of a Level One infraction.
However, Level One infractions do require you to complete a course called CCS 101: Academic Integrity. Completion of this course will remain on your academic record. For this reason, it may be worth fighting repercussions for an alleged Level One infraction that you did not commit.
Adjudication of Level Two Infractions
Adjudication of an alleged Level Two infraction begins informally. A professor and faculty program director will meet with you to explain the allegation against you and hear your response. Noteworthy aspects of this meeting, including your response, will exist within an Academic Integrity Incident Reporting Form.
Following this meeting, the professor and program director will generally determine the appropriate course of action. If their decision includes any sort of formal sanction, then you may be wise to contest the ruling.
Adjudication of Level Three Infractions
The process for adjudicating Level Three infractions is similar to that of Level Two infractions. However, the student will not be allowed to resubmit an assignment in the case of a Level Three infraction.
Ultimately, a professor, faculty program director, and presiding dean will determine appropriate sanctions for a Level Three Infraction.
How to Contest Sanctions at Excelsior College
You are not entirely at the mercy of a professor's, faculty program director's, or dean's decision regarding your case. You generally have the right to appeal, and the investigating dean will explain your options for appeal in writing when they deliver their initial decision.
The specific means of appeal may vary on a case-by-case basis.
Possible Sanctions for Academic Wrongdoing
Excelsior College's Academic Integrity Policy explains that the administration “reserves the right to take any or all the following actions” if it determines you were academically dishonest:
- Revocation of your degree
- Expulsion from Excelsior College
- Suspension from the College
- Permanent annotation of your student record to reflect an infraction
- Notification of other educational institutions, employers, and licensing or certification boards of your alleged misconduct
Even the slightest punishment from Excelsior College could have a significant, all-encompassing impact on you. You may lose academic progress, potential jobs, future earnings, and quality of life due to the College's actions.
Should You Hire a Skilled Attorney-Advisor to Defend You?
You must decide whether hiring an attorney-advisor is worth it. In doing so, you may consider:
- How capably you could handle your defense without an attorney-advisor's assistance
- How stressful it will be to handle your case alone
- What consequences you face should you fail to defend yourself successfully
- Whether you value a lawyer's experience in academic misconduct cases
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has handled hundreds of academic misconduct cases and has witnessed the stress that the adjudication process can impose on students. Attorney Lento and his team will take your defense into their hands, freeing you to focus on your academics.
A resolution with Excelsior College may be possible. However, you should not take the adjudication process lightly. You need an aggressive, capable defense, which attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will provide.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to speak with our team. You can also contact us online. Reaching out comes with no obligations—we are ready to help, so don't wait to call.