Farleigh Dickinson University (FDU) adheres to a strict code of academic honesty. The reputation and standing of the University depend, in part, on its ability to conduct classes and disseminate knowledge in a fair way, free from violations of academic integrity such as plagiarism or cheating. However, the line between an academic integrity violation a non-violation sometimes becomes thin. Many students who commit or are accused of committing such violations were not in fact aware that they were doing anything wrong, or even thought they were taking measures to avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing the ideas used in their piece, for example. Students who have been accused of academic integrity violations at FDU may have a great deal at stake. Depending on the severity of accusation leveled against them, they may be facing expulsion or a permanent notation on their record of academic dishonesty.
If you among those who have been accused of academic dishonesty at FDU, there are steps you can to minimize the negative impact on your academic standing and record, if not get the charge thrown out altogether. An experienced student defense attorney can be a tremendous credit to your case, as they can apply their legal skill in the context of the University's code of conduct and make a compelling argument as to why no violation actually occurred. Prior to retaining a student defense attorney, you should become as well-informed as you can be on the procedures and definitions relevant to your accusation. The better informed you are, the less likely you are to inadvertently do, say or admit something that may hurt your case.
Farleigh Dickinson University's Academic Integrity Policy
The FDU academic integrity policy is unique in that it requires all students to inform professors of violations themselves. This would include their own violations and those of their peers, that they are aware of. Students can be penalized for cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submission, complicity/collusion in another's offense, or interfering with a student's ability to do their own assignment. As with most any other academic institution, it is expressly prohibited for students to take credit for someone else's ideas or use them in their work without proper attribution. Removing quotations, paraphrasing, translating text or presenting visual works and passing them off as their own is against school policy.
Student Obligation to Authenticate Work: Students of FDU have the burden of proving that their works are their own original content if that fact should be disputed. This means that students are responsible for keeping records of pre-writing, drafts, copies of research materials, Writing Center receipts, as well as notebooks and logs that track their academic progress/schoolwork. Despite seeming cumbersome, this provision may, in fact, help students who have been wrongfully accused to prove their innocence. You are advised to speak with a student defense attorney as to how to you can use, present and leverage such materials, in the event that you have received an integrity violation accusation.
Procedures for Academic Integrity Violations at Farleigh Dickinson University
Notification, Meeting, and Decision
The first course of action for handling a suspected academic integrity violation is for the faculty member to contact and discuss the incident with the student. At this informal preliminary meeting, the student has the chance to explain their side. Some may admit fault for the violation at this point, although you are strongly advised to speak with a student defense attorney before making any admissions of guilt for serious violations. Depending on the findings of this meeting, the instructor may then impose sanctions against the student, or retract their accusation. The instructor must ensure they complete an academic integrity policy violation report within a mere five days of exacting a penalty against the student, assuming they did. The student will then be notified via certified mail of the violation by their appropriate college. The student is permitted to appeal the instructor's decision, and the appeals process is significantly more formal than the initial discussion and sanctions. No matter the final decision of the appeal, the student will again be notified by mail of the Department's finding (that being the department for the course in which the violation occurred).
To appeal the decision of a faculty member who has determined that a violation did in fact occur, the student has 14 days from the day they received notice of the penalty, to submit a written appeal to the director of the school/department chair where the violation took place. Their letter must state the exact grounds for their appeal. If they wait longer than the 14-day limit, they are assumed to have waived their right to an appeal and are accepting the penalty leveled against them. The student can expect to hear back from the department chair in no later than 10 business days from when they receive the student's appeal letter. Upon review of the case, the chair will either affirm, revoke or modify the sanctions made by the instructor in the initial procedures. They will issue their response to the student via certified mail. The instructor in question will also be notified, as will the school director or department chair of the student's major (which may or not be where the violation occurred), academic dean of the college in which the course is offered, campus director of enrollment services, and dean of students.
If the dispute between the student and instructor remains unresolved at this point in the process, the student may appeal to the Dean of the college. Within 10 business days of the department chair's decision, the student must submit a similar letter of appeal to the dean of the college, with compelling grounds. If the dean finds merit in the student's argument, a 5 person panel will be convened within 10 working days of the dean's receipt of the letter. This panel will consist of:
- a faculty member from the college where the course is offered
- the dean or his or her designee
- the dean of students or his or her designee
- a faculty member from the student's department or school of their major
- a student selected by the dean of students from the college where the alleged dishonesty took place
The formal proceedings of the hearing are not specified in school policy, which merely states: The committee shall base its decision upon a review of the record but may meet with the student and the course instructor to secure additional information. Only in cases of expulsion may the student appeal beyond this level, in which case they would make a written appeal to the university provost.
Penalties for Academic Integrity Violations at Fairleigh Dickinson University
FDU offers a fairly straightforward roster of penalties for first offenses. The severity of the penalty will be up to the discretion of the instructor.
1. A grade of zero or an F for the assignment in question
2. Reduced grade for the course.
3. A failing grade in the course
4. Academic Probation, if recommended by the dean of the student's college
When a penalty is selected, the instructor will file a notice using the University's Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report and a copy will be placed in the student's file. The school emphasizes the fact that penalties will still be pursued even if the student has withdrawn from or was never in the course in question (such as in cases of collusion).
Subsequent violations will be subject to harsher penalties, such as suspension or expulsion. The school's policy does not specify whether a particular serious first offense could result in expulsion or suspension but specifies it as an option for second offenses and so on.
New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
It may be incredibly for a student to navigate the waters of integrity violations on their own. If you are currently facing an allegation of academic dishonesty, a student defense attorney can help. Your ability to build a compelling argument may not serve you the same way a professional could when undertaking the same task. Your chances of securing a positive outcome, when you have a skilled student defense attorney on your side, are much greater. Contact student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to see how he can help your case.