Fighting Academic Misconduct Charges at Marquette University

You know that Marquette University takes academic misconduct seriously. You recited the Integrity Pledge at Convocation your first year. During your first semester, the school insisted you complete an online tutorial on integrity. Your course syllabuses talk about cheating and plagiarism. You get it: you're not supposed to do anything that might give you an unfair advantage as a student.

There's nothing wrong with taking academic misconduct seriously. Schools can and do make mistakes, though. Professors sometimes accuse students who are completely innocent. They may not understand should you make an honest mistake. They may assign you a sanction that's entirely out of proportion to the nature of your offense.

In keeping with its strict views on misconduct, Marquette's judicial procedures are generally weighted in favor of instructors rather than students. It can be difficult to navigate the appeals process, and your due process rights are extremely limited. If you've been accused, you don't want to try and handle the situation by yourself. You need the very best help you can get. You need attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento.

Defining Academic Misconduct

First things first: what are the rules at Marquette University? Knowing the rules can obviously help you avoid getting into trouble in the first place. Just as important, though, you need to know exactly what you've been accused of before you begin to build your defense.

That integrity tutorial you completed your first semester takes a somewhat casual approach to defining misconduct. It simplifies principles, using language like “don't cheat,” “don't lie,” “cite your sources,” and “keep it fair.” In a concrete sense, though, what does all this mean? Here's what you're supposed to avoid.

  • Cheating: This refers to the use of unauthorized resources in completing your coursework. You're not supposed to use your book during a closed-book quiz, for instance. You're not supposed to ask someone else to take an exam for you. You're not supposed to text a friend for answers, either. Basically, if the answers come from some source other than your brain, and you don't have permission to use that source, you're cheating.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism, too, comes in many forms. In simple terms, it involves attempting to take credit for another person's words or ideas. Turning in a paper you bought from an online paper mill would certainly qualify. Simply forgetting to provide a citation when using a quote from your book would qualify as well, though.

These two categories of violations are broad enough to include almost every kind of misconduct you could possibly dream up. Ultimately, however, the honor pledge contains language designed to catch anything that might tend to fall through the cracks. It requires you to commit to “truthfulness, honor, and integrity.”

Sanctions and Procedures

As important as knowing the rules at your school is knowing what judicial procedures it uses to handle policy violations. Marquette defines its procedures in clear, unambiguous terms. Unfortunately, these procedures don't always favor respondents (the accused).

The rules can be quite legalistic. For instance, allegations aren't handled directly by faculty. Instead, instructors report all misconduct to the Office of Academic Integrity. This office assigns an investigator to the case, and it is this investigator—not your instructor—who lets you know you've been charged. You simply wake up one morning to find an email in your inbox.

The investigator interviews you to get your side of the story. Obviously, they interview your instructor as well as any witnesses. They must complete their investigation within six business days, and they are the sole authority in deciding whether or not you are responsible for a violation and what sanctions if any, should apply.

Sanctions for first offenses usually include:

  • Verbal or written warning
  • Makeup work or revision of the original assignment
  • Educational assignment on the nature of integrity
  • Lowered grade on the assignment, up to a zero
  • Lowered grade in the course, up to an F

Second offenses and particularly egregious offenses are subject to harsher penalties. These include academic probation, suspension, and expulsion.

The school expects students to accept their charges and punishments and seem to assume no one is ever falsely accused. So, for example, they offer an “expedited review” to help make the entire process simple and easy, but only for those willing to admit they've committed an offense. Meanwhile, the possibility of appealing a responsible finding is mentioned only in passing.

Further, they don't make the appeals process easy. Students have just two business days from being informed of the investigator's decision to file an appeal. Cases go before a hearing board and can take up to thirty days to schedule. In addition, Marquette makes clear that you cannot appeal the sanction, only the charge itself. The school's Academic Integrity FAQ notes that the “Hearing Board members use the same sanctioning guidelines that were used in the initial expedited offer” and further threatens that the board can recommend harsher sanctions for students who are “not taking responsibility for [their] actions.”

These kinds of limitations on your due process rights are yet another reason why you need an attorney on your side. In addition to helping you collect evidence and develop questions for witnesses, they can make sure that your rights are respected and that you receive a fair and just resolution to your case.

Joseph D. Lento, Student Conduct Attorney-Advisor

Given what you're up against, it's no surprise that many students—even those who are completely innocent—choose to accept punishments rather than fight the system. The trouble is any allegation, even a minor one, can have long-term negative repercussions. A warning, if it shows up in your permanent record, can interfere with scholarships, keep you from getting into graduate school, and even affect your job search.

The thing is that while challenging your school isn't easy, you can do it with the right kind of help.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified, fully-licensed defense attorney who has devoted his career to making sure students are treated fairly by their schools. Joseph D. Lento has represented literally hundreds of clients just like you, helping them defend themselves from all kinds of accusations, from simple plagiarism to complicated cheating schemes. Joseph D. Lento knows how your school operates. He's also familiar with your school's judicial procedures and experienced in dealing with faculty and administrators. If you're a student looking to take on your school, you need the best representation you can find. You need Joseph D. Lento.

If you've been accused of any type of academic misconduct, contact Joseph D. Lento today to find out how he can help. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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