Florida State University requires all students to abide by the statement on Values and Moral Standards. Students who fail to exercise academic integrity face short and long-term consequences. The Values and Moral Standards states, “Truthfulness in one's claims and representations and honesty in one's activities are essential in life and vocation, and the realization of truthfulness and honesty is an intrinsic part of the educational process.”
Failing to live by these standards can result in an academic misconduct charge. Students who commit academic misconduct must go through a formal disciplinary process and face significant sanctions. If you or someone you know faces academic misconduct allegations at Florida State University, you should familiarize yourself with their Academic Honor Policy. In this article, we'll review this policy and how to respond to a violation.
Florida State University's Academic Honor Policy
Every Florida State University student must pledge to uphold the Academic Honor Policy at New Student Convocation. The Academic Honor Pledge is as follows:
“I affirm my commitment to the concept of responsible freedom. I will be honest and truthful and will strive for personal and institutional integrity at the Florida State University. I will abide by the Academic Honor Policy at all times.”
Although there are many ways in which students can violate this pledge, the Academic Honor Policy breaks academic honor violations into eight different categories.
- Plagiarism or presenting the work of another as one's own without proper acknowledgment of the source
- Cheating or improper access to or use of information/materials in an academic exercise
- Unauthorized group work or collaboration with others
- Fabrication, falsification, and misrepresentation
- Multiple submission or submitting the same academic work for credit more than once
- Abuse of academic materials or intentionally damaging, destroying, or stealing academic resources
- Complicity in academic dishonesty or intentionally helping another to commit an act of academic dishonesty
- Attempting to commit any offense outlined above
How Florida State University Resolves Academic Dishonesty Allegations
If an instructor believes you committed academic dishonesty, they must investigate the violation. The instructor will meet with you to discuss the incident and determine if you committed the offense. During this conversation, the instructor will present the evidence of the violation and allow you to respond. The instructor-student discussion can lead to any of the following outcomes:
- The instructor drops the charges and records of academic dishonesty
- The student accepts responsibility for the violation and the recommended academic sanction
- The student accepts responsibility for the violation and contests the recommended academic sanction
- The student denies responsibility for the violation
If you contest the sanctions, you must provide a written statement to the Office of the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. You must cite specific reasons why you feel the sanctions are disproportionate to the violation. The vice president will then make a final decision on sanctions.
If you refute the charges, your instructor will submit an academic honor policy referral to the vice president. The process will move to an academic honor policy hearing scheduled within 90 days. Students with prior violations automatically forfeit their right to an instructor meeting and must attend an honor policy hearing.
What Happens at an Academic Honor Policy Hearing?
The honor policy hearing provides students and instructors the ability to present their case. A panel then decides if academic dishonesty occurred. You must prepare for this hearing since it ultimately decides your fate.
The panel will review relevant information presented by students, instructors, and witnesses. The panel must use the preponderance of the evidence standard. They must prove that it is more likely than not that you committed the alleged offense.
After reviewing the evidence, the chair of the panel reports their findings to all parties. They will issue sanctions if they deem you responsible for the alleged offense.
How does Florida State University Punish Students for Academic Misconduct?
The sanctions for academic misconduct depend on the number of violations and the severity of the offense. Even first-time offenders face serious repercussions. For minor, first-time offenses, instructors may recommend any of the following sanctions:
- Additional academic work
- Grade reduction for the assignment, including “0” and “F”
- Reduced or failing grade for the course
- Educational activities like attending ethics workshops, interviewing faculty, or writing reflective essays
If your violation leads to an academic honor policy hearing, the sanctions can be even more severe. The panel must write a clear justification for the sanctions, and they cannot punish students for requesting a formal hearing. In addition to the previous examples, students may also face these sanctions following an honor policy hearing:
- Restitution or other restorative acts
- Disciplinary probation
- Restrictions on student activities
- Suspension not to exceed two years
- Dismissal from the university for an indefinite time
- Expulsion without the possibility of readmission
An academic misconduct violation can also impact your life outside of the university. Florida State University may withhold diplomas, transcripts, or degrees depending on the specifics of your case. They can also revoke degrees in certain circumstances.
How Can I Challenge Academic Misconduct Allegations?
The best way to fight back against an academic misconduct charge is to hire a student defense attorney. Many students fail to prepare for disciplinary hearings. By using an attorney, you can make sure that you do not incriminate yourself during disciplinary proceedings. An attorney can also collect evidence, prepare witnesses, and create a roadmap to dismissing the charges.
Florida State University guarantees students certain rights throughout its disciplinary process. An attorney will fight to maintain your rights to confidentiality, an impartial hearing, and due process. They can also assist in filing an appeal if the university violates any of your rights when determining sanctions.
Your Student Discipline Attorney
The right attorney can make all the difference in your academic misconduct case. You can defend your rights by enlisting the services of attorney Joseph D. Lento. For many years, he and his team of defense attorneys have fought for student rights and helped people just like you challenge their universities. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.