If you or a loved one is currently facing allegations of academic misconduct or academic dishonesty at Georgia Southern University, it's critical that you not underestimate the importance of addressing them head-on. It can be easy to think that the allegations don't need to be taken seriously, but that would be incorrect.
Academic misconduct charges can strongly impact your future, and it's important not to wait until after the allegations are proven to appeal. You've invested large amounts of time and money getting into and paying for college, and you don't want to throw it all away. Thousands of dollars spent on tuition could be wasted, and if you have plans for any further academic studies, those could also be severely affected.
What Are Examples of Academic Misconduct at Georgia Southern University?
Georgia Southern University provides the academic misconduct guidelines to all students in their student handbook, and you will find the academic dishonesty policy at the end of it, in Chapter 12. A quick way to find that section is to select Command (or Control)-F and search for “academic dishonesty.”
When you get to the section of the code of conduct that specifically addresses what constitutes academic dishonesty, you'll want to notice that the definition the school offers is very broad. The four main sections listed are: cheating, plagiarism, facilitation, and classroom copyright infringement. Although each section expands on what is included within that area, they also say “but are not limited to.” For example, the University defines cheating as “(a) the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise; or (b) actions taken to gain unfair or undue advantage over others.” Although several examples, such as collaboration and falsifying data or research are listed after that, the final item in the list (f) clarifies that “displaying any other form of dishonest behavior” also constitutes academic dishonesty.
When someone suspects academic dishonesty, generally, they must report the allegation within two weeks of the assignment being returned to the student. At this time, reports are evaluated to see whether or not there is enough evidence to support the accusation of the alleged behavior.
Georgia Southern's Investigation and Hearing Process
At Georgia Southern University, there are three main types of resolutions and processes, dependent on the severity of the alleged offense. We'll provide a brief overview, however, it's recommended that you take the time to examine the more in-depth description that the code of conduct offers.
For instances that involve minor violations, and the student (Respondent) has no prior “findings of responsibility” for any of the academic violations that Georgia Southern University identifies in their policy, an Informal Resolution with the faculty member is one option. An Informal Resolution, in this instance, occurs when the faculty member and the Respondent both agree to the proposed sanctions. The Respondent has five business days to decide if they accept the sanctions. In some instances, the faculty member may conclude that, in fact, no academic dishonesty violations occurred. In that case, the case is considered closed.
If the student chooses not to accept the sanctions, then the faculty member refers the case to the Office of Student Conduct within ten business days.
If a student does not want an Informal Resolution, they can request a Formal Resolution, which will take place before the University Student Conduct Board. The school will provide notice at a minimum, 24 hours before the hearing. At the hearing, students are allowed to have an advisor with them if they so desire. An advisor can help them draft questions and offer recommendations.
If a student has a prior finding of academic dishonesty and is facing suspension or expulsion, the process is more formalized.
First, they will receive a written “Notice of Investigation,” which will include: preliminary allegations; possible sanctions; request for recusal for bias procedure; the investigator who will be involved; the link to provide a written response; and the opportunity to schedule a preliminary meeting. A student must respond within five days.
An investigator will gather information into a preliminary investigative report and deliver that report to the student, and the student may respond in writing or schedule a meeting within five business days. Once this step is concluded, the investigator will present the information to the University Student Conduct Board. At this point, the hearing will proceed much as the above hearing, however, the investigator will present information as well.
What Are Potential Sanctions for Violations?
Sanctions at the University are similar to sanctions at many colleges. One caveat is that the code of conduct states, “This list is not to be regarded as all-inclusive but rather as a sample of sanctions that may be imposed” and continues, “nothing in this section is intended to limit the imposition of those (other) specific sanctions.”
Possible institutional sanctions include:
- Disciplinary warning
- Disciplinary probation
- Reduction of a grade for the assignment or the overall course
- Disciplinary suspension (which requires an application for readmission)
- Educational sanctions
Can You Appeal a Decision at Georgia Southern University?
While it is possible to appeal a finding, there are only three reasons sufficient for consideration.
- Is there new information that was not known at the original hearing that could change the decision?
- Was there a procedural error that affected the fairness of the hearing?
- Was the finding “inconsistent with the weight of the information”?
If you decide that you want to appeal, you must submit the appeal in writing to the Office of Student Conduct, who in turn, will compile all relevant documentation and information and send it to the Provost. You have five days from when you receive your official outcome letter to file your appeal.
Beyond the Office of the Provost's decision, a student may appeal a finding to the Board of Regents.
An Experienced Academic Misconduct Defense Attorney-Advisor to Assist You
If you or your loved one's academic career is at risk due to academic misconduct allegations, you don't want to (nor do you have to) handle this all on your own. An expert attorney-advisor can outline the best course of action for how to craft a strong defense for your proceedings. You want someone who will be able to ease the pressure and stand up on your behalf. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have worked with—and successfully assisted—hundreds of students who faced similar circumstances across the nation. Each case receives personalized attention and dedication. Contact them today by calling 888-535-3686 or reaching out online with your questions.