Handling Academic Misconduct Accusations at New Jersey Institute of Technology

If you can believe your parents and grandparents, there may once have been a time when colleges and universities took a relaxed view towards student discipline. If your professor caught you smuggling a crib sheet into an exam, the worst you might face was a stern lecture from the Dean. Those days are long past. Now, cheating can get you an F in a class or even expelled from your school. In fact, even something as small as a warning can cause you big problems. If a notation about academic misconduct should ever wind up in your academic file, it could cost you scholarship money, keep you from getting into graduate school, and even tank your chances of getting that job you want out of college.

When schools take misconduct seriously, you have to too. How do you do that? Start by finding out everything you can about how the New Jersey Institute of Technology handles accusations. What are the rules? What can happen if you're found Responsible for breaking one? How do you go about defending yourself?

That's a good start, but if you want to make sure you keep your academic reputation clean, you'll want help defending yourself. It's not easy taking on an instructor, let alone the weight of your university's administration. A qualified, experienced attorney-advisor can ensure you're treated fairly and that you get the best possible resolution to your case.

Just What is Academic Misconduct?

In simple terms, academic misconduct has to do with disciplinary infractions related to your coursework. Think about it this way: New Jersey Institute of Technology wants to make sure that you don't have an unfair advantage in obtaining your degree and that when you get your degree, you are as fully qualified as that piece of paper says you are.

Need more guidance? NJIT maintains a complete Policy on Academic Integrity. There, you'll find a detailed description of what the school prohibits.

  • Cheating: First up is cheating. Cheating means using unauthorized materials to complete your coursework. It can be as simple as copying another student's answers or as complicated as breaking into your professor's office, stealing a copy of the exam, looking up the answers, and smuggling them in on the inside of a soda bottle label.
  • Contract Cheating: Contract cheating has to do with getting unauthorized help on an assignment from a third party. It includes things like buying papers online, asking someone to take a test for you, and having someone else do your homework.
  • Fabrication: As you might expect, NJIT frowns on inventing sources and making up lab results. You also want to avoid more innocuous-seeming activities, like signing a classmate's name on the daily attendance log or forging a doctor's note to get out of a quiz.
  • Plagiarism: You're probably familiar with this one. Basically, you're forbidden from submitting another person's work or ideas as your own. Keep in mind that plagiarism doesn't just apply to text. You can be accused of plagiarism for copying images, video, music, and even computer code.
  • Unauthorized Collaboration: You may not work with another student on coursework unless you've been given express permission to do so.

Finally, keep in mind that, as the NJIT policy notes, this list of rules is not “exhaustive.” Many faculty, for instance, maintain their own set of guidelines for their individual courses. Generally speaking, if it's mentioned in the syllabus, the university will back the instructor up and hold you responsible for having violated school policy.


In addition to the list of rules, NJIT's policy contains a full description of what penalties you may face for given violations. Offenses are divided into four categories or “levels,” and each one carries a different level of sanction.

  • Level 1: These offenses are generally unintentional, such as forgetting to include a proper works cited page at the end of a paper. Punishments range from written warnings to failure on the assignment.
  • Level 2: Includes deliberate offenses such as copying another student's lab report or allowing another student to copy your answers during an exam. Violations can result in course failure, a semester's probation, or suspension.
  • Level 3: Violations here involve serious, premeditated actions, like allowing another student to submit your work as their own or plagiarizing extensive portions of a paper. Level 3 violations can be punished with an XF, a transcript notation—temporary or permanent—that lets anyone looking at your transcript know you were caught cheating.
  • Level 4: Finally, these offenses involve “egregious” or “flagrant” violations of policy. Stealing a copy of an exam might qualify, as would participating in a cheating conspiracy. In addition, second offenses count as level 4 violations. A level 4 violation can result in permanent expulsion.


Obviously, most accusations originate with instructors. If they suspect cheating, faculty are supposed to report their suspicions to the Office of the Dean of Students. In the case of low-level violations, the Dean may ask the instructor to investigate the incident themselves. In more serious cases, the Dean or one of their representatives typically conducts the investigation.

You do have the right to contest the charges against you via either an Administrative Hearing or a Hearing Board. At such a hearing, you may make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Importantly, you have the right to an advisor at this hearing. That advisor can be—and should be—an attorney. Only an attorney can help you prepare your defense; only an attorney can prepare you to ask and answer questions; only an attorney can make sure NJIT doesn't violate any of your due process rights.

Joseph D. Lento: Academic Misconduct Attorney

A charge of academic misconduct may not seem like a big deal. It is. It's not just that the penalties can be steep. The policy itself is complex, and the judicial procedures can be difficult to navigate. You don't want to try to defend yourself without help.

Joseph D. Lento is an academic attorney with years of experience in academic misconduct cases. Whether you're simply meeting with a professor to discuss their accusation or going before the Dean to prove your innocence, Joseph D. Lento can help. He has handled hundreds of cases just like yours. He's a skilled negotiator and a tenacious fighter. Don't let your school trample your rights or impose penalties far out of proportion to your offense. If you or your child has been accused of academic misconduct, contact the Lento Law Firm today.

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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