Harvey Mudd College Academic Integrity Advisor

Harvey Mudd College, like other colleges, continually enforced rules that preserve academic integrity because it's essential to academic environments. This is why students who are accused of violating these regulations have an uphill battle on their hands.

As a student, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the many assignments, homework, projects, and presentations you've likely been assigned. Unfortunately, the struggle to keep up with studies is the number one culprit behind academic misconduct charges.

In this article, we'll address how Harvey Mudd College defines and handles cases of academic misconduct, as well as why you need a student defense attorney to represent you throughout the school's processes.

Harvey Mudd College's Honor Code

The Honor Code states that students are expected to act as responsible individuals, to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity both personally and academically and to respect the rights of others. The College considers these standards to be essential to its academic mission and its community life.  

Any behavior that doesn't align with Harvey Mudd's academic integrity guidelines is considered academic misconduct. Harvey Mudd's policies are pretty vague, so here are a few examples of the most commonly committed types of academic misconduct at the College.

  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work or preventing, or attempting to prevent another from using authorized assistance, material, or study aids. Example: using a cheat sheet in a quiz or exam, using a cell phone or other technology to obtain or share information during an exam, altering a graded exam and resubmitting it for a better grade.
  • Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment. Example: copying another person's paper, article, or text from a website and submitting it for an assignment, quoting someone else's ideas without attribution, failing to use quotation marks where appropriate.
  • Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise. Example: making up data for an experiment, fudging data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving sources. 
  • Multiple submissions: submitting, without prior permission, any work submitted to fulfill another academic requirement. 
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty: knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate a provision of the Code. Example: working together on a take-home exam. 
  • Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in an academic exercise. Example: gaining or providing unauthorized access to examination materials, obstructing or interfering with another student's efforts in an academic exercise, lying about a need for an extension for an exam or paper, continuing to write even when time is up during an exam, destroying or keeping library materials for one's own use. 
  • Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with or attempting to tamper with any portion of a student's transcript or academic record, either before or after coming to Harvey Mudd College. Example: forging a change of grade slip, tampering with computer records, falsifying academic information on one's resume.

Misconduct can occur in any academic situation including, but not limited to, a course research project, independent study, presentation, qualifying examination, preliminary examination, or dissertation.

Harvey Mudd College's Student Conduct Process for Handling Academic Misconduct

The student conduct system exists to adjudicate violations of the Honor Code through peer accountability. The student conduct system is a model of shared governance amongst faculty, administration, and students; it upholds the Standards of Conduct that guide our campus. The primary purpose of the student conduct system is to educate students while correcting behavior that does not meet the Standards of Conduct for the HMC community. 

Upon receiving charges of an alleged violation, the Honor Board chair will determine whether there are grounds for an investigation. If there is reason to believe that an investigation should ensue, an independent party will conduct an investigation to determine if there's proof the alleged academic misconduct took place.

Following an investigation, a hearing will be conducted by the Hearing Board. In the hearing, all involved parties shall be heard. The Board shall use “clear and convincing” evidence as the burden of proof. “Clear and convincing” evidence is a stricter standard of proof than the “preponderance of evidence,” which is used in many school judicial settings, but less rigorous than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is used in criminal cases. Thus, the evidence must be prevailing and persuasive. After all parties are heard, the Board will deliberate. The Board shall consider all admissible evidence and materials presented during the hearing. No new facts regarding the present suspected violation may be introduced during deliberations. Once the deliberations has concluded, the Board will produce a summary of the case, including the case's resolution.

Sanctioning

One or more of the following sanctions may be recommended during the student conduct process: additional assignments, no credit for the original assignment/exam, a failing grade for the original assignment/exam, a reduced final grade for the course, a failing grade for the course, withdrawal from a course and/or the inability to take self-scheduled exams in the course, probation, and in extreme cases, expulsion. 

Appeals

The right to appeal is granted to the guilty student, the accuser, and the College. The appeal must be submitted in writing and must be directed to the chair who did not preside over the original hearing. Appellants must file the appeal within 10 calendar days of the release of the original decision. 

There are specific grounds for an appeal that must be met for the appeal to be considered. The grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. Procedural error: a substantial procedural error, possibly affecting the outcome of the original case, is grounds for appeal.
  2. New evidence: new evidence is grounds for appeal if the appellant can prove that the new evidence could not have reasonably discovered earlier than it was and might have affected the outcome of the original case. In this event, the Appeals Board will refer the case back to the original hearing body for rehearing.
  3. Unjust punishment: A disparity between the harshness of the penalty imposed and the seriousness of the violation is grounds for appeal in certain limited cases. First, only the more severe penalties of withdrawal from a course, on-record probation, suspension, expulsion, loss of housing privileges or penalties of similar magnitude may be appealed for this purpose. Secondly, a review will only be granted if it can be reasonably shown that the penalty imposed was not proportional to the violation. 

Academic Integrity Attorney

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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