Ever cheated on an exam? Copied a classmate's lab results? Maybe you got help from your roommate on one of your English comp papers? Turns out you're not alone. According to the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), over sixty percent of college students admit to cheating in some form during the course of their education.
If you're one of them, hopefully you didn't get caught. You need to know, though, that the danger you might get caught remains very real. You can still be punished for cheating years, even decades, after the fact.
The Stakes are High
Universities these days take a very dim view of academic misconduct. If you're caught cheating, plagiarizing, or getting up to some other sort of classroom shenanigans, you can quickly find yourself in your professor's office, or worse yet, standing in front of an academic integrity committee. If you're lucky, you might just have to repeat an assignment or accept a lower grade on your assignment. Unlucky? You could be looking at a failing grade in the course, academic probation, suspension, or even expulsion.
In fact, at many schools, even a warning for academic misconduct goes on to your permanent record. That means you could be answering awkward questions about your plagiarized paper for the rest of your professional career.
If your university should come looking for you later, though, for some infraction you committed five, ten, twenty years ago, the repercussions could be far worse.
A Prominent Professor Called Out
Jodi Whitaker was a successful educator at the University of Arizona in 2016. She had served on President Obama's task force on gun violence and was a tenure-track professor with a bright future ahead of her. Then the results of a paper she had published as a graduate student were called into question. Ultimately, the school she had attended, the University of Ohio, chose to revoke her Ph.D. Whitaker managed to stay on at the University of Arizona, but only after she was demoted to lecturer. Her reputation will likely never recover.
Whitaker's case is not unique. In 2014, for example, Stanford stripped prominent financial advisor Mathew Martoma of his business degree. That same year, the Army War College rescinded John Walsh's master's degree after it discovered he had plagiarized a paper while he was a student there. Walsh, a Senator from Montana, was forced to withdraw from the upcoming election that year.
Dealing With Your Past
The bottom line is that there is no statute of limitations on school misconduct. The US courts have established that schools have the right to revoke degrees at any time.
Of course, at most schools, you are entitled to due process and are generally afforded the opportunity to defend yourself if you are accused of any type of misconduct. That's true whether you're a current student or an alumnus.
You don't want to take on your school on your own, though. Universities tend to close ranks when anyone challenges them, and campus justice can be notoriously difficult to navigate.
If your school or former school should decide to investigate you, there is help available out there. Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who specializes in student conduct cases across the United States. He knows the law; he knows how schools operate. He's helped hundreds of clients fight unfair allegations and restore their academic reputations. He's ready to help you as well.
For more information, contact Attorney Lento and his expert team at the Lento Law Firm today. Call 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.