Your time at Chaffey College is meant to be fun. OK, you're there to learn. No one's suggesting you should blow off classes or host keggers on a Monday night. But if you're not having fun, you're not doing college right.
Of course, nothing can ruin the fun of college more quickly than an academic misconduct allegation. It's not just the hassle of responding to your professor, preparing a defense, meeting with the dean. It's worrying over what might happen to you if you're found responsible. Colleges and universities take academic integrity seriously, as well they should and Chaffey College is no exception. A school's reputation depends on it. That means, though, that you could face anything from a lower grade to an F in the course. In some cases, you might even be looking at suspension or expulsion. Any kind of sanction can have long-lasting effects, however, as disciplinary records can haunt students for years and can close doors to internships, graduate school, and even professional employment.
Don't let an accusation ruin your college experience or your professional goals. Know Chaffey College's policy violations and how to avoid them. And, just in case you should find yourself accused, make sure you know how to defend yourself.
Defining Academic Misconduct
Let's start with the basics. Just what is academic misconduct?
Chaffey College's Academic Integrity Code actually lists seven separate types of academic misconduct and provides multiple examples of each. All seven come down to the same thing, though: any action that gives you an unfair advantage in your coursework.
- Cheating: Cheating is sort of a catch-all term but usually means using unauthorized resources. That might include looking up answers on the internet, asking a friend in another course section what's on a quiz, or having someone else take an exam for you. Essentially, if you aren't doing the work yourself, you're cheating.
- Plagiarism: Most of us know plagiarism is using someone else's work without giving them proper credit. Not everyone knows that turning your own paper in to two different classes qualifies as well.
- Unauthorized collaboration: Authorized group work can be a legitimate instructional technique. Unauthorized group work is academic misconduct.
- Facilitating academic dishonesty: Chaffey College isn't just concerned that you might commit academic misconduct. It wants to make sure you don't help anyone else do so either. As a result, facilitating dishonesty is treated the same as dishonesty itself.
- Interference or sabotage: Students have been known to take extreme measures to give themselves an advantage. Harming someone else's work is yet another version of academic misconduct.
- Fabrication: This one can actually take several different forms. Inventing a source or falsifying lab results are examples. So too is giving a fake excuse to get more time to finish work.
- Retaliation: Finally, the school notes that retaliation against anyone who reports academic misconduct is also forbidden.
It's worth noting that your school is careful not to limit the possibilities to these examples. Students are a crafty lot and can always find new ways to get around the rules. The second paragraph of the Integrity Code clearly states that these are “only examples,” and the school reserves the right to label other conduct as “cheating.”
The Resolution Processes
The process for resolving instances of academic misconduct at Chaffey College is actually fairly straightforward. Most cases are dealt with by the professor involved and the school's dean, and generally the school tries to resolve them quickly.
As at most colleges in the U.S., instructors are required to report instances of academic misconduct to the dean's office. In addition, they must submit a written “academic integrity violation form.” Reporting must occur within 24 hours of the violation.
As part of the violation form, instructors must include a discussion of the incident and attach documenting evidence. In addition, instructors make recommendations as to penalties for the offense.
Before a student's next class, the dean is supposed to meet with them to discuss the incident. At the meeting, the dean explains the charges and allows the student to offer their version of events. The handbook of administrative procedures, though, is clear that this meeting is not an evidentiary hearing. That is, the dean is ultimately in control of proceedings and makes the final decision as to a student's responsibility and any penalties they may face. Students have little, if any, say in the final outcome.
However, Chaffey College does offer a formal grievance process to students who feel they have been mistreated in some way by the school. The first step in the grievance process is to attempt an informal resolution with the instructor and dean. If this doesn't solve the problem, students are entitled to defend themselves at a formal hearing before a five-member panel made up of faculty, students, and administrators.
Students who are unhappy with the panel's decision have one final option: an appeal directly to the university president. Appeals must cite a specific flaw in the proceedings or the decision.
For the most part, first offenses can garner sanctions, including:
- Oral or written reprimand
- Failing grade on the assignment
- Failing grade in the course
Second offense, however, may merit more severe sanctions, such as:
- Disciplinary probation
When to Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Chaffey College, as with most schools, often would prefer you to simply accept its judgment and your assigned sanction. And that may sound tempting. You may think that moving on without argument is the easiest course of action. Don't upset the professor, don't rock the boat. Keep in mind, however, that academic misconduct becomes a part of your permanent academic file. It can cause you problems down the road, both while still a student at Chaffey and potentially beyond - for example, getting scholarships, transferring to another school, even getting a job.
Chaffey College actively discourages students from hiring attorneys in such cases. Don't be fooled. The school won't look out for your best interests; you need someone who will.
If you've been accused of academic misconduct, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento. Joseph D. Lento has defended hundreds of clients just like you from academic misconduct allegations at schools across the country, and he helps accused students in various capacities work towards a fair process and the best possible outcome. Joseph D. Lento is experienced at dealing with college faculty and administrators. He knows how they operate. He also knows the law and how to make sure your school can't violate your rights.
If you or your child has been accused of academic misconduct at Chaffey College, don't wait. Contact the Lento Law Firm today, at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.