Eastern Kentucky University takes academic integrity pretty seriously. At some point, you've probably even had to sign the pledge:
“I hereby affirm that I understand, accept, and will uphold the responsibilities and stipulations of the Eastern Kentucky University Academic Integrity policy.”
Fair enough. The whole point of a university is to get an actual education, and no company is going to hire a bunch of graduates from a school with a reputation for cheating.
The thing is, though, Eastern Kentucky, like any other college or university out there, does sometimes make mistakes. Faculty members do occasionally accuse perfectly innocent students. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards does, from time to time, assign a penalty that's out of proportion to the crime itself.
It's important, then, to know just how EKU treats academic misconduct cases. What are the rules? How do you go about proving your innocence if you're accused? What kinds of penalties could you face? Only when you know exactly what you're up against can you hope to successfully defend yourself.
How Does EKU Define Academic Misconduct?
As you might imagine, every college and university defines academic misconduct just a little differently based on its own educational philosophies. Eastern Kentucky University is actually fairly straightforward in its approach. The school's Academic Integrity Policy lists just three kinds of violations:
- Cheating: According to EKU, “cheating” means fraudulently convincing, or attempting to convince, school officials that you have “mastered information on an academic exercise.” In simplest terms, the school insists you know what you claim to know. That means no unauthorized help, no unauthorized collaboration, and no use of unauthorized materials.
- Fabrication: In addition, the EKU forbids fabrication, which it defines as “misrepresenting” written or verbal information. This might include things like inventing sources, making up quotes, or falsifying lab reports.
- Plagiarism: Finally, EKU also includes plagiarism as an example of academic misconduct. Plagiarism, of course, means attempting to pass off another person's work as your own. It can happen when you fail to properly cite a source, but it isn't strictly limited to print. You can plagiarize music, images, and even computer code.
EKU's Procedures and Penalties in Academic Misconduct Cases
Eastern Kentucky's rules may be simple, but its procedures for enforcing those rules are not. For instance, instructors can use different approaches to dealing with a violation, and the process of proving your innocence can be a lengthy one. The good news is, the school seems committed to giving students multiple opportunities to prove their innocence.
- Generally speaking, accusations originate with course faculty. If an instructor suspects you of cheating, they can deal with the situation themselves, or they can turn it over to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS).
- You must be given written notification of any allegations against you. In most cases, you also have an opportunity to explain your side of the situation, either to the instructor or to an SCCS representative.
- If you are found “responsible” for violating the policy, the faculty member or the SCCS imposes a sanction. If you accept the judgment and the sanction, the case is over.
- If, however, you reject either the judgment or the sanction, you can appeal your case to the Academic Integrity Committee in the college that offers the course. You then have the opportunity to present evidence and witness testimony at a formal hearing.
- Should you disagree with the college's AI committee, you are then entitled to appeal your case further to the University's Academic Integrity Committee. However, there is no hearing. This committee only considers written documents related to the case.
- You can further appeal the university's AI committee's decision to the school's Provost. However, in this instance, you can only appeal for certain very specific reasons, including procedural mistakes, new information, and disproportional sanctions.
- Finally, EKU allows one further round of appeals. Should you dispute the Provost's decision, you can petition the state's Board of Regents to examine your case. Once again, though, you may only do so only under limited circumstances.
Academic Misconduct Penalties
Eastern Kentucky University is relatively harsh in how it deals with academic misconduct allegations. The school's policy mandates a “minimum” penalty, for instance. Instructors must at least fail you on the assignment in question if you are found responsible for cheating. In fact, you can be subject to much worse sanctions as well:
- Removal from the course
- Educational sanctions
- Community service
- Disqualification from graduating with Honors
- Assigned “F” in the course
- “FX” notation on a transcript, indicating course failure due to “dishonesty”
In addition, you should keep in mind that even something as seemingly innocuous as a warning about academic misconduct can find its way into your academic record, where it could affect scholarships, graduate school applications, and even job prospects.
Joseph D. Lento Can Help
It is no exaggeration to say that an accusation of academic misconduct has the potential to derail your entire career. One plagiarism notation on your transcript could hurt your chances of getting a good first job. You start at a lower level, it takes you longer to get promoted, and you wind up making less money over your lifetime.
You don't have to do just accept these outcomes, though. Whether you are entirely innocent, made an honest mistake, or believe you deserve a more reasonable sanction than what you were given, you can fight for your future.
Don't take on that fight alone, though. Ask Joseph D. Lento to help.
Joseph D. Lento specializes in academic misconduct cases at the university level. Joseph D. Lento is a fully licensed attorney, but he built his career serving as an advisor to students just like you. He's helped hundreds of students get the justice they deserve, and he is committed to getting you the very best possible outcome for your case.
If you've been accused of academic misconduct, don't wait. Contact Joseph D. Lento today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.