The following information is meant to provide a well-rounded overview of Kean University's academic misconduct disciplinary procedures, as well as unique insight into how consultation with an attorney can be of aid to someone accused of such misconduct. For complete information about the University's misconduct procedures, you are advised to consult the school's code directly. Should you have questions or points of confusion, seek out an attorney to clarify these things for you.
If you were accused of an academic violation, the next step is to arm yourself with information concerning the violation - its definition, the school's procedures surrounding it, penalties you face, and the steps you can take to combat those penalties. It is incredibly useful to understand how your school views and defines these violations, so that you may compare your own actions with the school's definition. This may be a way to discredit an accusation. Being informed as to the processes and penalties will put you in a far better position than if you do nothing at all.
For those accused of academic misconduct, it is incredibly common that they simply did not know they were doing something wrong. The line between paraphrasing and plagiarism can be incredibly fine, for example. While schools take the offense incredibly seriously, even students who thought they were taking measures to avoid it could find themselves accused of it. A failure to acknowledge or cite sources may result in an accusation.
Academic Integrity At Kean University
The school recognizes four distinct pillars of academic integrity.
Mastery of material - Kean requires that students' work on academic assessments adequately reflect their personal mastery/grasp of the subject. This is embellished wording meant to make sanctions against cheating - your test/quiz/homework must reflect YOUR understanding of the material. If administrators suspect your work does not reflect your personal understanding of the subject, they may level an accusation against you. This entails a degree of presumption that could lead administrators astray. For example, an instructor may suspect academic dishonesty if a student's test performance drastically improves between two tests. The student may well have improved organically, but face scrutiny nevertheless.
Representation of sources - The school mandates that students justly represent the sourced they consulted when completing assignments. If a student takes pains to paraphrase a point, or discusses an idea in their piece based on the merits of the argument, they may still face disciplinary action on account of not having a works-cited page, for example.
Truthful submission of work - This component holds that students must not submit assignments that contain fabricated data, facts or statistics. The pitfall of this provision is that students are essentially held responsible for factual inaccuracies in data they may have come across in their research, but did not personally arrive at those figures.
Access and use of resources - This pillar of academic integrity provides that students may not utilize resources that they did not have authorized access to. It can be difficult for a student to know they were using a resource they were not authorized to use when completing their assignment. The authorization or lack thereof may not be readily apparent.
An overview of the school's policy is best summarized as follows: "All members of the academic community are expected to employ the highest standards of academic integrity in their work. Any violation of such will be subject to a sanction based on the infraction, which may include a reprimand, reduction in grade, failing grade, suspension, or dismissal from the University."
Types of Academic Misconduct Recognized By Kean University
Some academic institutions go to great lengths to categorize the types of academic dishonesty that they recognize and penalize. Kean University takes a broader approach to its definitions in this realm. The broader the definition, the more slippery the slope becomes for students.
Cheating - It doesn't get much broader than this umbrella term. Characterized as an "act of deception" on the part of a student to misrepresent their mastery of the course material, this category encompasses many types of "unauthorized assistance" given to students in the execution of their exams or coursework.
Plagiarism - Plagiarism need not be a verbatim, copy-and-paste situation in order to receive administrative scrutiny. If school authorities suspect a student has copied another idea or paraphrased them without citing the original source, the student could be penalized. If your organic thoughts and ideas overlap with someone else's, you may be accused on this count. You will need to present a clear argument of your innocence, based on something very difficult to prove. This is why an attorney's legal skill can be of exceptional aid to you in these situations.
Fabrication - Fabrication is defined as the use of "invented information" to service your argument. The explicitly states that using a bibliography containing sources you did not appear to consult in your work could be counted as an act of fabrication. It simply may not be apparent how/when you used the content of a given source.
Academic Misconduct - This is the catch-all that allows the university to penalize any other type of suspected academic dishonesty not elucidated in the above categories. This includes grade alteration, the acquisition of tests/answers prior to them being administered, submitting the same assignment in more than one class without professor permission, for example.
Defining Offenses and Penalties By Level
Because offenses can vary in scale and severity, the school recognizes four levels of violations. Level 1 violations are considered academic issues, not disciplinary offenses. Offenses are classed as Level 2 violations if the assignment constituted less than 25% of the student's grade, and appears to have been intentional, not the result of inexperience or obliviousness as to the offense. Level 3 violations apply to suspected offenses in which the assignment was worth more than 25% of their grade in the class, or it was a repeat Level 2 offense. Level 4 violations constitute violations of state law, any "blatant disregard" for University principles, or misconduct regarding a graduate thesis.
Level 2, 3, and 4 violations will be reported on an Academic Integrity Violations Report (AIVR). An AIVR is a five-part form identifying the alleged offense, assignment, those involved and the level. For Level 2 violations, the instructor will meet with the student. The sanctions are up to the instructor's discretion. The student is permitted to appeal to school Personnel Committee. For Levels 3 and 4, any meetings between the student and teacher are purely informational. The Dean of the college will review the offense and determine the penalty.
Fraud or Purchased Term Papers
State law prohibits purchasing any papers/essays/assignments. Any student convicted of violating this provision will be subject to a $1,000 fine. This is, in part, why it is critical that they retain an attorney if they are accused.
New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
An enormous amount is at stake when you are accused of academic misconduct. A student defense attorney will be indispensable in your fight against the allegation, potentially protecting your scholarships or enrollment, as well as your record. Contact student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to learn how he can help