Finding a way into the world of higher education is a feat to be celebrated. Achieving that goal is only the first step, though, on a student's journey towards success. While at a university like Michigan State University, students are expected not only to attend their classes but to uphold a standard of honesty, integrity, and truthfulness as defined by the university’s honor code.
Students who fail to meet the standards set forth by the university can face more than just a trying stint on campus. Those individuals who purposefully violate the institution's honor code can face serious consequences as set forth by Michigan State University's judicial system. Penalties for academic misconduct can range from a failing course grade to a student's expulsion.
That said, students do not have to tackle academic misconduct accusations alone. Any party accused of academic misconduct on the Michigan State University campus may reach out to a student defense attorney to better navigate the judicial hoops that such accusations may place before her.
What is Academic Misconduct at Michigan State University?
While the ideas that define academic dishonesty hold between universities, each institution has its own understanding of what behaviors constitute such a descriptor. Michigan State University outlines its understanding of academic dishonesty in its General Student Regulations, noting that students are expected to act with integrity and honesty while in the classroom and on Michigan State University's campus.
While the university leads with that broader understanding of academic dishonestly, the Office of the University Ombudsperson narrows its interpretation down so that it includes the following:
Submitting Someone Else's Work, or Plagiarism
Cases of plagiarism, or instances in which a student submits someone else's work as their own, are often addressed on a case-by-case basis. That said, plagiarism can consist of:
- Inappropriately quoting an official document or the words of another party
- Copying pre-written work from a website or book and submitting it as individual analysis
- Failing to acknowledge a student's participation in a group project
- Self-plagiarizing previously-submitted work
Note that Michigan State University can sanction students for accidental plagiarism but that it also has rules in place designed to help students who face accusations of academic misconduct without prior notice of such behavior on their records.
Obtaining University Exam or Assignment Answers without Authorization
Any student who steals, solicits, or otherwise obtains the answers to university exams without authorization from a university body may face sanctions for their behavior.
Completing an Assignment for Another Student
No student attending Michigan State University may accept cash, favors, or other bribes to complete work on another student's behalf.
Altering or Otherwise Interacting with University Resources without Authorization
Students may not access certain documents held by members of the university. Such documents can be identified by individual students' departments but can include:
- Lab reports
- Lesson plans
- Professor Canvas or Coursework pages
Falsifying Academic Records
Students who disregard previously-awarded grades or other academic records and choose to attempt to alter or obscure the data held by their affiliated departments or by the university as a whole may be accused of doing so even when such alterations do not occur in direct relation to the university. Instead, students may be accused of falsifying academic records if they choose to inappropriately note what grade point averages, honors, or awards they received while attending university to potential employers and other official bodies.
The Office of the University Ombudsperson does note that while these categories of academic dishonesty are in place, it is up to an attending professor or school dean to determine whether or not such behavior took place. Certain schools on campus, including the MSU College of Law, have their own codes of conduct in place designed to encourage honesty and integrity within their student bodies.
Michigan State University's Policies Regarding Academic Misconduct
Enduring accusations of academic dishonesty are a professional and emotional trial. The process, however, of both acknowledging those accusations and addressing them involves several steps during which a student, staff member, or another accused party may act to their own benefit.
Michigan State University’s policies regarding academic misconduct include the following:
- Instructors who believe that an attending student or another body has behaved in a way that may place them within one of the aforementioned categories of misconduct may choose to either address the issue individually or to award the party in question a penalty grade and to submit an Academic Dishonesty Report.
- The accused, an affiliated dean, and either the Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean of Undergraduate Students will receive copies of the filed Academic Dishonesty Report. This report will go on the student's permanent record unless the instructor files for its removal, the accused completes an academic integrity course, or the accused grieves the allegation.
- Should an accused party choose to question the validity of the report, or should the Dean or professor believe the behavior in question to merit a response beyond the awarding of a penalty grade, then the university will begin an academic disciplinary hearing.
- As the hearing is brought together, either the accused or an attending dean may appeal the hearing and see it dismissed, provided that the evidence affiliated with the specific party's claim invalidates the need for such an event to take place.
In short, then: should a student find herself accused of academic dishonesty, a notice of that accusation will go on their permanent record until she takes action. In the meanwhile, she may receive a penalty grade or face more significant penalizations, including a suspension from classes, loss of a scholarship or financial aid, removal from campus, or expulsion.
Michigan State University Students and Staff Can Work with an Academic Integrity Attorney
Accusations of academic misconduct last beyond one semester. Students who aren't able to take action against such accusations can face debilitating consequences while on campus and once they've graduated. That's why attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm aims to help students address academic misconduct accusations. Reach out at 888-535-3686 or by online contact link for more information.