The following is an overview of Montclair State University's disciplinary procedure for academic misconduct, with unique insight into the ways consultation with an attorney may help your situation. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at Montclair State University, the minimum penalty for which is academic probation while the maximum penalty is expulsion. If you have been accused of academic dishonesty at Montclair state, it is critical that you are proactive in the fight against the charge in order to protect your academic future and record. Do not underestimate the benefit it can provide to your case should you secure a student defense attorney to help you combat the accusation and keep a violation off your record. A defense attorney will be able to apply their knowledge and skill in the courtroom during the hearing for your dishonesty accusation. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side to consult with after you have been charged may help you secure a positive outcome.
Being aware of the unique definitions of academic dishonesty at your school, as well as the procedures by which these violations are handled can help you moving forward. An informed student is a prepared student.
Montclair groups academic dishonesty into two lumped categories: submitting work completed by another person and giving improper aid. Essentially, plagiarizing, or knowingly allowing your work to be plagiarized from. To give or receive aid on schoolwork or examinations, students must have the express consent of their professor.
Montclair State outlines the following offenses as specific violations of the school's academic integrity policy:
Plagiarism - Perhaps the chiefly discussed offense in every academic dishonesty policy, the university prohibits plagiarism of another individual's thoughts or ideas in one's own work. Any attempt to repurpose the ideas of another source must be accompanied by proper citation and attribution. Within the scope of this offense, students may not copy work from another, as this also constitutes plagiarism. Per the school's policy, reports, tests, programs, designs, pictures, images, and speeches are likewise subject to plagiarism policy rules and any student found using another's work in any of these forms is guilty of an academic integrity violation.
Collusion - Collusion entails the unauthorized aid given by one student to another. Any form of plagiarism or cheating which is found to be a joint effort will be considered an instance of collusion. This includes writing a paper/assignment/report for another student or assisting them to cheat on an examination (i.e. taking their place in the assessment, obtaining examination key). Although the collaborating individual may not have themselves cheated on their own examination, they have still violated the integrity code by colluding with another student.
The school offers guidelines for the submission of written works in an effort to help students steer clear of plagiarism accusations:
a) properly citing all sources from which background information was obtained
b) using footnote or endnote for all ideas or quotes for which more than four words were used
c) acquiring professor permission to submit an identical or similar paper of one's own work that was submitted elsewhere for another class
In cases of suspected academic dishonesty, the procedures are as follows:
1. Faculty member who suspects plagiarism meets with and discusses the matter with the student. The exact means of alerting the student are not specified in the academic dishonesty policy.
2. The same faculty member, after having spoken to the student in question, meets with their department chair to discuss the violation.
3. Some schools do not permit students to defend themselves with the argument that they did not know they were committing an act of plagiarism. Montclair is more lenient on this count, stating that in such cases the professor may either:
(i) Grade the work under question "zero" or "failing"
(ii) Allow the student to demonstrate that s/he can fulfill an assignment through her/his own honest effort.
Option (ii) is not available in cases where the department can confirm that an act of cheating occurred. The process by which they make that determination is not elaborated on in the school policy. The instructor and department chair draw their own conclusions after meeting with a student and conducting informal investigations. This is, in part, why a student defense attorney can be so critical because they can argue on your behalf in ways which you might not be able to. They could refute a professor's assumptions of dishonesty with sound logic and facts.
Should the instructor and chairperson make an adverse finding as to whether or not the student cheated, the student will receive either an F on the assignment or a failing grade for the entire course.
If there are other "confirmed" allegations of academic dishonesty on the student's record, the accumulation may lead to an eventual expulsion or suspension from the university.
Academic Dishonesty List
A unique feature of Montclair's academic dishonesty is the Academic Dishonesty List, which is a blacklist of sorts. Students who are believed to have violated the academic integrity policy will see their name placed on the school's public list of students who violated the academic dishonesty provisions. Placing their name on this list may be the only sanction made against them in some cases. In other cases, there will be additional penalties, such as a failing grade for the assignment or class.
In the event that a sanction is imposed against a student, he or she has the right to appeal this decision. However, an appeal must contain good reason as to why it should be granted. This institution typically accepts at least one of three reasons for an appeal:
- there was substantial and prejudicial failure to follow procedures
- The student can provide evidence that the sanction was unduly severe
- The student has additional evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing
Students have 10 working days to file an appeal.
New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
In order to avoid the steeper penalties that come with an academic dishonesty violation, you are advised to seek out the aid and advise of an attorney. Your academic record will potentially play a substantial role in future as you set about finding employment or moving forward with graduate school - for this reason, you will want to keep your record clean of suspicious offenses. Student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless students resolve disciplinary and academic issues stemming from violations of the student code of conduct. Do not hesitate to contact Joseph D. Lento to see how he can help your case at Montclair State.