Northwestern University Academic Integrity Advisor

To protect the value of a student's academic record and the education it represents, Northwestern University maintains standards of academic integrity in all academic work. To say that the world of higher education is big on integrity is an understatement. Academic communities like Northwestern can only thrive when every member is fully committed to the principles of academic integrity. To ensure students reach their educational goals, Northwestern has enforced a number of rules that serve to preserve and maintain academic integrity in all scholastic endeavors. 

Students who break these rules, knowingly or accidentally, will be accused of academic misconduct. Accusations of academic misconduct are serious and will be punished through the school's judicial system. Guilty determinations of academic misconduct have been known to jeopardize students' college careers and affect their professional lives down the line as well. 

In this article, we'll address how Northwestern handles allegations of academic misconduct and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you through the process once accused.

Northwestern University's Basic Standards of Academic Integrity

Registration at Northwestern requires adherence to the University's standards of academic integrity. Although these standards may seem intuitive, the concept of academic integrity is much broader than most students may realize. The following examples represent some basic types of behavior that are deemed unacceptable to the University:

  1. Cheating: using unauthorized notes, study aids, or information on an examination; altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for regrading; allowing another person to do one's work and submitting that work under one's own name; submitting identical or similar papers for credit in more than one course without prior permission from the course instructors. 
  2. Plagiarism: submitting material that in part or whole is not entirely one's own work without attributing those same portions to their correct source.
  3. Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information, data or citation; presenting data that were not gathered in accordance with standard guidelines defining the appropriate methods for collecting or generating data and failing to include an accurate account of the method by which the data were gathered or collected.  
  4. Obtaining an Unfair Advantage: (a) stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by the instructor; (b) stealing, destroying, defacing or concealing library materials with the purpose of depriving others of their use; (c) unauthorized collaborating on an academic assignment (d) retaining, possessing, using or circulating previously given examination materials, where those materials clearly indicate that they are to be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the examination
  5. Aiding and Abetting Academic Dishonesty: (a) providing material, information, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used in any of the violations stated above; (b) providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity; or (c) providing (including selling) class materials to websites that sell or otherwise share such materials – including homework, exams and exam solutions, submitted papers or projects, as well as original course materials (for example, note packets, powerpoint decks, etc.). In addition to violating Northwestern's policies on academic integrity, such conduct may also violate University policies related to copyright protection.
  6.  Falsification of Records and Official Documents: altering documents affecting academic records; forging signatures of authorization or falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, letter of permission, petition, drop/add form, ID card, or any other official University document.
  7.  Unauthorized Access to computerized academic or administrative records or systems: viewing or altering computer records, modifying computer programs or systems, releasing or dispensing information gained via unauthorized access, or interfering with the use or availability of computer systems or information.

Northwestern University's Procedures for Resolving Academic Misconduct

Suspected cases of academic dishonesty should be reported to the course instructor, the administration of the school whose under the jurisdiction the suspected offense took place, or to any student authorized by that school to receive such complaints. Students charged with academic dishonesty may not change their registration in a course in which the charge is pending, or in which a finding of academic dishonesty has been made. 


All proven cases of academic dishonesty should be penalized as appropriate under the circumstances. Sanctions other than a reduced or failing grade should be imposed by the school in which the student is enrolled. The imposition of any sanction other than a private reprimand should include a statement of reasons supporting its severity. A student may appeal any finding or sanction as specified by the school holding jurisdiction. Sanctions may include but are not limited to:

  • Reduced or failing grade. 
  • A letter of reprimand and warning. 
  • A defined period of suspension, up to one year. 
  • Ineligibility for certain awards, honors and special programs. 
  • Revocation of an awarded degree.
  • Permanent exclusion from the University (noted on official transcript). 
  • Any appropriate combination of the above. 


Students may appeal academic penalties in writing to the Academic Committee within 10 business days, or in those cases investigated by the deans, within 10 business days of the deans' decision. The committee solicits from the instructor and from witnesses additional written statements. The committee then forwards its recommendations to the instructor. 

Academic Integrity Attorney 

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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