In Oklahoma, institutions of higher learning seek to maintain the integrity of their academic principles. College and university administrators promote the high quality of education and that students are committed to truthfulness. The rules that pertain to academic conduct are outlined in their student handbook or guidelines. When a student is alleged to have committed acts of academic misconduct, they are subject to the written disciplinary process. The potential consequences of these actions may be harsh sanctions and penalties. Students accused of violating rules of conduct should consider seeking legal counsel to be sure that their rights are protected.
Academic Misconduct in Oklahoma
Each school develops its own internal method of investigating claims of misconduct. Generally, the accused will have the opportunity to answer the allegations in a disciplinary hearing. Students are usually permitted to be accompanied by an advisor at these hearings. Having an attorney assume this support role is often recommended. You legal counsel may develop a comprehensive defense strategy and be sure that you are adequately prepared. The Lento Law Firm is well-versed in the realm of student disciplinary defense and encourages you to contact them to discuss your concerns.
Forms of Academic Misconduct
Some common examples of academic misconduct are as follows:
- Engaging in communication with others during an exam.
- Accessing notes such as “cheat sheets” during an exam.
- Collaborating with other students in efforts to cheat on an assignment or exam. May also be referred to as complicity.
- Having someone else take an exam on your behalf.
- Submitting a paper or essay that was written by someone else as being your own.
- Using the concepts or ideas of someone else as if they were yours is a form of plagiarism.
- Using the work of another person without crediting them as the source. This may include direct quotes or unique factual information.
Creating False Information (Fabrication)
- Using false information or sources.
- Creating incidents or events that are untrue to support a point.
Altering or Falsifying Records
- Submitting false information on your entrance application.
- Unauthorized access to student records.
Consequences of Misconduct
The school's disciplinary guidelines will contain the potential penalties and sanctions that may be imposed. Often these will include placing a student on a period of academic probation. The student may be assigned a failing grade on a specific test or project. The student may be removed from an association such as an honors program. They may impose a suspension or expulsion from the institution.
It is also critical to consider the adverse consequences of having evidence of misconduct on your academic records or transcripts. These documents may be reviewed by the admissions department of a graduate school or of a college you wish to transfer to. This can also be a hindrance for those pursuing certain professional areas including medical or law school programs that may perform more thorough background screening.
Appealing an Adverse Ruling
If a student is found to have violated the school's academic code of conduct, they will have an opportunity to appeal the ruling. It is critical to act quickly when seeking to appeal. The majority of schools require that your intention to appeal be submitted in writing within 10 days or less.
The written policies will usually specify the grounds or basis required for appealing a decision. One common reason is that the administration failed to properly adhere to the provisional requirements. Often the purpose of the appeal is to contest the severity of the sanctions imposed.
Oklahoma Academic Misconduct Advisor
Those faced with accusations of violating their school's academic conduct policies may have their educational and professional future adversely impacted. Students are often making tremendous sacrifices including time and financial resources to attain their goals. It is possible that amid the student disciplinary process that busy administrators may overlook or ignore the rights and due process that students are entitled to. These are merely some of the reasons why you should consider legal representation in these situations.
In matters like these that are unique and often complex, it is important that students facing disciplinary action consult with an attorney that is experienced in this realm of practice. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a track record of defending the interests of students and their families. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.