As an online student at Indiana University, you're used to working hard. You've had to troubleshoot tech more times than you can count—before you even get started with your studies, videos, presentations, or calls for the day. There's a lot going on, and you need to be able to focus 100% on your education to succeed.
If you've just received a notice that Indiana University is going to investigate you for an academic misconduct violation, that's going to get difficult. Over the coming weeks, you're going to need to become innately familiar with your school's code of conduct. You're going to need to prepare your defense, find evidence to support your case, and defend yourself and your future against a harsh and possibly unfair consequence.
If that feels like a lot, that's because it is. At the Lento Law Firm, we're here to take some of that burden off your shoulders.
Academic Misconduct Violations for Online Students at Indiana University
For both its online students and its on-campus students, Indiana University defines academic misconduct as “any activity that tends to undermine the academic integrity of the institution.” This is rather a wide definition, and there are some activities—e.g., destruction of school property—that may not apply as much, or in the same way, to online students. (The University does clarify that “academic misconduct may involve human, hard-copy, or electronic resources.”)
Indiana University provides the following examples of prohibited and punishable conduct as a non-exhaustive list:
- Cheating: Any time that a student takes action to obtain an unfair academic advantage of their peers through the means of unauthorized assistance, information, study aids, material, or excess time, they cheat. If a student helps another student cheat, this is also considered an academic offense.
- Fabrication of Data: A student cannot make up quotations, alter data, submit incorrect data, or alter academic records.
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism concerns the use of another person's words, work, or thoughts without proper citation. This includes self-plagiarism and materials used for oral presentations. Indiana University also notes that accidental plagiarism, while common, is not acceptable.
- Interference: Students cannot impeded the work or progress of another student. They cannot threaten or bribe another student to alter their work. They cannot destroy another student's work or steal their resources.
- Violation of Course Rules: Students cannot ignore the reasonable requests of their teachers or violate the rules of each course, as laid out in the course syllabus or other course materials.
Any Indiana University instructor or student can bring an allegation of academic misconduct to the attention of a faculty member or the university itself. Once Indiana University is aware of a potential misconduct violation, it will take steps to determine what has really happened.
What Happens After an Alleged Violation Occurs?
Indiana University has outlined a multi-step procedure to manage misconduct. To begin:
A faculty member will initiate an informal conference with the student. In this conference, the faculty member aware of the alleged misconduct will alert the student to their situation and give the student the opportunity to respond. At the end of this meeting, the faculty member will come to a decision based on a preponderance of the evidence. Then, as long as the violation was not overly severe, the faculty member will assign an academic (usually grade-based) sanction.
The dean of students considers university sanctions. If the student wishes to appeal their academic sanction or if the alleged infraction merits a university sanction instead of or in addition to a grade reduction, the dean of students will get involved. The dean will discuss the incident with faculty and with the student, perform any additional investigative steps necessary, and then come to a decision.
The dean of students recommends a university sanction. If deemed necessary, the dean of students will send the student a written notification regarding a university sanction. Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, this will be a disciplinary probation, a suspension, or a deferred suspension.
The student appeals to the Vice Provost for further action. If the student wishes, they can file an appeal to the Vice Provost and initiate a further hearing. The university only recommends that a student does this if they have evidence of serious procedural errors. Any decision coming from this stage will be final.
Students are allowed advisors to assist with their defense. Hiring an expert student defense attorney is your best chance of navigating this disciplinary chain of events successfully. It's also imperative that you do so, because your entire future is at stake. If the university makes a note on your official transcript that you were involved in academic misconduct, it doesn't matter whether it was true or not—future schools and employers will think at least twice before offering you future opportunities.
That's why you need to take action now to protect your future.
A Student Defense Advisor to Help You with Your Case at Indiana University
You've gone too far with your education at Indiana University not to receive your degree. All of those hours spent studying and weeks of hard work have to mean something. If your school sanctions you unfairly for an academic misconduct violation, particularly if it centered around a miscommunication because you're an online student, you need to take action.
However, you're also a student. You need to prepare for your exams and work on your projects. If it's all starting to feel overwhelming, trust the Lento Law Firm to help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento advises students across the nation with strategic defenses to help them protect their future. Whether you need help with your academic misconduct investigation or adjudication at Indiana University, Joseph D. Lento can help you, too. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.