Don't let the University of Central Florida's (UCF) reputation as a top-notch party school fool you—leadership takes academic integrity extremely seriously. This regard for academic honesty extends to the University's online curricula.
One mistake, lapse in judgment, or false accusation could compromise your plans for the future. There is good news: UCF clearly outlines the process for handling cases of alleged academic dishonesty. Therefore, you can prepare yourself for a faculty meeting, hearing, and appeal.
Even better news: you can retain Joseph D. Lento as your attorney-advisor. He and his team have unparalleled experience defending students in academic misconduct cases.
Potential Consequences of Losing Your Academic Integrity Case
Let's start with the university-issued sanctions. These are the most obvious, immediate effects that you will experience if you lose your case.
UCF’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities lists the following sanctions, which may result from a “violation of any of the rules of conduct.”
This is just what you suspect: expulsion from the University of Central Florida. This sanction “removes the student from the individual's academic program and permanently separates a student from the University without opportunity to graduate or re-enroll at the university in the future.”
This is the harshest academic sanction that you can receive. It can compromise your future enrollment at other universities. An abrupt exit from UCF will also be difficult to explain to prospective employers.
Nearly as serious as a disciplinary expulsion, a disciplinary dismissal “removes the student from the individual's academic program and separates the student from the University for a period of at least two years and up to seven years.”
It's a temporary expulsion. However, who is going to wait two years (or more) to re-enroll at UCF? How could you explain that sort of gap when job hunting?
So, in reality, this sanction can be just as severe as a disciplinary expulsion.
When UCF issues you a disciplinary suspension, you:
- Are forbidden from University property without express, written consent
- Cannot enroll or participate in classes
- Cannot participate in any University-related activities
- Are subject to a “conduct overlay” on your transcript
The University may view a suspension as a lesser punishment than an expulsion. It may therefore be quick to implement this sanction upon you.
However, a suspension will cause significant hardship in your life. It could ultimately diminish your earning power, injure your reputation, and follow you through other facets of your life.
Delayed Conferral of Degree or Degree Revocation
The University of Central Florida reserves the right to:
- Withhold your degree until you meet certain conditions
- Revoke your degree outright
Either of these sanctions will be a glaring blemish on your record and reputation.
When we say lesser, we do not mean non-serious. The following sanctions can mar your academic transcript and create significant hardship, even if they are less devastating than an expulsion, suspension, or degree revocation.
Additional sanctions that you may face include:
- Deferred disciplinary suspension
- Record of academic dishonesty on your transcript and student record
- Disciplinary probation
- Disciplinary warning
- Issuance of a “Z Designation,” which indicates that you are in violation of the school's academic integrity policy
- Lowering of your grade
- Failing the course in which you are accused of cheating
Any sanction can harm your standing with UCF, prospective graduate schools, and prospective employers.
Actions That UCF Considers Academic Misconduct
The University of Central Florida specifically recognizes that online students face pressure to cheat. Its Online Assessment Resources states that there is “pressure associated with high stakes exams” that may make students “likely to engage in cheating behaviors.”
So, what are those cheating behaviors that online students may face expulsion or suspension for?
UCF’s Syllabus Statements list the following offenses as “Academic Misconduct”:
- Using “unauthorized” materials, study aids, or course-related materials to complete assignments
- Communicating course materials or information in an unauthorized manner
- Selling course materials
- Presenting another's work as your own
- Recycling a single work in multiple courses
There are many potential forms of academic dishonesty, and you probably know a violation when you see one. In some cases, however, the line between fair and foul can be blurry.
For example, you may face sanctions if you fail to submit your version of UCF’s Honorlock, which monitors online coursework, to the school's IT Department.
How Does the University of Central Florida Investigate Academic Integrity Cases?
Section 5.015 of UCF’s Student Academic Behavior Standards document explains what you are facing if you've been accused of academic wrongdoing.
The process goes as follows:
- An instructor files an Academic Misconduct Report (AMR) form
- The instructor discusses “proposed” action with the department chair
- The instructor notifies the student (you) within 10 business days of discovering the alleged violation
- The instructor meets with the student (you) to discuss the alleged violation and sends the final AMR report to appropriate bodies
At this point, you can choose to either accept or reject the instructor's allegations and proposed sanctions. If you accept, you will have to complete an Academic Integrity Workshop. You may also face a formal hearing and further sanctions.
Do Not Accept Responsibility or Sanctions Without Consulting Joseph D. Lento
Do not accept fault for any allegation of academic misconduct without first consulting the Lento Law Firm. UCF's faculty, department heads, and Office of Student Conduct are not your personal representatives. Be wary of their advice.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can advise you throughout your case, including the appeal of any judgments and sanctions against you. You have this right to appeal any decision of UCF's Academic Integrity Panel, and can do so based on the grounds that:
- The hearing process was unfair
- New evidence has emerged since your initial hearing
- The sanctions against you do not fit the alleged offense
You must file a written appeal request with the University's appellate officer within seven business days of receiving the initial decision. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will help you in any way that the University permits, including the filing of this appeal request.
Be Smart—Hire Joseph D. Lento for Your Academic Misconduct Case
Allegations of online academic misconduct are serious, treat them as such. The consequences of sanctions can be immensely destructive to your immediate and long-term future.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm team will fight for your rights. Call us today at 888-535-3686 to discuss how we can help.