Rice University, much like most other higher education institutions, strives to maintain academic integrity because it's the cornerstone of intellectual environments. Students who are accused of violating the university's rules regarding academic integrity will be accused of what's known as “academic misconduct.” This charge will put your academic and professional career in jeopardy and will be an uphill battle to fight.
Being a college student at Rice University is undoubtedly stressful. You're likely assigned tons of homework, exams, projects, and presentations, forcing you to either sharpen your time management skills and adapt or struggle with completing it all. Unfortunately, the struggle to keep up with studies is the number one culprit behind academic misconduct charges.
In this article, we'll address how Rice University defines and handles academic misconduct, as well as why you need a student defense attorney to represent you throughout the school's processes.
How Does Rice University Define “Academic Misconduct?”
Everyone who enrolls at Rice University is to abide by the Honor Code, which covers matters such as plagiarism, cheating, giving or receiving aid on exams, etc. Any action that doesn't align with the Honor Code is considered “academic misconduct.” Since the range of behaviors that constitute academic misconduct are so broad, here are some examples of actions that fall under the category of academic misconduct.
- Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work or preventing, or attempting to prevent another from using authorized assistance, material, or study aids. Example: using a cheat sheet in a quiz or exam, using a cell phone or other technology to obtain or share information during an exam, altering a graded exam and resubmitting it for a better grade.
- Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in an academic exercise. Example: gaining or providing unauthorized access to examination materials, obstructing or interfering with another student's efforts in an academic exercise, lying about a need for an extension for an exam or paper, continuing to write even when time is up during an exam, destroying or keeping library materials for one's own use.
- Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment. Example: copying another person's paper, article, or text from a website and submitting it for an assignment, quoting someone else's ideas without attribution, failing to use quotation marks where appropriate.
- Facilitating academic dishonesty: knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate any provision of the Code. Example: working together on a take-home exam.
- Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise. Example: making up data for an experiment, fudging data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving sources.
- Multiple submissions: submitting, without prior permission, any work submitted to fulfill another academic requirement.
- Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with or attempting to tamper with any portion of a student's transcript or academic record, either before or after coming to Rice University. Example: forging a change of grade slip, tampering with computer records, falsifying academic information on one's resume.
Misconduct can occur in any academic situation including, but not limited to, a course research project, independent study, presentation, qualifying examination, preliminary examination, or dissertation.
Rice University's Honor Council Procedures
The Honor System was designed to adjudicate all instances of alleged academic misconduct. The process of adjudication entails several phases: the accusation, the investigative meeting, the hearing, and appeals.
An accusation made by a faculty member will be referred to the Honor Council. The Council recognizes that a significant delay in reporting the suspected misconduct may reduce the availability of evidence which is crucial to the Council's ability to reach a fair and informed decision. The decision to terminate a case due to delays in making the accusation or submitting evidence rests with the Chair, in consultation with Student Judicial Programs.
The chair can decline to proceed with a case when: 90 or more days have passed between the date of the suspected academic misconduct and the date the reported accusation is submitted to the Honor Council, or 60 or more days have passed between the submission of the reported accusation to the Honor Council and the presentation of requested or relevant evidence for adjudication.
If none of these stipulations are met and there's a chance the accusation is validated, an investigative meeting will ensue.
The Investigative Meeting
There are three goals that should be met through an investigative meeting:
- To make the accusation known to the accused student;
- To review the position of the accused student under the Honor System; and
- To determine whether or not enough evidence is available to decide at a hearing if a violation has or has not occurred.
On receipt of an accusation, the Presiding Chair shall instruct the Secretary, or their designee, to appoint two members and an investigator to serve on an Investigating Committee as specified in the Honor System. The investigator's purpose is to find all pertinent information for a particular case - both information supporting and refuting the accusation.
The investigating committee will request a written statement from the accused student which represents the accused student's account of the events in the accusation. This statement will henceforth be considered as evidence. If the Investigating Committee deems a hearing necessary, the Presiding Chair shall set the time and place of the hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted in such a manner that the facts of the case may be ascertained and a just decision reached, but shall at no time violate the rights of the accused student or the integrity of the Honor Council and the Student Body. The Honor Council must recognize its unique duty to investigate and adjudicate accusations as an unbiased and neutral body.
The order of hearing procedures is as such:
- The Honor Council convenes and the accused student is brought before the Council and introduced to each member of the Council
- The matriculation pledge and rights of the accused student are read by the Clerk.
- The position of the accused student under the Honor System is reviewed with them.
- A signed copy of the accusation is presented to the accused student. All evidence will be presented to the accused student, with identities disclosed.
- The accused student shall enter a plea of “In Violation” or “Not in Violation.”
- The accused student may make an opening statement to the Council.
- The Council may question the accused student.
- The accused student may make a closing statement, during and after which the Council may not question the accused student further.
After all evidence and testimony have been received the Council shall reach a decision. Council members will vote on whether or not a preponderance of the evidence supports that a violation has occurred and whether or not a preponderance of the evidence supports that the accused student is “In Violation” of the Honor Code. The verdict shall be given upon completion of the case via the Honor Council website. The name of the accused student shall not be published.
An appellant will have five business days from the day of the verdict to submit a written statement to the Appeals Panel that explains his or her grounds for appeal.
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.