According to the dictionary, sabotage is simple: It refers to “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt.” In an academic setting, the action becomes a bit more complicated. College campuses and other higher-education environments can inspire an atmosphere that is charged with competition. In some cases, when professors grade on curves or when a student knows that there are few options for advancement, students can feel that academic achievement is a zero-sum game.

If this is the case, one student may sabotage another to boost their own accomplishments. Sabotage is an example of academic misconduct, and most institutions will punish any saboteurs they can catch.

However, sabotage can be sneaky to suss out appropriately. Investigations related to sabotage can be rife with false accusations and slander. If you believe that you face false accusations of sabotage, or if you are the one who has experienced sabotage, you should reach out to an experienced academic misconduct advisor for further guidance.

What are the different types of sabotage?

Northern Illinois University offers a beneficial set of resources for understanding academic misconduct. Among their guides is a comprehensive list of actions that fall under the definition of academic sabotage. You'll want to check your university's code of conduct for further information, but examples of sabotage may include:

  • Any destruction of another person's schoolwork or project materials, which may include design specifications, artwork, data, any documents (physical or digital), and more
  • Failing to do your part when you are part of a team with the expectation of a collaborative effort
  • Failing to share crucial information with others on your team or otherwise, particularly when there is an expectation that you share this information
  • Publicizing information about another person's project that is private or proprietary
  • Manipulating, misplacing, or otherwise disturbing any equipment or materials that belong to another person or group
  • Planning to accuse another person or group of academic misconduct, when that accusation is false (particularly if you conspire with other persons to do so)
  • Taking action to damage, spy upon, or wipe clean another person's digital equipment, such as cameras, phones, computers, hard drives, or more
  • Taking property that belongs to someone else, even under the guise of ‘borrowing,' with the specific purpose of delaying that person's necessary academic work
  • Damaging property that belongs to the school (such as library books or laboratory equipment) so that no other student can do their projects properly

As you can see, the definition of sabotage can be vague. There are many actions that your accuser (and your school) may consider sabotage. To work towards a favorable outcome, you will need to consult with an experienced legal advisor. Doing otherwise will leave you vulnerable to punitive measures, which may be extreme.

What Consequences Generally Accompany Proven Sabotage?

If you stand accused of this particular type of academic misconduct, you may be wondering precisely the punishments you can expect. This will depend largely on the specific actions that allegedly took place. As most schools consider sabotage a serious infraction, you may face dramatic punitive measures.

Since this is the case, it's a good idea to contact an experienced code of conduct or academic misconduct legal team as early as you can in your school's grievance process. Your legal aid will be able to help you protect yourself through any disciplinary hearings or investigative measures that your school holds in order to mete out justice.

The consequences you face will be specific to your academic institution. However, there are common punishments that you may expect. These can include the following sanctions:

  • Placement on academic probation, with likely follow-up meetings to maintain orderly conduct for several months
  • In-school or out-of-school suspension
  • Expulsion from your school
  • Resultant difficulty obtaining admission to any other school
  • Immediate reduction of personal and academic reputation
  • A letter or citation in your disciplinary record
  • Loss of internship opportunities
  • Reduced employment opportunities, whether at school or after graduation
  • Loss of privileges while you are still at your academic institution
  • Loss of any academic honors you may have accrued
  • Loss of any scholarships, academic or sport, that you may have earned

These are extremely significant risks. Many of these consequences will directly affect your ability to earn a degree or successfully begin your career. That's a lot to have at stake. For precisely this reason, if you face academic misconduct proceedings for alleged sabotage at your school, you must reach out to a misconduct advisor without delay.

What are the Benefits of Retaining an Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor?

When you first experience disciplinary proceedings at your school, you may experience surprise when you realize how quickly even your favorite teachers seem to turn against you. Once you are going through academic misconduct procedures, you are officially in a state of opposition to your school.

Your school, even if it has afforded you every opportunity in the past, will work to protect its own interests in a student discipline hearing. To protect its reputation, your school administrators may feel inclined to side with your accuser.

If you're able to hire a knowledgeable attorney-advisor, you'll be more able to hold your school accountable for a fair trial. You'll be in a much better place to protect your rights.

Joseph D. Lento is Ready to Help You Fight For Your Rights

If you believe that one of your professors, school administrators, or fellow students has done something wrong, you need to work towards protecting your rights. Fortunately, you don't have to do this alone. Joseph D. Lento has been working alongside students nationwide for years—protecting rights, ensuring due process, and challenging unfairness in academic settings. Joseph D. Lento will help you understand your school's rules, prepare for any meetings and investigations and hearings, and assist you with the mitigation of unwarranted consequences. Call the Lento Law Firm today for more information about how we can help at (888) 535-3686.

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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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