When accused of academic dishonesty at Seton Hall University, you face potential expulsion among a host of other penalties, depending on the severity of the offense you have been accused of. Each school/department within the university contains its own specific policy explaining the definitions and penalties you face when an instructor, fellow student or other school authority has accused you of academic misconduct. The Student Code of Conduct, in its discussion of academic integrity explicitly states: Each college or school within the University may choose to have its own definitions, standards, and policies relative to academic dishonesty and/or academic integrity. It shall be the decision of the appropriate Academic Dean as to which process to refer any matter under such policy.
Across the board, each department identifies cheating and plagiarism as distinct offenses that would warrant penalties. Some departments go into greater length and detail regarding the nature of the offenses they penalize. To access specific information about the definition of cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty in the department in which you have been accused, consult the department/major's unique policy on the topic. Some departments also penalize the facilitation of suspected acts of cheating/plagiarism, such as allowing a student to copy one's own work.
You may feel exceptionally nervous about the future of your academic career when you have been accused of this type of offense. To quell your doubts and uncertainties moving forward in the process, you are strongly advised to retain a student defense attorney to defend you against the misconduct allegation and its associated penalties.
The more informed you are as to the procedures for handling academic misconduct, the better your position is going forward. The less you know, the more likely you are to make a statement that could work against you or be construed as an admission. Alternatively, you will know if there are any discrepancies between the way the accusation has been handled thus far, and the proper procedure that is "on the books."
Seton Hall University Academic Integrity Violation Procedure
Seton Hall's academic misconduct disciplinary procedures are unique in the aspect that faculty members are encouraged to provide ample opportunity for collaborative resolution. Not many institutions approach disciplinary procedures in such a diplomatic fashion.
Department Decision Process
Any faculty member who feels that a student has committed an academic integrity violation must first confer with that individual in an attempt to resolve the question to the satisfaction of both parties. If it is appropriate, a department chairperson may also be present to affirm an instructor's concerns. Should these measures fail, the dean of the college will schedule a meeting for a face-to-face mediation session.
Face to Face Mediation Hearing
An objective party, known as a mediator, will be assigned to this session. The role of the mediator is to moderate the discussion and assist in resolving the dispute before a formal hearing ensues. The mediator should be concerned with protecting the rights of each party and ensuring that the problem is solved and freely accepted by both parties. Respondents can consult with an advisor before the terms of the resolution are finalized and signed.
In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, or either party wishes to pursue a grievance hearing, a memorandum detailing this mediation failure will be sent to both parties and the appropriate dean.
Formal Grievance Hearing
A hearing gives a respondent a chance to defend themselves. During a hearing, a respondent, complainant, and witnesses will be prompted to testify before the college grievance board. Once all sides are heard, the board will deliberate and come up with a determination of either "responsible" or "not responsible." The hearing will proceed in the following order:
- Opening statements
- Presentation of grievance, including witnesses and documents
- Cross-examination of presenting party
- Questions from hearing committee
- Presentation of second party to dispute
- Cross-examination of second party
- Question from hearing committee
- Review of evidence
- Closing statements
- Closed deliberation by hearing committee
Within 14 business days of the mailing action, respondents are entitled the right of appealing the decision of the committee. This appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:
- manifest injustice of the action: burden of proof of such injustice shall rest with the appealing party and must be included in the appeal
- procedural errors: a violation of the rights of the appealing party must be stated and commented on in the appeal
- additional evidence: the appealing party must display that substantial additional evidence bearing on the case could not have been properly introduced at the college/division hearing or has been discovered or developed since the time of the hearing, and is crucial to the resolution of the grievance.
New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize your academic and professional career, especially if the violation leads to a suspension or expulsion. If you are a college student who attends a college or university anywhere in the country and are facing these allegations, you need adequate representation. Student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has dedicated his entire career to helping students in this predicament overcome their charges by prevailing in hearings and other parts of the disciplinary process. He has the skills and expertise to do the same for you. Contact him today.