Higher education institutions in South Dakota have their own set of rules referring to academic integrity. Of course, these rules vary depending on the school, but at the core of each policy, schools promote honesty and responsibility in all scholarly endeavors.
When an institution suspects that you have somehow violated its academic integrity policy, you will be required to undergo the disciplinary process. This process generally entails an investigation and/or hearing to determine if you are “responsible” for the action you were accused of.
If your school has determined that you're responsible for academic misconduct, here's some good news: you have the right to appeal. I've provided all the information you need to know about academic appeals and the appeals process. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to contact the Lento Law Firm today.
What is an Academic Appeal?
An appeal is a letter that challenges the validity of a school's adverse disciplinary decision. When an appeal is filed, a panel is responsible for reviewing the initial decision and your reason for why this decision is unjust. Then they will conduct a hearing to ultimately decide if there is a valid reason to affirm your appeal and reverse or reform the decision.
When is it Appropriate to Appeal?
You should appeal if you are sure that you didn't do what you've been accused of. As an attorney who has taken on the role of an appeal advisor for many students, I've seen it all. From faulty plagiarism detection software to a professor who misjudged the entire situation. You shouldn't have to be labeled a cheater and experience repercussions for something you didn't do. This is why the appeals process exists. An additional reason to appeal is if you agree with the determination but feel the sanctions are too harsh. The severity of a sanction should be proportionate to the action you committed.
You should not appeal if you have already admitted in some capacity that you did what you were accused of. If you're appealing to provide an explanation as to why you did what you did, it's going to fall on deaf ears. Being unhappy with a determination isn't enough to justify an appeal in the eyes of an appeals panel. There must involve an element of injustice.
Here are some other circumstances that aren't relevant when it comes to appealing:
- You did not realize you were violating your school's policies
- Other students did what you did, but didn't get caught
- You were under stress when the incident transpired
- Your professor didn't tell you it was against school policy etc.
Keep in mind that the question of why a violation occurred doesn't matter in the appeals process. The only thing that matters is whether or not a violation occurred. The exception to this important consideration is if, at the applicable college or university, an appeal can be submitted to argue that a sanction is overly severe or disproportionate to the offense. In such an instance, an appeal can potentially mitigate the outcome.
The Appeals Process
Different schools have different appeals processes, and the following is one example of what may take place when academic misconduct charges are made against a student:
Filing an appeal means writing a letter to your professor or faculty member's dean to explain why you have been falsely accused. This letter should be clear, concise and very detailed. During this point in the process, an attorney-appeal advisor can prove to be useful, especially if you don't feel your writing skills are up to par. An advisor can help you draft a letter that is convincing enough for a panel to schedule a hearing.
Depending on your school, a panel made up of faculty members and staff will conduct the hearing. You should prepare to make a statement, present evidence, and answer questions posed by the panel. After hearing all the facts, the panel will deliberate and make a decision.
If the panel agrees that you did not violate your school's policy, all penalties will be reversed. But if the panel feels that you did break the rules, your case will be turned over to the college dean, who will handle it from there on.
South Dakota Academic Appeal Advisor
Being falsely accused of academic misconduct in South Dakota can throw a wrench in your plans to graduate. When your college or university makes a decision that hinders your academic progress, you have every right to appeal. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully helped a wide range of students in all stages of their educational journey prevail in the appeals process. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 to get back on track.
- Augustana College
- Black Hills State University
- Colorado Technical University Sioux Falls
- Dakota State University
- Dakota Wesleyan University
- Globe University Sioux Falls
- Kilian Community College
- Lake Area Technical Institute
- Mitchell Technical Institute
- Mount Marty College
- National American University Ellsworth AFB Extension
- National American University Rapid City
- National American University Sioux Falls
- Northern State University
- Oglala Lakota College
- Presentation College
- Sinte Gleska University
- Sisseton Wahpeton College
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- South Dakota State University
- Southeast Technical Institute
- University of Sioux Falls
- University of South Dakota
- Western Dakota Technical Institute
Regrettably, an academic misconduct finding of responsibility can derail an accused student's academic and professional goals and some students and parents do not recognize this concern until it may be too late. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct charges, in addition to the short-term consequences such academic and disciplinary sanctions, there will be long-term consequences. Internships, graduate school opportunities, and employment opportunities can all be adversely impacted by a finding of responsibility.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to properly address such concerns as early as possible in the disciplinary process. There are times, however, that it necessary to appeal an adverse outcome, and Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges in South Dakota and throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in South Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected at all stages of the academic misconduct disciplinary process, including the appeal stage - Contact National Academic Misconduct Advisor Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.