On the spectrum of serious violations at Saint Joseph's University, committing academic misconduct is pretty high on the list. Throughout the course of your life, you've likely sat through countless lectures about the significance of exercising integrity, honesty, and respect when it comes to your own respective academic works and more importantly, the work of others.
The consequences of exhibiting actions contrary to these principles were much more lenient in grade school than the ones now imposed by colleges and universities. When actions of academic misconduct once warranted a warning or a phone call to your parents, it didn't seem as daunting. Now, being found responsible for academic misconduct can jeopardize a spot in your degree program, the continuance of your education, and the achievement of your professional goals.
It may not come as a surprise that the vast majority of students pinned with academic misconduct charges were oblivious to what they did wrong. Some students may be misinformed as to what constitutes this violation, or may have made a genuine mistake in the process of completing an assignment. The unfortunate reality is that institutions do not consider your intentions when assigning responsibility. A guilty determination is based on what was turned in, and if it constitutes academic misconduct. Whether you made a genuine mistake, or were unaware that what you were doing was wrong, is irrelevant.
This is why it's important for you to understand what you're up against. Recognizing the severity of your situation, and the potential sanctions that could be imposed will help you make wise decisions. For students facing serious ramifications and value the investment they've made in their education at Saint Joseph's University, their degree program, and the state of their academic record, hiring an attorney experienced with such matters is a definite step in the right direction.
To help you get a comprehensive understanding of your school's processes, the following provides an overview of Saint Joseph's academic integrity policy, and the institution's processes for mitigating these matters.
Saint Joseph University's Academic Integrity Policy
According to Saint Joseph's code of conduct, acts of academic dishonesty can arise in two settings: (1) in formal courses and (2) outside formal courses. The code proceeds to mention the common types of dishonest actions that occur in each setting.
In formal courses
- Cheating on tests, quizzes, reports, papers, assignments etc.
- Plagiarism: using information, concepts, or language of another without acknowledgement of the source (proper citations and attributions)
- Fabricating or falsifying sources for papers and reports, or data and results for lab reports
- Submitting the same paper or report in more than one course without the permission of the instructors involved
- Unauthorizedly collaborating on an assignment
- Soliciting an act of dishonesty
Outside formal courses
- Removing, concealing or damaging library material
- Altering or falsifying official university records
- Using academic equipment or facilities without authorization
- Recording, using, or selling lectures and other instructional material without authorization
Although I've laid out core terms and examples in regard to what constitutes academic misconduct at your school, you should make the time to read your school's code of conduct yourself. Knowing the ins and outs of your school's processes will give the you advantage of knowing what to expect, and how to prepare for a favorable outcome.
Any students who has allegedly engaged in any act of academic misconduct must be notified within 10 days of the conceived suspicion. In ideal cases, the student is to be notified in a meeting, however, any means of notification must be considered confidential. An instructor must inform a student of the type of violation (in formal courses or outside formal courses), his or her intention of submitting a complaint, and allow the student to give an explanation pertaining to the alleged misconduct. If an instructor decides to proceed with the process after hearing an explanation, what happens next is determined by the type of violation
Violation In formal courses
For a violation in formal courses, a faculty member must request an investigation. Throughout the investigation process, an instructor, the student in question, and any relevant witnesses will be required to give their side of the story. This is the perfect opportunity for respondents to explain themselves and provide evidence that supports their side of the story. If a finding affirms an instructor's suspicions of guilt, the instructor will have two choices: give the student a grade of “0” on the test or assignment, or give the student an F for the entire course.
Violation outside formal courses
For violations outside of formal courses, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will decide the final of responsibility. An investigation will also be conducted in this phase, also entailing an interview of all relevant parties. If the Vice President of Academic Affairs decides that a student is guilty, he or she will impose an appropriate sanction.
A guilty determination may be discouraging, but it doesn't have to be the end of the road for a student. A request for an appeal can be made for a school to reconsider its prior decision. Remember, this request won't be granted due to mere dissatisfaction. It must be based on substantiated grounds that are deemed “reasonable” to your school's Academic Honesty Board. You can appeal your case to the board if you believe that:
- The charge is unsubstantiated;
- The decision of guilty was procedurally unfair; or
- The sanction was disproportionate with the offense
An appeal must be submitted in writing with one or more of these grounds within seven days of notification of a guilty determination.
Pennsylvania Student Defense Attorney
Academic misconduct allegations should not be taken lightly. For students with prior charges, or are involved in a serious case, a guilty determination could warrant a program withdrawal, academic suspension or even expulsion from an institution. In order to secure your academic and professional future, you should contact a skilled student defense attorney.