Like all colleges in New Jersey, the Stevens Institute of Technology holds academic misconduct very seriously. As a result, they spend ample time in their Undergraduate Student Handbook outlining the issue and laying out how misconduct allegations are treated by the institution. These allegations are aimed to be resolved quickly, though the appeals process that is available can lengthen this process significantly.
Having a solid attorney on your side throughout this process can be the best way to ensure that your rights as a student are protected, and your future as a professional preserved.
Reports of Misconduct
Instances of academic misconduct or impropriety that could potentially run afoul of the Student Code of Conduct can be reported by anyone at the Stevens Institute of Technology through the Public Reporting Form.
These reports are received by both the Dean of Student as well as the Office of Residence Life, and are resolved by the offices depending on the location of the reported incident and its severity: The Office of Residence Life handles reports that allegedly occurred at residence halls—both those on campus as well as those located off campus—while the Dean of Students or its designee handles allegations of incidents that happen elsewhere, or that could result in suspension or expulsion from the university.
When it comes to a report of alleged academic misconduct, therefore, it is the Dean of Students at the Stevens Institute of Technology that will be the one to receive the incident report.
Once the report is received, the student conduct process is initiated to investigation the claim of misconduct.
Investigation by the Honor Board
Once the Dean of Students receives a report of academic misconduct by an undergraduate, the Stevens Honor Board gets involved. This Board is a collection of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, organized into a small group of student board members, a larger congregation of general members from the student body, and a few advisors from the Institute's faculty and staff.
After receiving the allegation of academic misconduct, the chair of the Stevens Honor Board—one of the students on the Board—will appoint two or more of the other members to an Investigating Committee that is tasked with looking into the report. This Committee will investigate the report by reviewing the evidence—documentary or otherwise—and conducting interviews with all of the people connected with the incident, all while trying to keep the investigation confidential and discreet.
Early on in the process, the Investigating Committee will notify the student who is being accused of academic misconduct, and will provide the accused an opportunity to present their case and provide an explanation of what happened. Alternatively, the student being accused can sign a confession statement, admitting to the claim that the Committee is looking into and moving the process straight to the sanctions stage within a period of five days.
Results of the Investigation
When the Investigating Committee wraps up its investigation, they will reach one of two conclusions. Either they have enough evidence to proceed to the next step, or they do not.
If they realize that they do not have sufficient evidence to support the claim of a violation of academic misconduct, the Investigating Committee will drop the case and notify the accused student that no action will be taken.
However, if the Committee decides there is enough evidence to warrant further action, a hearing will be scheduled.
The Misconduct Hearing
The misconduct hearing will take place within ten days of the closing of the investigation. The student being accused of academic misconduct can decide whether the hearing will be closed or whether to have it open to the other members of the Stevens Institute of Technology.
The Honor Board Chair mediates the hearing, and the case is presented to a jury of six Stevens students. First, the Investigating Committee reports the findings of their investigation, calling any witnesses necessary to present its case. Once this is done, the accused student can present his or her case and call witnesses. Any witness called by one side can be questioned by the other.
After hearing the proceedings, the six-member jury needs to come to a unanimous decision. If they decide that the misconduct was not done, the charges are dropped and the case is closed. If they determine that there was misconduct, then the Honor Board proposes a sanction that the Dean of Students must approve.
Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
Sanctions for academic misconduct range from having to provide community service all the way up to expulsion from school. Some instances of academic misconduct are severe and drastically impinge on a student's integrity, which the Institute takes very seriously.
The Appeals Process
Students who are found guilty in the hearing can request an appeal. Students can appeal the result of the hearing by sending a letter to the appropriate contact in the Office of Undergraduate Academics within 14 days of the hearing. This letter needs to lay out the reasons for the appeal and, if granted, will be forwarded to the Academic Appeals Committee for further action.
Student Discipline and Academic Misconduct Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Throughout this process, having an attorney on your side who understands how hearings work and the types of evidence that it will take to convince others that you are right is absolutely critical. Especially if you are involved in a serious accusation of academic misconduct, the sanctions that are at hand can cripple your future, even before you leave school to enter the professional world.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands this, and works tirelessly to fight for your rights, interests, and future both in and out of the hearing room. By hiring him to defend your interests, you show that you are serious about your claims and are not willing to let others dictate you future for you.