The State University of New York at Stony Brook, commonly referred to a Stony Brook University, is a hub of academic excellence and world-class research. As an internationally recognized institution, Stony Brook University holds its students to high academic standards.
Stony Brook University considers intellectual honesty “a cornerstone of all academic and scholarly work.” The university takes allegations of academic dishonesty seriously. Students who commit academic dishonesty must undergo a rigorous investigation. If the university determines they are guilty, student consequences range from failing grades to expulsion.
An academic dishonesty violation can negatively impact your standing at Stony Brook University and other institutions. Here is what is at stake during disciplinary proceedings and how an attorney-advisor can help you through this process.
What Does Stony Brook University Consider Academic Dishonesty?
Stony Brook University's Academic Integrity Policy defines academic dishonesty as “any act, which is designed to obtain fraudulently, either for oneself or for someone else, academic credit, grades, or other recognition, which is not properly earned.” In general, academic dishonesty refers to actions that adversely affect another's grade, misrepresents one's academic status, or diminishes the status of students or the university.
The following list includes examples of academic dishonesty forbidden by Stony Brook University:
- Cheating on exams or assignments by copying another student or using unauthorized aid
- Two or more students colluding or helping one another on exams or assignments without permission
- Taking an exam in someones place, or having another student sit for your exam
- Plagiarizing someone else's work on an assignment without proper citation
- Falsifying documents or records to impact credit, grades, or status
- Altering a graded exam or paper to request a grade change
- Modifying, stealing, concealing, or destroying course instructional material
- Preventing relevant material from academic evaluation
- Presenting fabricated excuses for missed assignments or tests
- Unauthorized use of someone else's clicker to falsify attendance records
- Unauthorized use of cell phones, calculators, translators, smartwatches, and other electronic devices during exams
Penalties for Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty violations can result in severe sanctions. Although the consequences depend on the circumstances and type of infraction, Stony Brook University follows set guidelines for sanctioning.
Students typically received an F for the course in which the violation occurred. The minimum penalty for academic dishonesty is a zero on the assignment involved. Students may also face suspension or expulsion when violations involve premeditation and other serious offenses.
Students found responsible for academic dishonesty also receive a Q grade for their course. This grade goes on the student's academic record and signals that they violated academic integrity policies. To remove the Q from their record, students must attend an academic integrity course. The course includes one-hour meetings every week for ten weeks during the semester. Upon completion of the course, the university will replace the Q grade with a penalty grade.
Students who commit multiple academic dishonesty violations face additional sanctions from the Academic Judiciary Committee. Students with two or more violations face suspension, expulsion, a permanent notation of academic dishonesty on their record, and a permanent Q grade for all courses in which they committed academic dishonesty.
How Stony Brook University Investigates Academic Dishonesty
Students accused of violating the academic integrity policy must attend an Academic Judiciary Hearing. The hearing panel includes a five-person board of appointed faculty and staff.
During the hearing, the individual reporting the violation will make a statement summarizing the facts of the case. The student accused of academic dishonesty then makes a statement responding to the allegation. The student and board can call witnesses, present evidence, and bring forth relevant information to support their arguments. It's important to be truthful throughout the hearing. Students who present false evidence or false statements face additional charges of academic dishonesty.
Students also have the right to utilize an advisor. Although the advisor does not have speaking privileges during the hearing, they can guide the student and provide counsel.
After reviewing the evidence, the board will either find the student “responsible” or “not responsible” for academic integrity violations. The board must reach a majority decision and use the “clear and convincing” standard of evidence when making their decision.
The Stony Brook University Academic Integrity Policy presents the following as examples of “clear and convincing” evidence of academic dishonesty:
- A dramatic change in writing style
- Possession of notes, electronic devices, or other prohibited material during an exam
- Observed communication between students during an exam
- A great degree of similarity among assignments
Challenging Academic Dishonesty
Stony Brook University provides students with several different avenues to challenge academic dishonesty. Students may appeal academic dishonesty accusations by writing the Academic Judiciary Office within two weeks of receiving a violation notification. The student will then meet with the Academic Judiciary Office to discuss the accusation, integrity policies, and procedures.
Students can also appeal decisions made by the Academic Judiciary Committee. They must write to the committee within two weeks of hearing the committee's decision to file an appeal. To file appeals, students must present new evidence or identify procedural errors that impact their case.
If you face academic dishonesty charges, you must take steps to fight back. You must take advantage of your right to use an advisor. A student defense attorney can help you challenge accusations, prepare for your hearing, and file appeals.
Although you have many options for an advisor, selecting an attorney gives you the greatest chance of success. A lawyer can coach you on how to respond to questions and present your defense to the hearing panel. They can also recognize procedural errors and evidence that is crucial to the outcome of your case.
Your Academic Dishonesty Advisor
Stony Brook University students sometimes must fight an uphill battle when facing academic dishonesty accusations. A single violation can lead to course failure, suspension, expulsion, and other severe consequences. Most importantly, you do not have to fight alone.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you take control of your academic dishonesty case. For many years, he has advocated for student rights and achieved many dismissals and other successful outcomes. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.