The College of New Jersey outlines a rigorous academic integrity policy, and serious ramifications could follow if you are accused of violating it.The policy applies to all relevant conduct in or outside of the courtroom. If you are currently facing an accusation of academic dishonesty in some form, you are strongly advised to consult with a student defense attorney to review your options and better refute the accusation that has been leveled against you. The more informed you are as to the school's definitions and procedures surrounding the violation they've accused you of, the better off you will be in the situation at large.
Violations fall under the authority of the President of the College and the Board of Trustees, who delegate this authority to the Provost, who in turn delegates it to Chief Academic Integrity officer.
Within each school at the College of New Jersey, there is an academic integrity officer. The person in this role will field any and all questions about the application and interpretation of the academic integrity policy.
Academic Integrity Violation Procedure at The College of New Jersey
All suspected violations of the academic integrity policy will be handled as follows.
Complaint and Notification
A complaint may be filed by any member of the college community, including other students against one of their peers. Filing such complaints is a requirement for faculty members. All those who file are informed that the complaint will be shared with the student who is accused via email. Complaints are “submitted to the Academic Integrity Administrator in Academic Affairs via the Student Conduct software package Symplicity”
Investigation and Hearing
The Academic Integrity Administrator submits the complaint to the Academic Integrity Officer, who then conducts an investigation “including but not limited to discussion with the individual(s) who submitted the complaint, discussion with witnesses, and review of relevant documents as appropriate.” Students are not allowed to withdraw from the course in which the suspected violation took place while the investigation is going on. A hearing then takes place, or, in the case of potential expulsion or suspension, the case is referred to the All College Academic Integrity Board for a hearing. At the hearing, the charges will be discussed as will potential sanctions. The information pertaining to the hearing as well as the details of the charges will be made available to the student via their college email address.
Hearings are subject to considerable guidelines and provisions, not unlike the courtroom, which is why a student defense attorney will be indispensable to you as you fight the case. The Academic integrity officer may allow other witnesses/students to spark at the hearing to his or her own discretion. Advisors may not be physically present with the student during the hearing, but may consult with them in depth prior to it.
The student is within their rights to decline to provide information, written or verbal, during the hearing, although the school's policy explicitly states that the AIO may make an “adverse inference” if the student chooses not to speak or share information.
Hearings will be recorded, usually digitally. Deliberations will not, however, be recorded, and all recordings are the property of the school.
The Chief Academic Integrity Officer will field any questions concerning procedural confusion, the final decision will be the result of a majority vote from the board as to whether or not a violation has actually occurred. They need only conclude that it is “more likely than not” that the student committed the violation. This relatively low standard of proof means that may innocent students may be unjustly accused of academic integrity and still the violation go down on their record.
If a student fails to attend the hearing for an academic integrity violation, a decision will be made in their absence. They may also be assigned a grade of Incomplete in the class in which the violation occurred.
The student has a single opportunity to make an appeal against the decision. It must be made in writing, within 5 business days from the day the decision is issued. The student may challenge aspects of the decision, such as whether or not it was made without bias, in accordance with procedure, and whether the sanctions were appropriate given the nature of the violation.
New Jersey Student Defense Attorney
If you are presently facing one such accusation, you do not need to take the charge lying down. You are within your rights to seek out a student defense attorney to review the school's policies, procedures, and the case against you to look for discrepancies. Contact student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento if you have been accused to learn how he can help.