Academic integrity lies at the foundation of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The faculty senate created the statement of values to encourage academic integrity among UMBC community members.
All UMBC students must agree to this policy, which states that “academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.” Undergraduate students must also agree to the university's Honor Statement, which holds them accountable to high ethical standards in their academic work.
Since UMBC holds academic integrity in high regard, an academic misconduct charge can have significant consequences. If you face an academic misconduct allegation, you need to understand the stakes. In this article, we'll review the UMBC disciplinary process and what to do should you face an academic integrity violation.
Academic Misconduct at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
The UMBC Student Academic Conduct Policy describes academic misconduct and how the university addresses allegations. In general, academic misconduct refers to dishonest acts committed by students in their courses.
The university uses its discretion to determine whether academic misconduct occurred. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:
- Cheating. Using or attempting to use unauthorized material in an academic exercise. Examples of cheating include using unauthorized crib sheets or notes on an exam, working on an assignment with other students without permission, or copying from another student's test.
- Fabrication/falsification. Generating or altering data, information, results, or citations in an academic exercise. You cannot create research data, fake sources, or other fabrications to affect your coursework.
- Plagiarism. Representing someone else's words, ideas, or work as your own in an academic exercise. You must cite your sources to avoid plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include paraphrasing source material, submitting work done at least in part by someone else, or copying sources without using quotation marks.
- Facilitating academic dishonesty. Knowingly assisting or attempting to assist another student in committing academic misconduct. An example is helping another student cheat on an exam.
You can also face academic dishonesty charges for being untruthful in conversations with faculty members. Lying to your instructor about academic misconduct can lead to a new violation and additional sanctions.
Consequences of Academic Misconduct
Faculty members have the authority to take disciplinary action if they believe academic misconduct occurred. In less severe cases, they may choose to resolve the issue through informal means. For example, minor acts of plagiarism on a course paper may lead to informal disciplinary action. Your instructor may give you a warning, a zero on the assignment, or require you to complete additional work.
For allegations involving more serious offenses, your instructor will go through the formal disciplinary process. Academic misconduct can lead to course penalties, course failures, institutional penalties, and more. Your instructor will refer the case to the academic conduct committee to consider institutional penalties. An institutional penalty can have a long-term impact on your academic career. Examples of institutional penalties include:
- Probationary transcript notation of academic misconduct
- Permanent transcript notation of academic misconduct
- Suspension with a permanent academic misconduct suspension notation
- Expulsion with a permanent academic misconduct expulsion notation
Since institutional penalties go on your transcript, the university may disclose them to potential employers or other educational institutions.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County Disciplinary Process
Regardless of the severity of the alleged offense, UMBC requires faculty members to report violations to the academic misconduct reporting database. Faculty members may also consult with the academic conduct committee chair to determine sanctions.
A faculty member will send you an email about your alleged misconduct. They will also allow you to discuss the allegations in person. During the meeting, the faculty member will provide specific details regarding the incident and their proposed sanctions. The faculty member will then decide if the misconduct occurred and whether to implement the sanctions.
You have a right to refute accusations against you. If you feel you are innocent, you can request a disciplinary hearing before the academic conduct committee. You must request the hearing within fifteen days of your academic misconduct notification. The request must cite reasons for requesting the hearing and the results you wish to achieve.
The disciplinary hearing is a formal review of academic misconduct. You have many rights throughout this process. During the hearing, you can make statements, provide documents, call witnesses, and present evidence to dispute the allegations. You can also bring an advisor of your choice for assistance.
Once both sides present their arguments, the disciplinary panel will deliberate and decide your responsibility. If most panel members agree you are guilty, they will charge you with academic misconduct and enforce sanctions.
Why You Need an Attorney
Many UMBC students do not know what they're up against when it comes to disciplinary proceedings. Few students know how to take on the school and refute the accusations against them. Since an academic misconduct violation can greatly impact your life, you should do everything in your power to dismiss the charge.
Hiring an attorney gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome. A student discipline attorney understands the intricacies of the academic conduct procedures. They can ensure you hit deadlines, communicate with school officials, and comply with university rules.
An attorney can also assist you during your hearing. While they cannot address the hearing panel directly, their presence can make or break your case. An experienced attorney can challenge the school if they impede upon your rights or come to a biased decision. They can also help you appeal unfair decisions and push to achieve a positive result.
Don't leave your academic future up to chance. By hiring an attorney-advisor, you can set yourself up for success in your academic misconduct case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented thousands of students across the country in academic conduct investigations. He has the experience needed to take on university officials and fight for a favorable outcome. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.