University of California, Berkeley Academic Integrity Advisor

Most students understand, in a roundabout way, that their academic achievements should be premised on integrity, honesty, accountability, trust, respect, and responsibility. Intellectual communities like the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) thrive when all members exhibit values that honor academic integrity and follow school regulations that help maintain academic integrity.

Academic integrity is all about how students achieve their academic endeavors. Much is to be expected of UC Berkeley students. A myriad of assignments, projects, exams, presentations, and more will test just how well students can manage their time and succeed despite being put under immense pressure. Unfortunately, the pressure may prompt some students to cut corners and ultimately act in ways that don't align with UC Berkeley's guidelines. It is these students who need a student defense attorney to represent them throughout their school's process.

The most unfortunate aspect of academic misconduct allegations are that they can be cast upon a student regardless of whether they purposefully violated their school's regulations, or did so unintentionally. Intent is not a factor in matters of academic misconduct. Therefore, students with pure intentions are found guilty of these charges, resulting in the jeopardization of their college and professional career.

The only way to take back control of your college career in the midst of accusations of academic misconduct is to enlist the help of a student defense attorney. In this article, we'll address how UC Berkeley defines and addresses academic misconduct and why you need the help of an attorney throughout your school's procedures.

How Does UC Berkeley Define Academic Misconduct? 

According to the UC Berkeley Code of Student Conduct, academic misconduct is defined as ‘any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community.”

Most people think of cheating or plagiarism when the topic of academic misconduct comes up, but it's a much broader concept. Here are some other examples of academic misconduct:

Interfering with course materials:

  • Removing, defacing, or deliberately keeping from other students library materials that are on reserve for specific courses.
  • Contaminating laboratory samples or altering indicators during a practical exam, such as moving a pin in a dissection specimen for an anatomy course.

Theft or damage of intellectual property:

  • Selling, distributing, website posting, or publishing course lecture notes, handouts, readers, recordings, or other information provided by an instructor, or using them for any commercial purpose, without the express permission of the instructor. (The University's policy about note-taking specifies several protections for instructor-authored content, including the content that you as an instructor develop, against distribution to people outside the course without the instructor's prior written consent, and against commercial profit by students.**)
  • Sabotaging or stealing another person's assignment, book, paper, notes, experiment, project, or electronic hardware or software.
  • Improper access to, or electronically interfering with, the property of another person or of the University via computer or other means.

Disturbances in the classroom can also serve to create an unfair academic advantage for oneself or disadvantage for another member of the academic community. Here are some examples that may violate the Code of Student Conduct:

  • Interfering with the course of instruction to the detriment of other students.
  • Disrupting classes or other academic activities in an attempt to stifle academic freedom of speech.
  • Failing to comply with the instructions or directives of the course instructor.
  • Phoning in falsified bomb threats.
  • Unnecessarily activating a fire alarm.

Providing false information or representation, or fabricating or altering information:

  • Furnishing false information in the context of an academic assignment.
  • Failing to identify yourself honestly in the context of an academic obligation.
  • Fabricating or altering information or data and presenting it as legitimate.
  • Providing false or misleading information to an instructor or any other University official.

Altering University documents:

  • Altering a previously graded exam or assignment for the purpose of a grade appeal or of gaining points in a re-grading process.
  • Forging an instructor's signature on a letter of recommendation or any other document.
  • Submitting an altered transcript of grades to or from another institution or employer.
  • Putting your name on another person's exam or assignment.

The Code of Student Conduct defines cheating for the UC Berkeley campus:

Cheating is defined as fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, or using or attempting to use materials, or assisting others in using materials, that are prohibited or inappropriate in the context of the academic assignment in question. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Copying or attempting to copy from others during an exam or on an assignment.
  • Communicating answers with another person during an exam.
  • Pre-programming a calculator or other personal electronic device to contain answers, or using other unauthorized information for exams.
  • Using unauthorized materials, prepared answers, written notes, or concealed information during an exam.
  • Allowing others to do an assignment or a portion of an assignment for you, including the use of a commercial term-paper service.
  • Submitting the same assignment for more than one course without prior approval of all the instructors involved.
  • Collaborating on an exam or assignment with any other person without prior approval from an instructor.
  • Taking an exam for another person or having someone take an exam for you.
  • Altering a previously graded exam or assignment for the purpose of a grade appeal or of gaining points in a re-grading process.
  • Submitting an electronic file the student knows to be unreadable or corrupted instead of a completed assignment. The student then has extra time to finish the assignment without penalty.

Plagiarism is defined as the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source. Some examples:

  • Copying passages from works of others into one's homework, essay, term paper, or dissertation, without acknowledgment.
  • Use of the views, opinions, or insights of another, without acknowledgment.
  • Paraphrasing another person's characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other rhetorical device, without acknowledgment.

UC Berkeley's Procedure for Mitigating Sexual Misconduct

Most cases begin with a complaint alleging that a student has committed an academic violation of the Code. Any member of the community may file a complaint with the Center for Student Conduct within 60 days of the date the reporting party knew or should reasonably have known of the alleged violation. 

Investigation of Misconduct

The Center for Student Conduct will conduct an investigation of complaints of alleged misconduct and determine whether sufficient information exists to proceed with a conduct process. If the investigators conclude that a student should be charged, a formal hearing may ensue.

Formal Hearing 

Hearings are not conducted according to formal rules of procedure and evidence. During the hearing, the student and instructor will choose one of the following methods for follow-up questioning: either (1) all follow-up questions are asked by the student and the Conduct Officer, or (2) all follow-up questions are submitted by the student and the Center for Student Conduct to the panel in writing as they arise during the course of the hearing. The standard of proof in hearings is a preponderance of evidence. A preponderance of evidence is defined as “more likely to be true than not.” The hearing body will also take into account the student's prior conduct record, if any, only for the purpose of determining an appropriate sanction unless the information is considered to be relevant to the charges.


Appeals must be addressed in writing to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs or his/her designee. An appeal must be based on newly discovered evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing, significant procedural error, or upon other evidence or arguments which, for good cause, should be considered.

Academic Integrity Advisor

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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