If you are facing allegations of academic misconduct at UCLA, you might be concerned about the implications. Or, you might not be worried at all. However, if you don't understand the gravity of the allegations, you might act too late. It's important to understand that academic misconduct allegations can follow you after you graduate. They can impact employment opportunities where jobs want to see your academic record; they can impact applications to graduate schools; they can even affect your ability to get clearance.
What Warrants Academic Misconduct At UCLA?
UCLA considers all forms of academic dishonesty to be serious offenses. Their Student Conduct Code explicitly defines cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, multiple submissions, facilitating academic dishonesty, coercion regarding grading, and unauthorized collaboration. Additionally, the Student Conduct Code outlines offenses such as selling course materials or notes. Although the school outlines these offenses clearly, the code also states that academic (or research) misconduct includes the above but is not limited to them.
What Steps Should You Take If Accused of Academic Misconduct At UCLA?
If your instructor accuses you of academic misconduct at UCLA, there are several steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome. Whether or not the allegation surprises you, you should act to protect your best interest and your future that's at stake. Here are a few easy ones to follow.
It's easy to panic when your professor reaches out, or you receive a notice of a reported incident. It's of utmost importance that you stay calm as you approach the case. Don't react rashly. Instead, consult with your parents and consider reaching out to an attorney-advisor to assist you.
Research potential attorney-advisors.
A seasoned attorney-advisor will have extensive experience supporting other students facing similar charges. While each school has its own unique process, an attorney-advisor can help you craft a strategy for how to navigate UCLA's procedures.
Gather all documents that are potentially linked to your academic misconduct allegations. For example, if the offense cites plagiarism, make sure to collect your sources for your assignment, like notes, bibliographies, websites, etc. Also, keep track of any communication from your school that might offer insight into your case. This might include things such as emails or communication from your professor or TA. You can share all of these documents with an experienced attorney-advisor. They'll be able to evaluate which documents might strengthen your case and which evidence might weaken it.
Review UCLA’s Student Conduct Code
Sections 102.01-102.01g describes UCLA's policies surrounding Academic Misconduct. Section 102.23a-b details unauthorized use or sale of academic materials and course notes. Take notes around which sections might apply to your specific situation. If you're curious about the Student Conduct Procedures, you can read through the overview we have written on this page. It's also wise to at least skim the university's specific policies, which are covered in III A-F. Doing so will help you understand the various avenues available throughout the proceedings, as well as the specific timeline requirements you might face.
Don't discuss your situation with anyone at UCLA
Although you might want to discuss your circumstances with your friends, or even a mentor at the school, it's important that you refrain from doing so. If you need to discuss the allegations, speak with your parents, friends who have no connection to the school, or to your attorney-advisor. It's possible that if you speak with someone at the university, they may be called as a witness.
What Happens When There's An Investigation?
Once the Dean receives a report of alleged academic misconduct, they will begin an initial investigation. The Dean will examine the material and decide whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed with the Student Conduct Process. An accused student will receive a notice outlining the alleged academic misconduct as well as the specific policy that was allegedly violated. The student must respond within five days to schedule an initial meeting with the Dean. If the student doesn't do so, a Hold may be placed on their University records. The hold prevents students from registering, obtaining transcripts, and completing other administrative tasks.
When the student and the Dean meet, the Dean will ensure that the student understands all of the components of the alleged incident. If the student acknowledges engaging in the academic misconduct, then the Dean may provide a Letter of Admonition or Impose Sanctions. Alternatively, if there is not enough evidence for a “preponderance of evidence,” the Dean may conclude there was insufficient information. If the student does not take responsibility for the academic misconduct, then the Dean will refer the case to the Student Conduct Committee for a hearing.
What Are Potential Sanctions At UCLA?
If the university deems that a student's behavior violates the academic misconduct sections of the Student Conduct Code, then the student may receive one of four potential sanctions, or penalties. First, the student may receive a warning. This warning will indicate that further violations will result in more severe disciplinary action. The second possible penalty is disciplinary probation. Disciplinary probation may impact a student's ability to participate in extracurricular activities, such as sports teams. Another possible sanction is deferred suspension or deferred dismissal. Both of these are for specific lengths of time, and during the deferred suspension or dismissal, the student must complete any assigned conditions that the Dean outlined. Finally, the Dean may impose either suspension or dismissal. If a student receives their degree from UCLA, and then is found to be responsible for academic misconduct or fraud, the Dean of Students may submit a recommendation of revocation of their degree to the appropriate parties.
Selecting An Attorney-Advisor For Your Academic Misconduct Allegations
An experienced attorney-advisor can guide you through the procedures at UCLA as you attempt to navigate the Student Conduct Code and the possible sanctions. Joseph D. Lento has dedicated years to helping students receive their due process, and he is passionate about fighting for their rights. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to learn about how we can assist you.