To say that the world of higher education is big on integrity is an understatement. Academic communities like the United States Naval Academy (UNSA) can only thrive when every member is fully committed to the principles of academic integrity. To ensure students reach their educational goals, the UNSA has enforced a number of rules that serve to preserve and maintain academic integrity in all scholastic endeavors.
Students who break these rules, knowingly or accidentally, will be accused of academic misconduct. Accusations of academic misconduct are serious and will be punished through the school's judicial system. Guilty determinations of academic misconduct have been known to jeopardize students' college careers and affect their professional lives down the line as well.
In this article, we'll address how the UNSA handles allegations of academic misconduct and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you through the process once accused.
How Does the United States Naval Academy Define “Academic Dishonesty?”
According to USNA's student handbook, academic dishonesty is any action that doesn't align with the school's academic integrity guidelines. The institution makes it very clear that academic dishonesty in any form will be taken very seriously. Some examples of academic dishonesty include:
Any work that appears with your name as the author on it is expected to reflect your own independent effort and judgment. This expectation of independence does not mean, however, that your work will be unrelated to the work of others. On the contrary, all scholars try to learn from each other to improve their own understanding and to locate their work within the larger work of their discipline and the academy generally.
Plagiarism also refers to a range of practices that contradict these norms. The word itself refers to the presentation of another person's work as if it were your own. Plagiarism in its most basic form means the use of someone else's words without proper credit, such as using quotation marks for a direct quote and using citations; however, the concept applies with equal force to other media, including pictures, graphics, mathematical calculations, and all other forms of intellectual or artistic expression.
To refrain from being accused of plagiarism, another person's distinctive ideas, information, or words must be cited. The length of the phrase doesn't matter. If someone else's words are worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential.
Cheating and Other Dishonest Conduct
The academy requires that all work that you present to faculty members for comment and evaluation, in all substantial respects, must be your own. It also requires that nothing be done to compromise the integrity of other students' work or the academic functioning of the department. Cheating and other dishonest conduct, such as offering another person's work as if it were your own, is categorically unacceptable.
Take-home examinations are used to allow appropriately complex problems to be incorporated into tests intended for advanced students. The principles governing academic integrity in the completion of such examinations are more stringent than those that apply to research papers or master's theses. Unless told otherwise, students must complete take-home examinations without help from anyone. They are not allowed to discuss ideas, methods, arguments, or conclusions with other people, including people unconnected with USNA, until after the examination is submitted for grading.
It's important to note that a student's ignorance of relevant rules and policies is no defense in the event of an infraction. Students are wholly responsible for knowing and following the rules, academic conventions, and standards relating to academic integrity.
The United States Naval Academy's Procedures for Handling Academic Dishonesty
Faculty members are given wide discretion to judge the academic work of their students. If a faculty member is under the impression that a student has violated academic integrity regulations, they have two options: (1) assign a grade that reflects their view that the work was done inappropriately, or (2) refer the matter to the judicial board.
The academic process at USNA may entail the following stages:
- Bringing a complaint to the office of student conduct
- Resolving a complaint by mediation
- Investigating a complaint
- Filing charges by the university against a student
- Resolving charges by voluntary agreement to sanctions
- Resolving charges by a disciplinary hearing
- Appealing the decision of a hearing panel
- Imposing sanctions on a student
- Fulfilling sanctions imposed by the university
Based on the severity of the violation, disciplinary action can include informal counseling, a failing grade on a test or paper, failing a course, the denial of a graduate degree, documentation in your officer performance report, and other non-judicial punishment.
A respondent may appeal the judicial board's findings of responsibility and/or recommendation of sanction(s). An appellant must submit any appeal to the appeals board within 10 days after the judicial board has rendered its opinion. The appeal must state in detail the specific grounds upon which it is based.
Academic Integrity Attorney
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 for more information at 888-535-3686.