University of California, Santa Barbara Academic Misconduct

The University of California, Santa Barbara is one of ten universities included in the prestigious University of California system. UCSB requires students to uphold standards set forth both by the university and UC administrators.

UCSB students who violate academic conduct rules face sanctions that threaten their academic and professional careers. Academic misconduct is a serious charge that can result in suspension and permanent expulsion from UCSB. If you're a UCSB student accused of academic misconduct, you must know what you're up against. In this article, we'll review UCSB's academic misconduct policies and how to fight back against allegations.

What Does UCSB Consider Academic Misconduct?

The UCSB Student Conduct Code outlines the university's academic misconduct policy. All work submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student's original work. UCSB considers cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, grade tampering, and other dishonest acts, violations of academic integrity. Academic misconduct is subject to disciplinary action.

The UCSB Student Conduct Code provides the following examples as forms of academic misconduct:

  • Looking at another student's exam
  • Using unauthorized notes during an exam
  • Having another student take an exam or submit a paper for you
  • Using another's words, ideas, or concepts without attribution
  • Fabricating information on university forms or course work
  • Selling or distributing course lecture notes or audio/video recordings without permission

How Does UCSB Respond to Academic Misconduct?

UCSB investigates all alleged academic misconduct violations. The Office of Student Conduct director or staff members will review the charges and decide whether a violation occurred. Before making a decision, the investigator will interview the complainant, witnesses, and the person accused of misconduct.

During this initial investigation, students have the opportunity to accept responsibility for the academic misconduct violation. Students who do not dispute charges face a maximum of 10 quarters of suspension.

You should not accept responsibility for academic misconduct without consulting with an attorney first. Once UCSB imposes a sanction, you waive your right to a hearing and appeal. You must also accept the designated sanction without an opportunity to amend it. An attorney can help you review your options, prepare a defense, and work to reduce possible sanctions.

What is USCB's Disciplinary Hearing?

If you dispute academic misconduct charges, USCB will hold a formal disciplinary hearing to review the allegations. A committee will review evidence in your case and interview relevant parties, including witnesses. They will make a recommendation to the Office of Student Conduct, who will make a final determination.

The disciplinary hearing provides you with an opportunity to defend yourself. During the disciplinary hearing, you can provide evidence to help your case. You can also produce and question witnesses. UCSB will email you within five working days to inform you of their decision. They will also send letters of sanction within fifteen working days, informing you of any punishment.

You can fight back against sanctions by filing an appeal in writing within ten working days of receiving a letter of sanction. Appeals can reduce or eliminate sanctions from a disciplinary hearing. The UCSB Student Conduct Code provides the following grounds for an appeal:

  • Lack of substantial bases of fact to support the sanction
  • Incongruity of the sanction with the offense
  • Unfairness in the proceedings
  • Newly discovered evidence not known at the time of the hearing

What Is the Punishment for Academic Misconduct at UCSB?

Students found guilty of academic misconduct face numerous consequences. When determining sanctions, UCSB weights both the context and seriousness of the offense.

If the disciplinary committee determines you committed academic misconduct, you may encounter any of the following sanctions:

  • University warning - A written notice of violations of university policy.
  • Disciplinary probation - Restrictions on privileges or eligibility for activities for a specified time.
  • Loss of privileges - Exclusion from participation in extracurricular activities for a specified time.
  • Suspension - Temporary termination of UCSB student status with the possibility of reinstatement. Students may not transfer or register for courses at another University of California campus during the suspension.
  • Dismissal – Permanent termination of UCSB student status. Readmission to any University of California campus requires the approval of the Chancellor.
  • Revocations of Degree — The Academic Senate can revoke degrees obtained by fraud.
  • Holds — UCSB can place holds on requests for transcripts, diplomas, and other student records sent to third parties.

Student Rights in Disciplinary Hearings

Although a university disciplinary hearing might seem intimidating, UCSB does afford students certain rights throughout this process. UCSB grants students the right to procedural due process during disciplinary proceedings. Students must receive written notice of their charges within a reasonable time of the hearing, a record of the hearing, and the right to an appeals process.

The UCSB also bears the burden of proof. They must make hearing decisions based upon the preponderance of the evidence. Following this rule, the university must prove there is a greater than 50 percent chance that academic misconduct exists to punish the student. The UCSB Student Conduct Code also states that findings may be invalidated if “deviations from established procedures significantly affected the result.”

How an Attorney Can Help

You don't have to fight academic misconduct allegations on your own. The UCSB allows students to be accompanied by an advisor or attorney during disciplinary hearings. Attorneys can provide you with assistance that is instrumental to your case's success. Not only can they collect evidence and witnesses, but they can coach you and help you prepare for your hearing.

An attorney can also use their legal acumen to identify any procedural errors by the university. They can file an appeal if the university infringed upon your rights or made a biased decision. Many students have no experience with formal hearings. Attorneys will use their valuable experience to get you the best possible result in your case.

Your Student Discipline Attorney-Advisor

Did the UCSB accuse you of academic misconduct? You must take steps to fight back. Failing to challenge academic misconduct charges can result in steep consequences that affect you for years to come. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent many years defending students across the nation. He has helped to reduce and eliminate academic misconduct charges for countless clients. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.

Contact Us Today!


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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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