As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, you agreed to uphold the student honor code, which specifies you will “uphold academic integrity.” If you or a loved one is facing an allegation of academic dishonesty, you may have already begun the investigation process. When you've worked to get to college, it's important not to throw away all the effort that's gotten you there in the first place. UT Austin takes academic dishonesty very seriously and, in fact, states on their website: “Engaging in dishonest behavior is simply not worth the risks of jeopardizing your academic career and gambling with your future!”
What Are Potential Consequences For Violations?
At the University of Texas, Austin, there are several potential consequences for academic dishonesty. They can be categorized into three main components. The first is a grade related sanction, such as a loss of a grade for the assignment, or the course you are enrolled in. The second potential consequence category is a status-based sanction. Examples of these would be academic integrity probation, deferred suspension, suspension, and expulsion. Finally, the third category is educational sanctions. Educational sanctions involve activities such as completing a reflective assignment or attending a workshop. It's possible that the imposed penalties may include a combination of these, or an individual one. The penalty will depend on the disciplinary process and outcome (which is detailed below)
What Is Included As Academic Dishonesty at UT Austin?
Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities describes in detail what merits an academic offense at the University of Texas Austin. According to Section 11-402 b, “'academic dishonesty' or “scholastic dishonesty” includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, misrepresenting facts, and any act designed to give unfair academic advantage to the student or another individual (such as, but not limited to, submission of essentially the same written assignment for two classes or courses without the prior permission of the instructor), or the attempt to commit such an act.”
11-402 goes on to more explicitly describe what is included for cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and misrepresentation. Unauthorized collaboration falls under collusion, for UT Austin, and aid or assistance falls under cheating. Other potential academic dishonesty includes providing false grades or resumes to the University and “providing false or misleading information in an effort to injure another student academically or financially.”
If you're interested in reviewing the specific details about what UT Austin lists, take a look here and then use Command +F to search for “academic dishonesty.” That will be the simplest way to review the exact regulations.
How Can I Understand UT Austin's Disciplinary Process?
The Office of the Dean of Students has a handy outline that offers a brief overview of the process. However, it's important to refer back to Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules for the official information.
According to the Institutional Rules, the Student Conduct Board is responsible for conducting hearings in academic dishonesty cases. The Student Conduct Board is “composed primarily of students, who along with faculty and/or staff, are appointed by the president.” Before a case goes to the Student Conduct Board, however, there are a few other steps. You can find these steps listed in Subchapter 11-500 Disciplinary Procedures.
First, the dean of students conducts a preliminary investigation. The dean may dismiss the allegation if the evidence is lacking, or they may either proceed administratively or prepare a complaint. The two paths are chosen depending on the circumstances of the alleged academic misconduct. It's important to note that this section of the Institutional Rules also outlines separate procedures for Scientific Misconduct or Misconduct in Other Scholarly Research and for investigations where the student is enrolled in the Dell Medical School. If you fit into either of these categories, make sure to review the listed information.
If the dean chooses to proceed administratively, then there are several components to that process. First, if the student doesn't dispute the allegations, then the administrative decision is considered final, and there is no appeal available. Second, if the student disputes the facts, the dean will allow the student to meet with the dean and provide evidence. At this point, the dean will assess whether the preponderance of evidence supports the finding that a violation did, in fact, take place. If so, the dean will choose sanctions, and the student may appeal the finding of the violation and the sanction. A student has five days to do so once they receive “notice of the administrative outcome.”
Disposition by Faculty Member
Now, what if the case never got to the dean of students? Well, that's a possibility as well. If a faculty member suspects a student, they may report them to the dean, or they may meet with the student themselves, according to Sec. 11–505. “Disposition by Faculty Members of Academic Violations.”
A student can admit to the allegations and waive their right to a hearing. If they do so, they must sign a form, along with the faculty member. If a case is resolved this way, the student may be placed on academic integrity probation for up to a year.
Finally, “In cases where the proposed sanction is suspension, including suspension of rights and privileges, academic sanction or expulsion, the accused student may elect to have the charges heard and determined by either a hearing officer or, in cases of academic dishonesty or general misconduct, by a panel of the SCB.” The SCB will hear the case and, by a majority vote, make a decision. This decision will include finding whether or not a violation occurred, as well as deciding on any possible sanctions. Section 11-600 details the Hearing more explicitly.
If you've been charged with academic dishonesty at the University of Texas, Austin, don't wait to speak with an attorney-advisor. An experienced attorney advisor can help you understand the regulations and how to best navigate the process while protecting your future. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a consultation at 888.535.3686 or contact us online.