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What to Do if You Receive an Academic Integrity Violation

Alec Rose Law Office March 11, 2022

Friend Comforting to A Sad Student with Failed ExamUniversities and colleges in California and across the United States often establish academic integrity codes that students must adhere to. It is typically against the school’s code of conduct for students to plagiarize, cheat, fabricate results, or misuse academic materials. Since March 2020, at least 11 universities and post-secondary institutions across the country have reported widespread violations of academic integrity. Any student suspected of violating any academic integrity code of conduct could be facing severe sanctions. An experienced California criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about what to do if you receive an academic integrity violation.

For more than 25 years, the Law Office of Alec Rose PC has been providing experienced legal guidance and reliable representation to students of higher education institutions across California, including UCLA, The Claremont Colleges, Cal-Tech, and UC Davis, in their academic integrity violation cases. As your legal counsel, I can investigate every detail of your case thoroughly, gather evidence, and craft an effective defense strategy to pursue the most favorable outcome for your unique situation. My firm proudly serves clients across Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Santa Ana, and Ventura, California.

Understanding Academic Integrity Violations

An academic integrity violation occurs when a student is suspected to have violated any of the school’s academic integrity codes. Such violations may include:

  • Plagiarism

  • Cheating

  • Fabrication and falsification of evidence or results

  • Misrepresentation of academic records

  • Stealing or destroying academic materials

  • Complicity in academic dishonesty

  • Multiple submissions

  • Facilitating academic dishonesty

  • Violating professional ethics rules

  • Violating applicable health and safety rules

Once the faculty or school administration receives a report regarding an academic integrity violation, a panel will be set up to investigate the matter.

Investigation of the Violation

A panel of decision-makers composed of faculty members, school staff, and students will be established to review the facts of the alleged incident and investigate the matter. The committee members will gather facts and information regarding the violation of academic integrity that you have “committed.”

Furthermore, you will receive a notification letter stating that you have violated academic integrity. The letter may also contain additional instructions. Upon receiving the notification letter, you must contact the appropriate authority to schedule an appointment to discuss the alleged violation.

Typically, you will have a set time to respond to the notification – a specific amount of days – to meet with higher staff members (the dean) about the violation. If you have received a notification letter for an alleged violation of academic integrity, you need to reach out to an experienced attorney right away for proper guidance.

Meeting With Staff Members About the Violation

During your meeting with staff members about the alleged violation, you will be presented with evidence showing how you made a violation. Upon reviewing the evidence, you can choose to request another meeting. Actually, the only rules that apply are those outlined by the school. Nonetheless, you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. An academic integrity hearing may be scheduled to allow you to present your case and determine whether you are innocent or guilty of the alleged violations.

Possible Outcomes

There are three possible findings in the judgment of the decision-making panel. These include:

  • No violation occurred

  • Insufficient evidence to support the alleged violation

  • Guilty, there was a violation of academic integrity

If no violation occurred or there is insufficient evidence, the case may be dismissed. If you’re found guilty, you will receive different sanctions or discipline. A skilled attorney can enlighten you about the possible sanctions and gather factual evidence to help you defend yourself during the academic integrity hearing.

Possible Sanctions

Depending on the violations, the potential sanctions that may be awarded for violating the academic integrity include, but are not limited to:

  • A letter of reprimand

  • Reduced or failing grade

  • Disqualification for academic honors

  • Suspension for one or more quarters

  • Revocation of an awarded degree

  • Permanent exclusion from the university

  • Notation on the official transcript

  • A combination of any of the sanctions above

A skilled attorney can enlighten you about your options if you are accused of a violation of academic integrity and determine the best defense to avoid any possible sanction or discipline.

Your Options if You Are Accused

If you are found guilty of an academic integrity violation, you may be eligible to appeal the panel’s decision. In order to appeal, you must write a notice of appeal with the following information:

  • What is being appealed

  • A comprehensive description of the appeal grounds

  • Any supporting evidence or material that you would like the appeal committee to review

  • Any proposed witness

  • The nature of the evidence that will be presented by the witness

The appeal committee will review your appeal, allow you to present your case at the appeal meeting, and make a decision. A knowledgeable attorney can help draft your appeal, prep you extensively on how to present your case, and improve your chances of the best possible outcome.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You

U.S. colleges take academic integrity violations seriously. Being found guilty of academic integrity violations could result in devastating sanctions that could potentially jeopardize your personal reputation, education, quality of life, and future opportunities. Therefore, if you’ve been accused or charged with an academic integrity violation, it is important that you retain an experienced academic dishonesty attorney immediately for proper guidance and to build your defense.

At the Law Office of Alec Rose PC, I have the experience, diligence, and resources to guide, defend, and represent college students who have been wrongfully accused of academic integrity violations. As your legal counsel, I will help you understand your present situation and conduct a thorough, private investigation.

Using my in-depth knowledge, I will identify core arguments for your case, write opening and closing statements, and coach you intensively for your hearing. Depending on the school’s regulations, I can advise you or represent you diligently during the proceedings. I will work intelligently to protect your best interests and help you avoid or minimize the consequences of your allegations.

The academic integrity process is unique to every university. Contact my firm – the Law Office of Alec Rose PC – today to schedule a simple case assessment with a skilled academic integrity lawyer. I can offer you the experienced legal guidance, advocacy, and reliable representation you need during your academic integrity violation proceedings. My firm proudly serves clients across Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Santa Ana, and Ventura, California.