The demands of achieving good grades can be overwhelming to college students. Balancing sleepless nights, friends, work, and family can make completing assignments impossible. Your friend offers you an assignment they once used, or you see an ad for a website that will write you an assignment for you to turn in, plagiarism free of course. In that moment it seems like a good idea, you are stressed to the max and getting it done yourself just isn’t an option. You take it from your friend or you buy it, you turn it in, and breathe a sigh of relief. However, your professor runs the assignment through a plagiarism checker like Turnitin.com and it comes up as a match to another assignment. You get a dreaded e-mail that you need to meet with them. You go to the meeting, and the professor wants you to admit to plagiarizing. They promise to just fail you for the assignment or give you a grade reduction. Is this a good deal? What should you do?
As a lawyer for college students, I always tell my clients the following:
Be cautious of admitting to plagiarism at the professor’s request.
Students are sometimes offered a deal in exchange for a letter of apology, reduction of grade, or failure of assignment. I have seen these letters then used against the student in formal academic disciplinary hearings. Before accepting a “deal,” find out from the professor if they are the final decision-maker on the issue. Not all schools allow professors the authority to authorize a backroom deal. Once the issue is “settled” between the professor and student, the professor may still report the issue to the academic integrity office. If this happens, the student could face must worse sanctions.
Just because you are accused of plagiarism, or documents say you did, doesn’t mean you plagiarized
Great students with impeccable records can be falsely accused of plagiarism. You have the right to defend your record against these allegations. Do not let a professor scare you into taking a deal. I have heard of pushy professors demanding a confession in return for a “deal,” much like a used car salesman. I have heard that professors state the offer will expire if they leave their office without an admission. This all places a great deal of pressure on a student in a very serious situation.
Read your school handbook and know your student rights
Take time to think about your options. You are typically given notice of a meeting and must schedule it with the professor. You should never walk into such a meeting unprepared. If you did knowingly plagiarize, build your defense proactively. Do not be ambushed in a meeting. Also, consider hiring an experienced lawyer for college students to craft your defense.
You typically only get one chance at success. Make it the best you can.
I help students all over the country fight accusations of cheating, plagiarism, and failing grades. By working together to craft the best defense possible, you will be given the greatest chance at success. I also attend university hearings with students to support them during this very stressful event. Typically, a panel of students and staff will question the student. The presence of a lawyer for college students will help the student keep calm and focused to refute accusations while keeping the hearing fair and honest. Give me a call today. I offer free consultations and fair prices to help students keep their record clean and stop a suspension or expulsion from school. (855) 388-5299 Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer offering student advising services nationally. Call today for a free consultation and see how The Education Lawyers will fight for you. Click here to read what clients are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.