Were you taking an exam and peeked over at your neighbor’s test paper? Did you bring a cell phone or smart watch to use during the exam? Did you write notes on your hand or arm? If you got caught cheating in college, you could face serious consequences. What happens after you are reported for cheating? Read on for then answer from a lawyer for college students.
Cheating on a test can be called many things – unauthorized assistance, unauthorized collaboration, honor code violation, the list goes on.
Whatever phrase your school uses does not matter – you have been accused of cheating in school.Getting caught cheating in college is serious. A school can expel them for cheating. If you are expelled from school, you will face the consequences for a long time. You may have trouble being accepted to another university, or face difficulty applying for a professional license like a teaching, medical, or law license.
What happens next if I got caught cheating?
The answer to this question depends on your university. Student’s must check the student handbook under the disciplinary section for the progression of an academic integrity violation.On average, I see the following steps when a student is caught cheating:
- A meeting with the professor – students will have the opportunity to meet with the professor to discuss what happened. The student may bring evidence to defend themselves, but rarely does the process end with the professor.
- Filing of academic misconduct charges – The professor will take their information and file paperwork with the academic integrity office claiming you cheated. At this point, the process is no longer with the professor, it has been turned over to a new department.
What happens when my professor files paperwork with the academic integrity office?
Once paperwork is filed with the academic integrity office, they will investigate the accusation of cheating. They will contact the student and ask if they want to defend themselves against the charge of cheating. The student has two options at this point:
- Accept responsibility and take the sanction – this could be as minor as a letter of warning or as serious as suspension or expulsion from school.
- Fight the cheating charge – this means that the student will have the chance to defend themselves in front of a panel of people who will decide the student’s fate. This may sound intimidating, but I believe that in many situations, it is the student’s best option.
Why should I go before an academic integrity hearing panel?
Having the chance to fight the academic cheating charge can be successful for the student. While the process can be stressful, several things that help the student may be uncovered in this process. I have seen schools fail to follow their own policies, fail to retain evidence against the student, not have enough evidence to hold the student accountable for the charge, and so on.
Does a student have to go before an academic integrity panel by themselves?
No. Depending on the university, they allow advisors to be present during the hearings. This advisor may not be able to speak in the hearing, but they can pass notes to the student. Having an experienced college student discipline advisor is a huge benefit to students going through this process.
Recommendations from an experienced college student discipline lawyer
Hire an experienced lawyer immediately
The academic cheating investigation and hearing process is a time limited. A lawyer experienced with college student discipline may be able to help a student out of the situation with no punishment or even negotiate a reduced punishment.
Bring an experienced college student defense lawyer to the honor code violation hearing
Schools may be more agreeable to reducing a disciplinary sanction if a lawyer is present. An experienced college student discipline lawyer can help you make the best arguments possible, make sure that that the school follows its policies and procedures, make legal arguments and even advocate on the student’s behalf.
Can you help all college students?
Yes. I advise students all over the country facing academic integrity hearings. By working together to craft the best defense possible, you will be given the greatest chance at success. I also attend hearings as a legal adviser with students to support them during this very stressful event. The presence of a lawyer experienced with academic integrity hearings will help the student keep calm and keep the hearing fair and honest.
You get only one chance at success. Make it your best.
Richard Asselta is an award-winning lawyer for college students who offers student defense services to students throughout the United States. He is experienced in defending all types of student disciplinary issues including all academic integrity charges. Call The Education Lawyers today for a free consultation and protect your future. (855) 338-5299 Click here to read what clients are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.