Academic Misconduct


Beginning your academic journey in college means learning about plagiarism and the value of honesty in your work. Any college or university you attend will want you to be forthright regarding the academic product you submit as you advance toward earning your degree. The professors who are instructing you want you to understand how important it is for you to grow as a student and a person during your student years.

Understanding Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct applies to many different actions and behaviors. Although each educational institution may apply its own standards regarding academic misconduct, the following constitutes the definition of Academic misconduct:

  1. It is generally recognized that the basic definition of academic misconduct concerns dishonesty.
  2. Undermining the pedagogical systems of the college or university often constitutes academic misconduct.
  3. Any act or behavior that provides a student with an advantage is characterized as academic misconduct.

If you are a student, it is essential that you review your institution’s student code of conduct and the provisions regarding academic misconduct. The best place to search for this information is your school’s website. Also, the student handbook will likely contain information regarding academic misconduct. The following actions typically constitute academic misconduct at the majority of universities in the United States:

Violating Testing Conditions

Tampering with any of the physical testing conditions, or the circumstances under which a student sits for an examination, to produce any advantage for a student constitutes academic misconduct.

 Professional Standards, Honor Codes, and Ethics Violations

Transgressing any explicit provisions regarding the professional standards, honor codes, and ethics codes that regulate student behavior constitutes academic misconduct.


Students are expected to adhere to the instructions provided to them by school administrators, faculty members, and instructors regarding how they should behave when sitting for examinations and submitting assignments. The educational institutions that use the term “cheating” in their official student codes of conduct may apply the term to many different types of student behavior. The following are some of the most common actions that constitute cheating:

  1. Using unauthorized materials to complete an assignment
  2. Permitting any other student to plagiarize your academic work
  3. Plagiarizing another student’s academic work
  4. Submitting work in your name that was completed by another person
  5. Writing responses for an examination after you are told to stop

Cheating is an extremely serious allegation. Contact K Altman Law if you are facing allegations of academic misconduct.

Unauthorized Transmission or Receipt of Course Documents

Transmitting or receiving course documents without obtaining the professor’s permission constitutes academic misconduct. Course documents include tests, worksheets, examinations, lab assignments, and notes. The most common techniques for sharing course information include the following:

  1. Sending private recordings of course instructions, lectures, and review sessions
  2. Transmitting information through Canvas or Courseworks
  3. Emailing content to another student or receiving content via email
  4. Posting course documents to public forums such as Github, CourseHero, Slader, and Chegg


In the majority of educational institutions in the United States, plagiarism is the most common type of academic misconduct. Nearly all universities and colleges define plagiarism as using someone else’s ideas without properly citing that individual. Any type of failure to identify and acknowledge the source or author of the information a student uses may be construed as plagiarism. Under most student codes of conduct, it does not matter to the college or university whether the student intentionally or unintentionally committed plagiarism. Unintentional plagiarism is considered plagiarism. Citing sources and authors in the proper manner will help students avoid plagiarism allegations. It is important to review your school’s definition of plagiarism.


Using academic work that was submitted earlier in the student’s academic career, without the student seeking permission from the professor, constitutes self-plagiarism. Students need to understand how their universities and colleges assess self-plagiarism.


Providing anything of value, or a favor, to another person in an attempt to change a grade or academic evaluation, constitutes bribery. If you are accused of bribery it is important that you submit all evidence regarding the alleged bribery to your student defense lawyer early in your case.


Intentionally harming another student by damaging their academic reputation constitutes sabotage. The following actions are associated with academic sabotage:

  • Modifying a group project without informing the group members
  • Delaying or preventing other students from finishing assigned coursework
  • Disturbing other students as they complete research projects and examinations
  • Changing a fellow student’s research or data


Academic dishonesty is not limited to behavior exhibited in the classroom. Dishonesty extends to any applications or documents submitted to a university or college. Essentially, dishonesty concerns misrepresenting, forging, or falsifying information provided to the university or college. Some universities and colleges will limit this to documents that provide a student with some academic advantage. The following are some of the most common forms of academic dishonesty:

  • A third-party offering incorrect information on behalf of a student
  • Purposefully earning a low grade on a placement examination
  • Lying to university officials to be excused from assignments, examinations, or classes
  • Providing false information regarding academic research
  • Falsifying transcripts, academic records, and other documents
  • Providing inaccurate information on a resume

Facilitating Academic Misconduct

Providing assistance to another student who commits academic misconduct constitutes academic misconduct.

Disrupting Classrooms

​Behavior that disturbs other students and prevents them from completing their coursework typically constitutes academic misconduct. The following are the most common disruptive classroom behaviors:

  • Verbal abuse directed at students or the professor
  • Disrupting the course instruction
  • Talking excessively and distracting other students

Why You Should Take Academic Misconduct Serious?

Academic misconduct allegations are serious, and you need to focus on doing everything you can to defend your professional reputation. If you don’t stand up for your future, you may not be able to progress toward your career goals.
If you have an academic misconduct notation on your permanent academic record, it can result in:

  • Loss of admission to colleges and universities.
  • Ineligibility for scholarships and academic awards.
  • Loss of employment opportunities since future employers may also hesitate to hire you if they believe you are not trustworthy.

What Steps Should I Take If I Am Accused of Academic Misconduct?

Being accused of academic misconduct is a serious matter. Do not take allegations of academic misconduct lightly. The following are essential steps you should take once you receive notice that you are being accused of academic misconduct:

  1. Do not panic. It is in your best interest to refrain from communicating directly with the university. Do not make any admissions.
  2. Do not explain anything regarding the allegation to anyone except your student defense lawyer and your parents.
  3. Read the student code of conduct. You need to determine how the allegations you face are relevant to the student code of conduct. If you notice any inconsistencies between the allegations and the student code of conduct, take note of them.
  4. Create a timeline. Write down every detail you can recall associated with the actions referred to in the accusation. You should determine if you have access to any relevant text messages, recordings, photographs, and witnesses.
  5. Reach out to a student defense lawyer. Retaining a student defense lawyer is one of the best things you can do to protect your academic integrity and your future. An experienced and knowledgeable student defense lawyer can develop a case strategy and gather relevant evidence. By retaining a student defense lawyer early, you will have a better chance of resolving the matter in your favor.

Does an Academic Misconduct Charge Remain on My College Transcript?

If your school finds that you were involved in academic dishonesty, it may be entered on your transcript. Once entered, the notation will remain there. Even a minor violation may negatively impact your life. For instance, if you decide to transfer to a new school or program, your academic dishonesty finding is likely to follow you.

If your school doesn’t note the finding on your college transcript, you may still suffer consequences. For example, you may be asked by a prospective employer or another school official if you’ve ever been subject to disciplinary action. Or, an employment application may ask you to sign that you were never found guilty of academic dishonesty. Being untruthful on these applications is grounds for dismissal.

How Can a Student Defense Lawyer Help Me?

Retaining a student defense lawyer enables you to have the following advantage while dealing with academic misconduct.

  1. An experienced student defense lawyer understands how universities and colleges investigate academic misconduct.
  2. A skilled student defense lawyer will make sure the university or college is not transgressing its own policies and procedures.
  3. Retaining a student defense lawyer enables you to learn to present your version of the incident in a persuasive manner.
  4. A student advisor can often attend an academic misconduct hearing even if your university or college does not permit a lawyer to attend the hearing.
  5. A lawyer can help you understand your options for appealing a decision regarding academic misconduct.

Contact K Altman Law Today to Schedule a Consultation

If you are accused of committing plagiarism, contact K Altman Law today to schedule a consultation. The consequences of academic dismissal and academic probation can negatively affect your entire academic career as well as your future. We have decades of experience representing students accused of plagiarism. Contact K Altman Law today to learn more about the legal services we offer.

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