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STUDENT STORIES

Academic Misconduct

 

Student with one year left to graduate, third academic offense, facing one year suspension 

Our client was accused of academic misconduct at the end of the fall semester before his last year in school. As this was his third academic misconduct offense, our client was facing the possibility of a one-year suspension from his public university. Our client received a letter informing him that his suspension would begin immediately, i.e., in the following spring semester, with an opportunity to appeal. Our team read the university’s code of conduct rules and identified a technicality that allowed our client to continue attending classes during the appeal process. The appeal did not occur until two months after the spring semester already began. Without our team’s thorough reading and understanding of the university’s rules and code of conduct, our client would have been a month behind other students. Due to a violation of his due process rights, our client had the negative notation on his transcript removed, and the academic violation was erased from his student record. 

Small Public Research University, Rocky Mountains Area 

Student accused of academic dishonesty twice in one semester, both instances reversed 

Our client was found in violation of his university’s student code of conduct late into the fall semester of the final year of his undergraduate career. Upon receiving notice of our client’s suspension, we worked with him to appeal the severity of the sanction based on his ADA-based disability, which was a significant factor for his behavior. Working closely with our client’s family, we successfully reduced his sanction, and our client was still eligible to graduate after the spring semester. In his spring semester, there was a second finding of academic dishonesty, which was a more difficult fight. But we were resilient and persistent about ensuring that the university would accommodate our client’s disability according to the ADA and section 504 laws. Ultimately, our client was found not guilty of this second honor code violation, and he had the opportunity to graduate with the rest of his class. 

Small Private Liberal Arts College, Southeastern US 

Three levels of appeal to obtain justice for an honest mistake 

An international student was facing academic discipline and dismissal from her nursing program for allegedly falsifying her clinical hours. Our client accurately reported her meetings with her preceptor as clinical hours according to her preceptor’s instructions. However, as this was not according to the university’s policy, our client was accused of violating the student code of conduct. She was near the end of her nursing program and only needed one more clinical rotation to graduate when the school dismissed her. We worked with our client through three levels of appeal until we successfully proved the school’s responsibility for our client’s inaccurate clinical hours. She reported the meetings as clinical hours in good faith and without any unethical intent. Our perseverance and dedication through the multiple appeals ended in success for our client, who was able to return to the program, finish her clinical rotation, and graduate. 

 Small Public University, Southeastern US 

Two students accused of cheating, only took one month to overturn the dismissal 

Our clients were accused of academic misconduct on a nursing school exam. The two students studied together every day. For this particular exam, one of the students received approval to take the exam early. After completing the exam, she studied with her usual study partner, who had not yet taken the exam. However, neither student discussed the subject of the exam that one of them had already completed. The school accused both students of academic dishonesty, gave both students a grade of zero on the exam, and dismissed both students from the nursing program. Over the span of a month, we helped both students to write the memos and letters the school required to consider their case. Both students had their dismissals overturned, their grades reinstated, and returned to the nursing program. 

Small Private University, Midwestern US 

International student at risk of deportation after academic misconduct charges 

Our client was an international student, pursuing her doctorate degree while also pursuing a master’s degree. As an international student, our client was an English-Language Learner and had no previous experience with the citation format required by the school. She received allegations of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) and falsification of her credentials via social media. Having already received two previous academic misconduct charges, our client was facing dismissal from her program and the possible revocation of her student visa. Over the course of six months, we worked with our client to clarify the situation and ensure that she would not lose her academic progress nor her visa. We identified key details in the student handbook which demonstrated that our client did not self-plagiarize because she had explicit permission to use her coursework toward completing her thesis. We also worked with the relevant committee to provide our client with the necessary instruction and support to remediate any citation issues from other plagiarism charges. Our client received her desired outcome so she could continue to pursue her doctoral and master’s degrees. 

Small Private Graduate Research University, Western US