In the current era, as students of all ages are forced to take their classes online, new issues of academic misconduct have been surfacing across the country.
But oftentimes students accused of these new types of online misconduct are innocent, and sometimes they don’t even know how their actions could be interpreted as wrongdoing.
That’s why we’re providing these 5 basic tips for students accused of online academic misconduct.
1. Do not respond to the charges without consulting a lawyer
The first and most important tip to keep in mind if you’ve been accused of cheating or any other type of online misconduct is to not respond to the claims immediately.
Many people are tempted to attest to their innocence, but doing so without consulting an attorney can just lead to more complications down the road.
Wait to respond to the accusations until you have spoken with someone who has worked on these types of cases before.
2. Hire a student defense lawyer
Contact a student defense lawyer as soon as you hear about your accusations.
If you and your family wait too long to contact an attorney, or even try to take care of the accusation yourselves, it may hurt your case.
Be sure to choose an attorney with experience defending college students who have been accused of misconduct and crimes and knows how to handle these types of cases.
3. Take a look at your school’s Code of Conduct
You should already be familiar with your school’s Code of Conduct, but once you receive an accusation, it’s important to review it.
Take a look at what your school considers academic misconduct, as well as the consequences you may be facing. Chances are, the Code of Conduct will spend a great deal of time talking about cheating and plagiarism, which is what students are most commonly accused of.
Note: Specifications regarding online misconduct may or may not be included in your student handbook, as many rules regarding online and other technology-heavy coursework are only just being developed currently.
This is important to keep in mind for your case, as well as any information or guidelines your professor sent out at the beginning of your online course.
4. Document the alleged incident of academic dishonesty
Keep track of all important evidence regarding the accusations against you.
This type of information should include:
- Evidence regarding the alleged incident: The paper where you were accused of plagiarism, email exchanges with fellow students or professors, or anything else you believe is relevant to your case.
- The accusation itself: How were you accused? In an email from your professor? Officially by the school? Make sure you have this accusation on hand.
- Syllabus and professor’s guidelines: Keep all cheating and misconduct guidelines from your professor handy.
- School’s Code of Conduct: Now that you’ve reviewed the Code of Conduct, mark any places where it may be helpful or important for your case.
5. Keep your case to yourself
Do not make the mistake of discussing your case with your professors, classmates, or even close friends. The fewer people you discuss your case with, the better.
And certainly don’t discuss your case on social media.
DC Student Defense is here for you
If you are accused of any type of academic misconduct, our student defense legal team is here for you. We will do our best to work to clear your name and ensure your education suffers as little as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our student defense lawyers.
These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.