Skip to main content
Online Misconduct

What to do if your professor accused you of online misconduct or cheating online

By May 20, 2020April 6th, 2022No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of the learning environments for our students into remote and distance learning. They’re all in remote classrooms. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen an uptick in accusations that students have engaged in online misconduct, or distance learning misconduct.

How does this typically happen?

All the exams now are being done virtually. They’re not in the classroom anymore. And a lot of times with closed book exams, a student faces an accusation later that there’s something suspicious, and the school thinks that they’ve cheated by going online, collaborating with others and/or some other violation of the honor code regulations during that exam.

What should be my first reaction to being accused of cheating online?

It’s not difficult to imagine. You’re home, doing all your classes remotely, and you take an exam. Then, you hear from a professor or from the school that they think you’ve cheated.  You’re probably scared and shocked.  You may want to immediately respond to the professor hoping you can “explain it away.”  Don’t make that mistake.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t be in a rush to respond. A lot of students think they have to hurry up and respond — that any delay makes them look guilty. That’s wrong. A hasty decision is a bad one.
  2. Don’t try to handle it yourself. School rules about academic misconduct are complicated, and having it be an online allegation makes it even more complicated. You need some good, experienced advice.  We encourage you to speak with your family so they can support you and help with decisions about hiring an advisor like us but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you and your family can handle this on your own.

Hiring someone who can help

Sadly, a lot of times, our team at DC Student Defense doesn’t get contacted until it’s too late, and the student has already been found responsible.

So make sure you get the right advice at the right time. All too often students or even their families try to take care of things themselves. But by the time the school has contacted you, it’s really too late to nip it in the bud.

Shanlon Wu has ample experience in defending college students accused of all kinds of misconduct and crimes. Contact his office today for a consultation.

These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

More posts by Shan Wu
Skip to content