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:
- 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.
- 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.