Being accused of cheating on an online test or assignment is the last thing a student wants to hear from their professor. In fact, false accusations of academic misconduct may have long-lasting effects on your educational life. Fortunately, there is still some hope. You can present proof that you didn’t do what you’re convicted of doing with the assistance of an accomplished student defense lawyer from Lento Law Firm.
What to do first?
Take a deep breath and make an effort to maintain your composure. This is the most crucial first step. Your initial reaction might be to send a furious email in response to your professor, or to post something on social media to inform everyone of the situation.
However, those behaviors will ultimately weaken your case if you face university disciplinary charges. This is not the time to rush things or do something irreparable to the situation. As an alternative, adhere to these three stages to organize your defense:
- Make sure you comprehend everything in your official allegation by thoroughly reading it.
- Without initially seeking legal counsel, refrain from discussing the allegations with anyone at your school.
- Make contact with a student defense lawyer who has handled cases where students have been accused of cheating.
What to record?
Your university will likely need a written statement and any proof that backs up those comments from you and the lecturer charging you of cheating if you are facing formal disciplinary proceedings. The disciplinary board will then probably hold a hearing at which both of you will likely submit your arguments before making a decision.
You and your lawyer may develop a specific strategy for how to put together your defense depending on the particulars of your situation and how your institution handles accusations of cheating.
Generally speaking, the following are among some of the documents you should obtain in advance of your hearing:
- The questioned assignment or test results, if you have reference to them
- Any additional relevant work you have completed in this class
- The allegations made by your professor in an email, a letter from the institution, etc.
- Contacts with other students or teachers that are relevant
- If the exam was proctored and recorded online, the Zoom footage of the examination is available.
- The conduct code at your school
- Academic integrity policies at your school
- The course syllabus for your lecturer
- Guidelines for academic honesty from your professor
Even if it’s impossible to show beyond a reasonable doubt whether you cheated or not, coming prepared with a solid defense that demonstrates your dedication to academic integrity will help you lower the likelihood of experiencing severe and long-lasting repercussions.