Academic Misconduct Frequently Asked Questions
I received a letter from the Office of Student Conduct requesting a preliminary interview. What is the purpose of this meeting?
If you are requested to schedule a preliminary interview, you have been referred to our office because you may have violated the Code of Academic Integrity. With your letter, you will find a copy the allegation. During the preliminary interview, you will meet with a Student Conduct staff member and be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation(s). The hearing officer will also provide information about the disciplinary process.
Possible outcomes of Academic Integrity cases include:
- Request for an Honor Review to determine sanctions;
- Acknowledge responsibility for committing a violation of the Code, and accept the standard "XF" sanction;
- Acknowledge responsibilities for committing a violation of the Code, but request an Honor Review for sanctioning purposes only.
What happens if I refuse to attend the preliminary interview?
Refusing to attend a preliminary interview means your voice isn't heard in the matter. You also miss the opportunity to carefully discuss the disciplinary process with a member of the Student Conduct staff. In addition, your case will most likely be referred to an Honor Review for resolution. In the meantime, our office may place a "block" your student account; this may prevent you from registering for classes. The block may remain on your account until the case has been resolved and, if necessary, sanctions have been completed.
Do I need an attorney?
Informal hearings and other proceedings at an educational institution do not follow the same procedures used in courtrooms. The university does not employ lawyers to "prosecute" students or apply the rules of evidence used in civil or criminal trial. Instead, charges are investigated and resolved in an atmosphere of candor, truthfulness, and civility. You may have an advisor present, however an attorney is not required.
In all cases, attorneys may only serve in an advisory role and may not address the board. When facing serious allegations, however, some students find it helpful to have the expertise of an attorney in responding to allegations.
Other students seek the assistance of the Student Legal Aid Office located in the South Campus Dining Hall. Student Legal Aid is familiar with our process and may prove helpful to you in some circumstances. This is a free service offered to all University of Maryland students. Undergraduate Student Legal Aid may be reached at (301)314-7756 while Graduate Student Legal Aid may be reached at (301)405-5807. A Student Conduct staff member will be happy to provide you with their contact information during the preliminary interview.
What is the difference between a "conference" and a "hearing?"
In Academic Integrity cases, if a case is not resolved through an informal resolution agreement, the case will be resolved either by a disciplanary conference or an honor review hearing.
A disciplinary conference is a meeting with one staff member from the Office of Student Conduct. The student and the complaining party generally present their case to the staff member, who later renders a decision. If a student is found "responsible" for the alleged violation, the staff member will impose appropriate sanctions. In accordance with the Code of Academic Integrity, the normal penalty for an act of academic dishonesty is the grade penalty of "XF" in the course. The grade is recorded on the academic transcript with the notation, "failure due to academic dishonesty." The results of a disciplinary conference are final and are not subject to appeal.
Hearings are before a panel normally consisting of three Honor Council members and two faculty members. The student and the complaining party generally present their case before the panel who renders a decision. If a student is found "responsible" for the alleged violation, the board will impose appropriate sanctions. In accordance with the Code of Academic Integrity, the normal penalty for an act of academic dishonesty is the grade penalty of "XF" in the course. The grade is recorded on the academic transcript with the notation, "failure due to academic dishonesty." Respondents and/or complaints have the option to file an appeal under certain circumstances.