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Help, I was accused of cheating

wwsshptosvuwwsshptosvu Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Hi, so one of my final exams this past year was open textbook. I was an idiot and did not check the textbook before going to the test, and turns out I had an old homework folded inside. My teacher saw the sheet, and I explained to him it was an accident. I thought I dodged a major bullet, especially when I received my grade in the class. My account was put on hold two weeks later though and I was told it was because of an academic misconduct allegation. The person deciding my guilt does not like me because I 'asked too many questions' whenI was panicking about what to do (my email was super polite, even my parents proofread it). He told me that I could be found completely innocent, or plead guilty, get an F and have to reveal this info on grad school apps. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do? I definitely did something wrong and deserve some kind of punishment, but having to answer yes to misconduct questions on grad school apps seems horrifying. Should I fight the charge, even though I worry this might make this worse? Or just hope grad schools understand? Is there any rules about notifications or timeliness I can use since I wasn't notified about the allegation until I asked and I was told weeks later (there is no rule in our code of contact)? Thanks in advance.

Replies to: Help, I was accused of cheating

  • soontobecollegersoontobecolleger Registered User Posts: 588 Member
    I don't have any advice, but did the professor say no notes allowed? It seems kinda weird to get in trouble for bringing a homework assignment in an open textbook exam.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,446 Senior Member
    Here's my question-- I'm not sure it's of any help.

    If you had no idea that there was an old test in your textbook, does that mean that you chose to do absolutely no studying ahead of time? If you had, then surely you would have noticed the old test, right? So you walked into a final exam with absolutely no preparation? It's not like you prepped by going over old tests, because then you would have noticed the missing test-- and found it inside the textbook, right?

    Sorry, I think this is going to be a hard sell.
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 1,088 Senior Member
    Faculty often specify what you may bring to an open book exam and what must be excluded. If something like class notes or exams are not specifically permitted, then they must be left elsewhere. It is a student's responsibility to purge anything that is not specifically allowed. Access to additional resources deliberately or accidentally is cheating. The only tangible piece of evidence in this situation is old homework. How do your protestations counter the evidence?
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 2,137 Senior Member
    Tell your story calmly and truthfully. Also if you had a good grade perhaps offer up a compromise of dropping it a grade. It was open book. Good lord
  • xxSonic4xxSonic4 Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    so what happened?
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,978 Senior Member
    It doesn't sound like pleading guilty has any benefits. If you fight it and lose, what's the punishment? Having to report it on grad school applications? Well, that's the same as pleading guilty in the first place.
  • wwsshptosvuwwsshptosvu Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    After receiving no response from the university for about a month (we were supposed to have a hearing and when I asked about a date no one answered), I emailed the dean and was informed that the professor who accused me is away for the semester so I can plead guilty now or wait until december for a hearing.
  • wwsshptosvuwwsshptosvu Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Just to add some information as I didn't want my initial post to be too long. @soontobecolleger We were allowed to bring one note page on the test with anything written on it. My note sheet was half empty (it's an open book test what kind of notes do I need) so if I wanted the homework on the test, all I had to do was copy it over. Unfortunately my teacher collected the note sheets and threw them out so there is no way for me to prove that I likely had copied the homework onto the notesheet. My only defense is that homework answers are in the textbook and that if I wanted the detailed homework answer I could have copied it on to the note sheet, which was permitted. @juillet just curious would you recommend including the full story (open textbook, extra note sheet) in grad school apps or will that sound like I am making excuses?
  • tripletmamatripletmama Registered User Posts: 180 Junior Member
    This whole thing sounds absurd. It does sound like that teacher didn't think much of it at the time - but then when you brought it up, he felt like s/he had to cover their a## by reporting it as a possible breach. Lesson learned - don't sweat the small stuff and let your anxiety get the best of you (he/she probably got a bit suspicious when you kept asking about it). When the professor finally returns - I would predict that the thing will be dropped. (or at least I hope so for your sake). Hang in there....
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,978 Senior Member
    Check the student handbook to see if you are entitled to a hearing within a certain time frame. Ask for an advocate to help you through the process.
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 1,088 Senior Member
    In this discussion, it seems that open book tests are considered easy. Be wary!! Students don't have additional test time to prowl through the book. Students who really know the information use the book for fine points of comfort. Studying as if the test is not open book is the best strategy...you are expected to know the information and not find and copy.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,352 Senior Member
    This seems like an honest mistake that has gotten way overblown. I think the important think is that any notation on your record not appear as a mark against your integrity. You should defend your integrity and honor with everything you have. Take a lower grade if you must, and even that is ridiculous since what benefit could you have gotten from the homework in an open book test, but no record of a blemish on your integrity is warranted here.
  • RoaringMiceRoaringMice Registered User Posts: 566 Member
    I'd suggest you wait for the hearing. I think you stand a real shot of having this hearing and coming out of it without having this end up on your record.

    Take notes now - write it down. What happened. When. What you did. How the professor didn't mention it at first. Etc.

    See if your university has an "Ombudsman" or similar, who can explain how all this works.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,618 Super Moderator
    @wwsshptosvu - Yes, I would. If you just say you got accused of cheating, that's a huge red flag; with the details, the story is less alarming.
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