Academic Dishonesty

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yot11
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Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:23 am

In the spring of 2012 I was involved in an academic dishonesty incident. It was the end of my sophomore year in a computer programming course and two students approached me (separately) for my completed homework assignments under the pretense of using them as reference. I know it was extremely stupid, but I never anticipated that they would copy my work (it's a PROGRAMMING course for god's sake, it's absurdly easy to check for copied work).

Of course, the professor caught it. For whatever reason, he didn't approach us until 3/4 of the way through the semester and so by the time that the fact these two idiots were copy-pasting my code was brought to my attention, the charge spanned 5 homework assignments (referred to as "labs" in this class).

The professor informed us that we would all be getting zeroes on those assignments (which capped me at a C+ for my maximum grade) and referred us to the dean of academic conduct. We each signed a document that waived our rights to a committee hearing.

The exact and relevant verbiage of my statement is as follows:
"I, ___, acknowledge and agree that my actions were in violation of the University's academic integrity policy, in that I gave completed lab assignments to other students and then they submitted my work as if it was their own work ... I understand that the professor of the course will determine any possible grade-related sanctions appropriate for this violation ... "

I believe that the dean was sympathetic to me (I'm very thankful that he was) and he offered me the option of withdrawing from the course as an alternative to the grade punishment. I took the (non-punitive) withdrawal.

From what I've gleaned, TCR states that I should take full responsibility and acknowledge the severity of my actions (and believe me, I understand the severity of this) and to not try to skirt the issue as a policy violation instead of a cheating incident.

My questions are as follows:
1) Is my interpretation of TCR correct?

2) Should I try to ask the dean who oversaw this incident write a letter explaining the circumstances and emphasize the fact that I wasn't copying anyone else's work? I believe TCR states that this is the wrong approach coming from me (and I agree), but if the dean is willing to take that position, should I ask him?

3) My dream schools are Berkeley and Stanford and I have a 3.91 / 174. Is this incident going to kill my chances?

4) I don't think that this is a concern, but would I have a problem with California C&F? My understanding is that the biggest obstacle in this case is admissions, and I probably won't have C&F problems with this. Is this correct?



TL;DR
I was caught giving completed work to others. I have a statement from the dean saying that I gave completed work to others (one way information flow). Is this an angle worth pursuing by asking the dean to write a letter explaining the situation?
Last edited by yot11 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AreJay711
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:26 am

So the entirety of your punishment was the grade reduction? Is there any other record of the incident?

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:29 am

AreJay711 wrote:So the entirety of your punishment was the grade reduction? Is there any other record of the incident?


The statement I believe is in my file? Whatever that means. Yes, the entirety was the grade reduction (and the dean offered me an alternative). I didn't get placed on academic probation or anything, unless I did and no one told me.

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AreJay711
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:37 am

I'd check that out. I'm not saying you shouldn't disclose if there's nothing there, but I probably wouldn't. I'm not particularly honest though.

Edit:

That said, the conventional TLS wisdom is to own up to what you did if you do disclose. The worst thing you can do is make excuses. I don't think saying that you thought it was just for reference is an excuse -- in many classes that type of collaboration is allowed.

As for chances, I have no idea.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:45 am

AreJay711 wrote:I'd check that out. I'm not saying you shouldn't disclose if there's nothing there, but I probably wouldn't. I'm not particularly honest though.

Edit:

That said, the conventional TLS wisdom is to own up to what you did if you do disclose. The worst thing you can do is make excuses. I don't think saying that you thought it was just for reference is an excuse -- in many classes that type of collaboration is allowed.

As for chances, I have no idea.


Thanks for your response. I am pretty set on disclosing it; at the time I talked to our school's head judicial figure and I'm 90% sure that she said law schools would see it. Although she didn't handle the details of the case, I just asked for her opinion.

Also, for the record, this isn't a copy of my addendum, which means I'll probably spin it differently so there's no appearance of me making excuses. Here, I just gave a frank summary of what happened. I agree about saying that I thought it was for reference is a bad idea to include in the addendum.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:13 pm

No one wants to bite? Anyone have an opinion on asking the dean to write a letter for me?

bp shinners
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:23 pm

yot11 wrote:No one wants to bite? Anyone have an opinion on asking the dean to write a letter for me?


The problem with this is that the dean isn't going to say anything substantially different than what's in your record - the formal admission is that you let others copy your work. That's what the dean would say.

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Cicero76
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby Cicero76 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:46 am

This is kind of an awkward situation. I would either try to meet with the dean or communicate by email to ask what's in your file, how it's going to be presented, and how you should deal with disclosing/not disclosing it. As it stands, if that note is all that's in your file, you're pretty screwed at HYS. Addendum would be a must, but it'll be a tricky line to walk.

TLDR: never help people, especially in class. They're assholes and will screw you.

vzapana
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby vzapana » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:47 am

Cicero76 wrote:This is kind of an awkward situation. I would either try to meet with the dean or communicate by email to ask what's in your file, how it's going to be presented, and how you should deal with disclosing/not disclosing it. As it stands, if that note is all that's in your file, you're pretty screwed at HYS. Addendum would be a must, but it'll be a tricky line to walk.


agree with this completely

EDIT: in response to guano's post, i think asking whether to disclose this or not is fair. my dean told me that tons of people call/email her about issues here and there. your dean may be different, but if you have somewhat of a rapport with him, you should be fine.

still, my gut tells me that you'll be told to disclose this to all schools.

Cicero76 wrote:TLDR: never help people, especially in class. They're assholes and will screw you.


lovely piece of advice from a high school teacher of mine: "if you cheat, don't let me catch you"
Last edited by vzapana on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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guano
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby guano » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:47 am

Cicero76 wrote:This is kind of an awkward situation. I would either try to meet with the dean or communicate by email to ask what's in your file, how it's going to be presented, and how you should deal with disclosing/not disclosing it. As it stands, if that note is all that's in your file, you're pretty screwed at HYS. Addendum would be a must, but it'll be a tricky line to walk.

TLDR: never help people, especially in class. They're assholes and will screw you.

Just a slight revision to the above.
Don't ask whether to disclose. Tell the dean you will be disclosing it, and you would like advice on how best to do so.

If the dean thinks you should not disclose, s/he will tell you. If the dean thinks you should disclose, asking if maybe you shouldn't do so will make you appear shady (while now it seems the dean just thinks it was a dumb mistake)

NYstate
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby NYstate » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:05 pm

1. Yes, disclose. Why wouldn't you?

2. You might ask the dean for advice but I would never ask him/her to respond in a specific way. This is out of your control.

3. Just apply and find out. You have nothing to lose. TCR is to take a few years to work and put distance between the incident and you. Not sure if that applies here, you received the lightest punishment for dishonesty I have ever seen. Even that ...sigh... girl from Harvard who helped students in her class got a semester of probation, however, she still claims she did nothing wrong. You are ahead of her in your approach.

4. Don't know about California C and F. You may have to disclose this. Don't think you will be harmed by it.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:42 am

I really appreciate the input from everybody. I think I'm going to follow the advice about asking the dean how best to proceed with the disclosure.

I'm pretty resigned about not getting into Stanford (longshot in the first place), but I'm still hoping that my numbers are good enough for Berkeley to survive this.

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guano
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby guano » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:41 am

yot11 wrote:I really appreciate the input from everybody. I think I'm going to follow the advice about asking the dean how best to proceed with the disclosure.

I'm pretty resigned about not getting into Stanford (longshot in the first place), but I'm still hoping that my numbers are good enough for Berkeley to survive this.

Just throw Stanford an app. Probably =/= definitely

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jselson
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby jselson » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:32 pm

yot11 wrote:I really appreciate the input from everybody. I think I'm going to follow the advice about asking the dean how best to proceed with the disclosure.

I'm pretty resigned about not getting into Stanford (longshot in the first place), but I'm still hoping that my numbers are good enough for Berkeley to survive this.


Definitely apply. Even if you only have, say, a 1% shot of getting in, the value of a Stanford law degree over even Berkeley could possibly be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. (I would bet on this, for example, by taking Stanford at sticker over Berkeley for free). The application fee costs roughly $100. So theoretically, even if the ROI of an SLS degree was $10,001, you would be making a good bet. (Unlike the lotto, where, say, over a million people pay $5 for a $5 million prize.) At $100,000 ROI, you'd be making a great bet, even with low odds of winning.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:00 pm

I agree completely and am definitely still going to blanket the T14. Am I correct in assuming that the lower in the rankings that you go, the less they care about something like this and the closer you'll perform to your numbers?

For example:
HYS -- almost certainly out
CCN MVP B -- hurts, but will be a tossup
Low T14 and below -- don't care

Given that my numbers are HYS-range (3.91 / 174).

Looks like I'll also be applying to USC and UCLA in the event that Berkeley doesn't want me.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:22 am

Is there too little known about these kind of situations to give an estimate of my unpredictability?

I know that my cycle will be more unpredictable than my numbers would suggest, but does anyone know to what degree?

Does the unpredictability lessen the further you go down (like outlined above)?

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:37 am

yot11 wrote:Is there too little known about these kind of situations to give an estimate of my unpredictability?

I know that my cycle will be more unpredictable than my numbers would suggest, but does anyone know to what degree?

Does the unpredictability lessen the further you go down (like outlined above)?


Yes

No (refer to question 1)

Probably (refer to question 1)

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:30 pm

ManOfTheMinute wrote:
Yes

No (refer to question 1)

Probably (refer to question 1)


Okay thanks for your input! I'll update my profile at the end of my cycle to hopefully add to community knowledge in these cases.

If anyone does have knowledge or experience, I'd appreciate input!

NYstate
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby NYstate » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:49 am

You might ask mike spivey in his thread. Admission officers must discuss things like this all the time.

I think it is positive that you got a very minor punishment. No idea how this will play out.

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yot11
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Re: Academic Dishonesty

Postby yot11 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 2:41 pm

Thanks for the advice! I posted in Spivey's thread.




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