Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure? Forum

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VFL21

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Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by VFL21 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:03 pm

During my junior year of college, I was accused of academic dishonesty by a professor for an open note exam while we were all online. I did not cheat, fought the charge, and was ultimately found to be "not responsible" by my university's honor board. Subsequently, any record I had with the Student Conduct Office was destroyed and I was not punished in any way. This was a really stressful experience for me and I was frustrated because I had no opportunity to defend myself until I had the trial as my professor went straight to the university to have me charged.

I am currently getting ready to apply to law schools and my advisor has told me to disclose this story as an addendum. I obviously want to have the appropriate level of candor in my application, but I do not want to hurt my chances by discussing a charge that was dismissed as soon as I was able to defend myself, especially considering there is no official record of the incident. Any advice on the subject would be appreciated!!

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cavalier1138

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:30 pm

You need to disclose all incidents that are relevant to the C&F questions asked on applications. Everyone asks about accusations of academic dishonesty, so you need to disclose this.

In general, you need to get used to thinking about disclosure differently. It is infinitely worse to cover something up than it is to disclose it. In this case, you're talking about an incident where you can explain that an independent authority dismissed the claim. There's absolutely no downside to disclosing that. But if you hide it, then you create the risk that someone finds out later (separately, check with your school--they almost certainly preserved some kind of record). And if that happens, your explanation becomes less credible because the assumption is that innocent people don't try to hide information.

talons2250

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by talons2250 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 3:13 pm

Why would it hurt your application if you were ultimately exonerated?

Joachim2017

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by Joachim2017 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 8:41 pm

I'm not sure the school would necessarily preserve some kind of record if you're fully cleared. Depends on the school, YMMV. (Mine would not have, and it's by no means a small unknown school.)

VFL21

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by VFL21 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:03 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:30 pm
(separately, check with your school--they almost certainly preserved some kind of record).
I have confirmed that there is no record with the school and the office themselves. But your point about disclosing preemptively to help appear credible is a good one. That is essentially what my advisor said. I just don't want to disclose if it will hurt my chances more considering there is no record. Thank you!

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Access

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by Access » Thu Jun 30, 2022 9:58 am

I don't see why this should hurt you. You didn't do anything wrong and can show you were exonerated. And by disclosing you demonstrate that you understand the obligations of the profession.

VFL21

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by VFL21 » Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:14 am

I really appreciate the replies! I will definitely be writing the addendum and disclosing. I think my primary concern was that by writing the addendum I was somehow automatically going to be rejected by schools. Sounds like I was worried about the wrong things! Thank you to everybody.

overheadSPIDERS

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by overheadSPIDERS » Sat Jul 23, 2022 7:00 pm

I had a friend who had a moderately similar C&F issue (the accusation was a bit more minor but they were found responsible). Said friend now attends one of YSH after writing a honest but not over-the-top addendum.

johndooley

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by johndooley » Sun Jul 24, 2022 12:28 am

VFL21 wrote:
Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:03 pm
During my junior year of college, I was accused of academic dishonesty by a professor for an open note exam while we were all online. I did not cheat, fought the charge, and was ultimately found to be "not responsible" by my university's honor board. Subsequently, any record I had with the Student Conduct Office was destroyed and I was not punished in any way. This was a really stressful experience for me and I was frustrated because I had no opportunity to defend myself until I had the trial as my professor went straight to the university to have me charged.

I am currently getting ready to apply to law schools and my advisor has told me to disclose this story as an addendum. I obviously want to have the appropriate level of candor in my application, but I do not want to hurt my chances by discussing a charge that was dismissed as soon as I was able to defend myself, especially considering there is no official record of the incident. Any advice on the subject would be appreciated!!
Speak to a c and f attorney but odds this came out if you didn’t disclose are low. There’s no record. No one is going to report you. You may say you aren’t responsible but how many of us have been charged with this? Even if you are not responsible, there’s a cloud of suspicion around you and don’t risk admissions decisions over that.

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overheadSPIDERS

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by overheadSPIDERS » Mon Jul 25, 2022 12:29 am

johndooley wrote:
Sun Jul 24, 2022 12:28 am
VFL21 wrote:
Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:03 pm
During my junior year of college, I was accused of academic dishonesty by a professor for an open note exam while we were all online. I did not cheat, fought the charge, and was ultimately found to be "not responsible" by my university's honor board. Subsequently, any record I had with the Student Conduct Office was destroyed and I was not punished in any way. This was a really stressful experience for me and I was frustrated because I had no opportunity to defend myself until I had the trial as my professor went straight to the university to have me charged.

I am currently getting ready to apply to law schools and my advisor has told me to disclose this story as an addendum. I obviously want to have the appropriate level of candor in my application, but I do not want to hurt my chances by discussing a charge that was dismissed as soon as I was able to defend myself, especially considering there is no official record of the incident. Any advice on the subject would be appreciated!!
Speak to a c and f attorney but odds this came out if you didn’t disclose are low. There’s no record. No one is going to report you. You may say you aren’t responsible but how many of us have been charged with this? Even if you are not responsible, there’s a cloud of suspicion around you and don’t risk admissions decisions over that.
The odds are low of it coming out, but if OP doesn't disclose to schools where they should disclose, they will risk never passing C&F. Personally, it's not a risk I'd be willing to take especially given that they were cleared.

CanadianWolf

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:16 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:30 pm
You need to disclose all incidents that are relevant to the C&F questions asked on applications. Everyone asks about accusations of academic dishonesty, so you need to disclose this.

In general, you need to get used to thinking about disclosure differently. It is infinitely worse to cover something up than it is to disclose it. In this case, you're talking about an incident where you can explain that an independent authority dismissed the claim. There's absolutely no downside to disclosing that. But if you hide it, then you create the risk that someone finds out later (separately, check with your school--they almost certainly preserved some kind of record). And if that happens, your explanation becomes less credible because the assumption is that innocent people don't try to hide information.
While I agree that the above is the best response to your thread, I wonder whether some law schools may request further information from your school about this matter. Your claim that all records of the matter have been destroyed may or may not be correct, therefore, you might want to contact your school in order to get a statement which supports your understanding.

In short: When in doubt, disclose.

jacketyellow

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Re: Character and Fitness - academic dishonesty disclosure?

Post by jacketyellow » Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:14 am

Disclose. It won't hurt. I was found "responsible" for an instance of academic dishonesty. My undergrad also destroyed the record, but I disclosed anyway in an addendum. It didn't affect my admissions cycle in any bad way. I also passed C/F with no interview required. Disclosure is best. You will still become an attorney, and you will still go to one of the schools you are targeting.

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