Appealing penalties for academic dishonesty offences is a difficult, uphill battle. In most cases, appeals are only allowed under certain circumstances. These are two of the most common reasons for appealing a penalty for academic dishonesty.
- Appeal the finding of academic misconduct: if you believe that a finding of academic dishonesty was unfair, or that the procedures used to reach that conclusion were performed incorrectly, then you can try and appeal the penalty on the basis that the finding of academic dishonesty should not stand. Successful appeals will often include new evidence or highlight evidence that was not sufficiently considered in your original hearing. An appeal might also explain where any procedural bias occurred.
- Appeal a disproportionate penalty: penalties for academic dishonesty offences vary depending on the severity of your actions. Academic institutions will sometimes unfairly impose harsh penalties reserved for exceptional cases, despite your offence being minor. Successful appeals can explain how a particular penalty is disproportionate to the severity of your actions, and why a less detrimental sanction might be more sufficient.
Appeals are contextual, and their reasoning will vary in each case. The most important thing is that you explain your reasons using plain language, and clearly describe exactly what went wrong in the initial hearing and decision. Academic appeals are similar to legal appeals, and a lawyer can help draft your appeal letter for the best chance of success.