Advice needed: acquitted of cheating allegations but professor blacklisted me

abcdeffedcba

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    Hello,
    I have a friend who's been very stressed out recently. I tried to give advice...but I'd like to seek your advice too. It really is an unfortunate situation. To maintain anonymity, we'll just refer to my friend as a female. This is her story:

    She was accused of cheating by a professor. She did not, and she presented her case to the academic board. She was completely acquitted. Everything about the case was supposed to be confidential...and because she was acquitted, nothing should go on her records.

    She thought the problem was over... but found out later that she was rejected to an advanced studies program that she should be well-qualified to get in to. In fact, she had already completed all the requirements for this program. She met with the admission committee of this program and found out that the professor who accused her had told members of the admission committee...and this was the reason that she was rejected.

    The fact that she was accused of cheating was supposed to be kept confidential, but it didn't. Now all the professors in her/his department thinks she is a cheater and doesn't know that she has been acquitted.

    She is considering appealing the admission process. She is worried about how this might affect medical school applications as s/he intends to apply this cycle.

    What should she do? We tried to ask for advice, but everyone in the administration avoids offering us advice because they don't want to mis-speak or raise enemies of their own.

    What do you guys think?
     
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    Nerdeka

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      giving out the gender would have not given him/her away and would have saved you time.

      I think she/he should drop it and not try to ruffle feathers more than her cheating allegations already did.

      It's unfortunate that it may be hurting her/him, but she/he should count his/her blessings. Things could be much MUCH worse.
       

      abcdeffedcba

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        giving out the gender would have not given him/her away and would have saved you time.

        I think she/he should drop it and not try to ruffle feathers more than her cheating allegations already did.

        It's unfortunate that it may be hurting her/him, but she/he should count his/her blessings. Things could be much MUCH worse.
        Even though she was completely acquitted by the academic board? That just really really sucks...
         
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        osckey

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          I believe the word we're looking for is slander and yes, you can sue someone for slander. However, it looks like this professor only interfered with this studio admission process because he knew on of the adcom members personally and ran his mouth. I really don't see how this prof. could ruin anything outside of his zone of influence.
           
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          maxwell_edison

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            Well, sounds like a textbook case of slander/false light. However, a lawyer would probably advise against doing much of anything about it, it will create more attention. A sternly worded letter from her attorney telling him to keep his mouth shut would probably be helpful. Have her call a lawyer. Could be the best 100 bucks she's ever spent.
             
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            ace_inhibitor111

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              Acquitted =/= Innocent
              Like some have mentioned, this would just create more negative attention. Don't "lawyer up" despite what others tell you.

              Sometimes staying silent draws more attention than taking action. I personally wouldn't allow this rumor to continue to spread. Maybe not call a lawyer, but let the academic board know at least.
               
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              Nerdeka

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                Sometimes staying silent draws more attention than taking action. I personally wouldn't allow this rumor to continue to spread. Maybe not call a lawyer, but let the academic board know at least.
                True.. It's weird they told her/him that they had been kicked out for something she/he had been acquitted of. I don't know if she/he could prove that though. because otherwise, they could just make up a BS excuse for why she/he didn't get in.
                 
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                JustAPhD

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                  The admissions committee told you to your face that you were rejected due to a cheating allegation that you were acquitted of? That just doesn't make sense to me. For your ex-prof (the accuser) to go to this committee with the intention of blocking your acceptance to this program makes me think either: a. you (your friend) has some serious bad blood with this prof or b. there's more to this cheating accusation/trial story.

                  Since you/your friend is applying this cycle, personally I wouldn't escalate the situation any more.
                   

                  abcdeffedcba

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                    Again, this didn't happen to me. I already got admitted to med school and I'm going there in the fall. But if it makes it easier for you guys to give me solid advice, feel free to reply as if it's me.

                    My friend has spectacular academic performances. Mind you, this advanced degree program is in the same undergrad institution, so most people, even with mediocre academic performances, who do apply will get in. After my friend was acquitted of the cheating allegations, the professor got back at her by giving her a bad grade. Even with this one bad grade, her academic profile is still far above average of others'.

                    The admission committee rep did not explicitly say that "she was rejected because of cheating allegations." No adcom would say that. Instead the adcom said that the admission process is a closed-door process and added that the decision was affected by my friend's performance in a class (and if you read between the lines, it's the professor).

                    In regards to others' bad blood comment, it could be because my friend never went to class (because she didn't need to).
                     
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                    abcdeffedcba

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                      Is there any formal documentation of the process that your friend went through? For example a letter stating that she'd been acquitted or an email or something?
                      Yes there is! The case had an official hearing with the academic board. The cheating allegations were also sent to an outsider expert for opinions. She was officially acquitted.
                       

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                      Epi Geek
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                        Yes there is! The case had an official hearing with the academic board. The cheating allegations were also sent to an outsider expert for opinions. She was officially acquitted.


                        Obviously this is a bit tricky to handle because you have to juggle not rocking the boat while still wanting to have a clear name if there truly was no cheating. So I can't reall blame your friend for being bothered, especially if it's something that's spread around. People will treat you differently, give you more scrutiny, and probably be less likely to help you out if you run into trouble.

                        So some other important questions would be: is this the department her major is in? or minor? is it a department she'll need recommendations for med school from? is it a department where she has other classes that she needs to take? if not, might be worth it to just call it a loss and leave it alone.

                        if it's a dept thats a major part of her remaining academic career, then it might be worth it to do something while treading lightly. first, obviously avoid that prof like the plague. second see if there's someone on the faculty that you know well, that you trust, who seems to demonstrate goood judgement and ask to speak with them.

                        you'll need to be very diplomatic when you talk to this person. dont go off on the prof that accused you of cheating and say he's out to get you or anything like that.

                        I'm honestly not sure how I'd approach it in real life, but this crossed my mind.
                        she just might try asking if they'd heard about her being accused of cheating by x, y, z and that the investigation found that she didn't cheat. say that it's come to her attention that information regarding the incident seems to have gotten around to other faculty and she is concerned that they don't know she was acquitted and about how this might impact her relationships with them in other classes, etc. ask if they have any thoughts on what she might do moving forward. if she feels comfortable, she could considering showing the documentation. this person should have a good understanding of dept politics and personalities and can msybe give some advice, or just help correct any misperceptions they encounter about her, etc.

                        I dunno though, this all really depends on the specifics like her relationships with other faculty, what type of cheating was suspected, and how strong the acquittal was (ie she def didn't do it vs. she probably did do it but we don't quite have enough to nail her without risking legal action against us).
                         
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                        Goro

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                          I'm curious as to how the Professor knew that she was applying to that particular studies program, unless it was in the same school?



                          Hello,
                          I have a friend who's been very stressed out recently. I tried to give advice...but I'd like to seek your advice too. It really is an unfortunate situation. To maintain anonymity, we'll just refer to my friend as a female. This is her story:

                          She was accused of cheating by a professor. She did not, and she presented her case to the academic board. She was completely acquitted. Everything about the case was supposed to be confidential...and because she was acquitted, nothing should go on her records.

                          She thought the problem was over... but found out later that she was rejected to an advanced studies program that she should be well-qualified to get in to. In fact, she had already completed all the requirements for this program. She met with the admission committee of this program and found out that the professor who accused her had told members of the admission committee...and this was the reason that she was rejected.

                          The fact that she was accused of cheating was supposed to be kept confidential, but it didn't. Now all the professors in her/his department thinks she is a cheater and doesn't know that she has been acquitted.

                          She is considering appealing the admission process. She is worried about how this might affect medical school applications as s/he intends to apply this cycle.

                          What should she do? We tried to ask for advice, but everyone in the administration avoids offering us advice because they don't want to mis-speak or raise enemies of their own.

                          What do you guys think?
                           

                          abcdeffedcba

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                            I'm curious as to how the Professor knew that she was applying to that particular studies program, unless it was in the same school?

                            Yes, it was in the same school and the program is the same department that the professor is in. My friend also happens to major in this department. :X But since she's going to medical school and not academia, ruffling a few feathers wouldn't be that bad for her future if it means fighting for justice right?
                             

                            Goro

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                              Correct. Just make sure that the prof has no idea what schools she's applying too, and can't influence any pre-med committee.


                              Yes, it was in the same school and the program is the same department that the professor is in. My friend also happens to major in this department. :X But since she's going to medical school and not academia, ruffling a few feathers wouldn't be that bad for her future if it means fighting for justice right?
                               

                              Womb Raider

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                                Can the student prove that the professor has discriminated against her because of the cheating scandal? Also, can she prove that she received a lower grade than she deserved? If these aren't merely hunches, I'd consider taking it to someone up top, perhaps the dean.


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