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bananafish94

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Is this really the whole story? I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would give you an honor code violation for this, even amongst the most draconian of professors. At this point, you need to do everything in your power to get it resolved without going through official university channels. Strike a deal with the professor. Offer to take a 0, an F in the class, etc. because if it goes to the honor council or whatever your equivalent is, it will not end well.
 

holy holy

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I emailed him before to explain my situation and not really aware of that rule, but he took that email to the court and said it is student's responsibility to follow the rule and should get his permission to put the backpack on the seat like that...I ended up with the warning letter and 0 for that exam
He said he put that rule on the slide before the exam but I came to the exam late due to dad's surgery and he knew it, so I couldn't see that slide either. But he said if I'm unclear about anything, ask him instead of putting the backpack on the seat without his permission. That's all the story was about...And I can't argue because he had so much evidence (slide, witness about my backpack)
 
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holy holy

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I searched for the posts related to exam procedure violation, but most of them come up with cheating which is a different thing...

So don't really know how it would affect my app? how would adcoms think? would they screen me out right away?
 
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bananafish94

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Did the professor email you a warning or did some kind of actual disciplinary board email you a warning about this? The latter would actually make it an "institutional action." I just feel like something is missing here. Nobody is actively trying to screw people over to this extent and for something this trivial.
 
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holy holy

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It is the disciplinary board and I know that I should report it in the institutional action.
That's what I thought too. I didn't expect it to be this serious. That's why I sent him an email to explain...but then he reported it to the court and used that email as an evidence cuz I was begging for a 0 or minus some points --> He said to the court that I'm fully aware that I did wrong at that time.
And what I thought at the end was, maybe he had some fever with the backpack on the seat or sth...
 

wizzed101

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I don't see how it escalates to this point. You can try appealing before the board, focusing on 'intent.' Is the rule written in the syllabus?
 

bananafish94

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And what I thought at the end was, maybe he had some fever with the backpack on the seat or sth...
...what?

Anyway, here's what it shakes out to be. Unfortunately, you have violated the cardinal rule of institutional actions by letting it get past the source. For all those out there reading this, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this for whatever reason, your primary and absolute objective is to get it settled with the professor or whoever you're dealing with before it goes to an official body--because that's when it gets really ugly. Do whatever it takes to avoid this step.

OP, your school almost certainly will have a system for appealing decisions from the disciplinary board. However, there will be caveats. You can't just appeal a decision willy nilly; it generally will have to meet at least one criterion such as:

-New evidence has been gathered
-You have reason to believe that the hearing was not conducted in a fair manner
-The punishment is not fair

It sounds like you arguably have some ground to stand on for some of these. Your goal: to get your punishment changed to literally anything that does not involve this going on your record/transcript. I've found that people are most willing to help you when you admit wrong, don't try to place blame on parties other than yourself, and don't do anything obnoxious or grandiose like hire some big shot attorney to call the school. Make some phone calls this week. Make the people who work in the disciplinary office your friend. Sit down with the Dean and discuss your options. Always be polite and courteous. The folks who work in student discipline have to deal with a lot of bad people ™ who do bad things ™. Being a good person ™ will earn you favor. Good luck!
 
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holy holy

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I don't see how it escalates to this point. You can try appealing before the board, focusing on 'intent.' Is the rule written in the syllabus?
Not in the syllabus, but he said he already reminded it carefully before the exam. So if I came late, I should contact him to get noticed about it cuz this is a large sized class, he cannot take care of each student. I'm exhausted at this point. All I could explain to the court was my situation before the exam so that I came late and what I should focus on at that time should be the exam instead of where the backpack should be.
And I wonder would adcoms consider this as serious as cheating?
 

holy holy

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...what?

Anyway, here's what it shakes out to be. Unfortunately, you have violated the cardinal rule of institutional actions by letting it get past the source. For all those out there reading this, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this for whatever reason, your primary and absolute objective is to get it settled with the professor or whoever you're dealing with before it goes to an official body--because that's when it gets really ugly. Do whatever it takes to avoid this step.

OP, your school almost certainly will have a system for appealing decisions from the disciplinary board. However, there will be caveats. You can't just appeal a decision willy nilly; it generally will have to meet at least one criterion such as:

-New evidence has been gathered
-You have reason to believe that the hearing was not conducted in a fair manner
-The punishment is not fair

It sounds like you arguably have some ground to stand on for some of these. Your goal: to get your punishment changed to literally anything that does not involve this going on your record/transcript. I've found that people are most willing to help you when you admit wrong, don't try to place blame on parties other than yourself, and don't do anything obnoxious or grandiose like hire some big shot attorney to call the school. Make some phone calls this week. Make the people who work in the disciplinary office your friend. Sit down with the Dean and discuss your options. Always be polite and courteous. The folks who work in student discipline have to deal with a lot of bad people ™ who do bad things ™. Being a good person ™ will earn you favor. Good luck!
Thanks...I will consider it...But still wonder how bad it would look in my application for now?
If it ends well, I will explain to the adcoms again
 

Affiche

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Unfortunately, you have violated the cardinal rule of institutional actions by letting it get past the source.
So I actually sat on the academic integrity board at my institution and I disagree with this. Some professors are unreasonable and some integrity boards/committees are very reasonable.

If you have documentation that your father had a surgery that morning and that legitimately made you late for the exam (which you should also have documented permission to be late), you should be in the clear for not seeing that slide prior to entering the exam room. If there was no intent to cheat and you never touched the backpack throughout the exam, you also have that going for you. If you have a clean record prior to this, you have that going for you.

What I would do, personally, is set up a meeting with someone on the committee that handles discipline in these circumstances. At my institution, this was our academic integrity board which included our associate dean. When you request the meeting just ask for a time to discuss the situation and your options moving forward, but don't say anything more than that. At the meeting, bring with you any and all documentation you have regarding the time of the surgery, the slides presented, the syllabus, and the emails exchanged between you and the professor. It will do you no favors to hide any emails at this point. Be very honest about your understanding of the rules and your intent to take an honest exam. Play up the fact that your father was in surgery that morning, if you must. Emphasize that this was an honest mistake in a moment of stress, and when you get to the disciplinary part ask for any alternative to an IA.
 

Goro

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Lethal


Like the title said...
I got charged with honor code violation because i brought my backpack on the seat next to me. I'm unaware of the rule that the backpack has to be under the seat at all time and no proctors reminded me until i turned in the exam and they saw it...I had my dad's surgery on that morning and came to the exam late so unaware of that special rule...What I received for now is a zero on that exam but not fail the class, probably a D...He said that it is my responsibility to follow the rule of the class and ask questions if I'm still unclear...

Would that affect my chance at all? How would adcoms think of it?
 

Affiche

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Are you kidding? It sounds like this kid hasn't even met with anyone about disciplinary action yet besides getting a half-assed email. If the syllabus doesn't define having a backpack on a seat as "cheating" and he had a documented excused absence from the pre-exam speech that defined this as cheating (which the TA's then had a responsibility to inform him of this prior to sitting for the exam), any reasonable committee will find him in the clear.
 
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Affiche

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And for the love of god, OP, quit discussing the situation via email. You're paving a paper trail to your own grave.
 
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Goro

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This was the first time ever he took an exam with this professor and didn't see the rule about the backpack??????

Hence my harsh view.

You're bringing up a lot of legalese with gives the OP wiggle room at his school; I'm giving my viewpoint as if I read this on an app. So OP isn't dead (yet).




Are you kidding? It sounds like this kid hasn't even met with anyone about disciplinary action yet besides getting a half-assed email. If the syllabus doesn't define having a backpack on a seat as "cheating" and he had a documented excused absence from the pre-exam speech that defined this as cheating (which the TA's then had a responsibility to inform him of this prior to sitting for the exam), any reasonable committee will find him in the clear.
 

studentdocftw

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It boils down to the.."Why take this student when we have someone just as great with a clean record". Regardless of the severity, many adcoms will be turned off by this situation, enough to justify taking another student over you. Good luck OP! If all you did was put your backpack next to your desk (which I certainly have to be a skeptical about, perhaps your backpack was still open as well?), then I am rooting for you!
 
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Affiche

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This was the first time ever he took an exam with this professor and didn't see the rule about the backpack??????

Hence my harsh view.

You're bringing up a lot of legalese with gives the OP wiggle room at his school; I'm giving my viewpoint as if I read this on an app. So OP isn't dead (yet).
Meh, I have a good friend who had an IA for cheating (plagiarism, unintentional) in graduate school and an IA for professionalism and he had multiple acceptances this last cycle. This leads me to believe that not all cheating is the same in the eyes of reasonable adcoms. Uphill battle for sure, but lethal?

I took exams with my backpack next to me all the time in college. Never had an issue. I was asked during the exam one time to put it under my seat, so I did, and that was the end of it.
 

Lawpy

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    It boils down to the.."Why take this student when we have someone just as great with a clean record".

    They still get interviewed and accepted for various reasons. So that reasoning falls short. Seems like admissions is following risk management strategies and would like to minimize the risks if possible (so something really good can offset a red flag)
     

    studentdocftw

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    They still get interviewed and accepted for various reasons. So that reasoning falls short. Seems like admissions is following risk management strategies and would like to minimize the risks if possible (so something really good can offset a red flag)

    Fair enough. I never implied he had no chance, simply that his chances will definitely be reduced..how much, who knows? :shrug:
     
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    Lawpy

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    Really the source of this problem is a lack of clear communication. OP, didn't you see that other students taking the exam didn't have their backpacks with them? And why didn't you approach the professor and discuss it with him before taking the exam?
     
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    Goro

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    Combination of the two, plus I'm from NY, a cynic, and I have two children and know that there are always two sides to every story.


    Wait sorry didn't understand. Are honor code violations lethal? Or is it lethal because OP didn't follow the backpack rule and got the zero as a result?


    Anecdotes, outliers, I don't care. If you want to argue, argue with the OP's school. My Adcom has rejected people with Honor Code violations. They get you dismissed from the Service academies too.

    Meh, I have a good friend who had an IA for cheating (plagiarism, unintentional) in graduate school and an IA for professionalism and he had multiple acceptances this last cycle. This leads me to believe that not all cheating is the same in the eyes of reasonable adcoms. Uphill battle for sure, but lethal?

    I took exams with my backpack next to me all the time in college. Never had an issue. I was asked during the exam one time to put it under my seat, so I did, and that was the end of it.


    Sorry, Lawper, but this mindset (why take a red flag when so many others lack one?) is VERY common among Adcoms.

    They still get interviewed and accepted for various reasons. So that reasoning falls short. Seems like admissions is following risk management strategies and would like to minimize the risks if possible (so something really good can offset a red flag)
     

    Lawpy

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    Combination of the two, plus I'm from NY, a cynic, and I have two children and know that there are always two sides to every story.

    I wouldn't be surprised. But i'm interested as to whether this thread will follow aProgDirector's Three-Sided Story Principle: story from the OP who got dismissed/punished, story from the professor/school/program, and the real story. Usually, the school/program doesn't participate on SDN, so the true story appears as the discussion grows longer.
     

    Lawpy

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    Sorry, Lawper, but this mindset (why take a red flag when so many others lack one?) is VERY common among Adcoms.

    They still get interviewed and accepted for various reasons. So that reasoning falls short. Seems like admissions is following risk management strategies and would like to minimize the risks if possible (so something really good can offset a red flag)

    But adcom members have to convince themselves some way to take them in if they like them. So thats why the only way these red flag applicants will get admitted is if they have something incredible about them.

    I admit that i find it very hard to believe that an applicant with intentional cheating, felony, rape/sexual assault, battery, or manslaughter/murder red flags will get accepted/interviewed at a medical school regardless of how much time has spanned, and what incredible activities they have done.
     
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    CyrilFiggis

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    OP, all these comments are speculative until you resolve the issue. If you have the proof, organize it and draft a letter with a clear, concise and honest account of what happened. Don't be combative, overly apologetic or emotional with your language. If you have taken other exams in that room, in that department, etc and the policy of backpack placement was inconsistent, reference that, but don't make an excuse of it. Be thorough and mature.

    But, if at the end of the day you know there is more to the story, quit now. Battling more will only dig a deeper grave.
     
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    holy holy

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    This is a large sized class so everyone usually sits next to each other in previous exams. But in the final, we moved to a larger lecture hall so that there should be a 1 space between everyone's seat. That's why I saw an empty seat and put my backpack there at the beginning, but no one reminded until the very end when I turned in the exam.
    I never had any communication with the professor before because I thought i did very well in this class.
    Is it considered as cheating? In my school, cheating lies in a different category, they just said this is violating the exam procedures
     

    Goro

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    Ditto. Remember, people also lie.

    And to OP, I think that this is fightable, so work every angle to make this go away.


    I admit that i find it very hard to believe that an applicant with intentional cheating, felony, rape/sexual assault, battery, or manslaughter/murder red flags will get accepted/interviewed at a medical school regardless of how much time has spanned, and what incredible activities they have done.
     
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    Lawpy

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    This is a large sized class so everyone usually sits next to each other in previous exams. But in the final, we moved to a larger lecture hall so that there should be a 1 space between everyone's seat. That's why I saw an empty seat and put my backpack there at the beginning, but no one reminded until the very end when I turned in the exam.
    I never had any communication with the professor before because I thought i did very well in this class.
    Is it considered as cheating? In my school, cheating lies in a different category, they just said this is violating the exam procedures

    1. Did this backpack rule apply for previous exams? Or is it just for the final?

    2. When you came in late, did you meet with your professor? If not, why?
     

    holy holy

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    1. Did this backpack rule apply for previous exams? Or is it just for the final?

    2. When you came in late, did you meet with your professor? If not, why?
    No, it's not in other exams. We are allowed to put the backpack next to the legs in previous exams.
    I met my professor to get the exam when I came in, but that's it. I thought it would be the same and he didn't say anything. I don't know why he would move to another room in the final at that time either...And the proctors saw it at the very end

    So by the time I file the petition to appeal, should I report it as an IA in the app?
     

    Lawpy

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    And by the time I filed the pe

    No, it's not in other exams. We are allowed to put the backpack next to the legs in previous exams.
    I met my professor to get the exam when I came in, but that's it. I thought it would be the same and he didn't say anything. I don't know why he would move to another room in the final at that time either...And the proctors saw it at the very end

    So by the time I file the petition to appeal, should I report it as an IA in the app?

    Since the rule only appeared in the final, you should fight it to get it removed from your records. This case can be excused as an honest mistake due to extenuating circumstances. Follow what @Affiche has suggested in her initial post and immediately end email communications.
     

    bananafish94

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    So I actually sat on the academic integrity board at my institution and I disagree with this. Some professors are unreasonable and some integrity boards/committees are very reasonable.
    I agree with this completely. The issue is that once it gets that far, it's officially in the system and the chances of a formal punishment from the school, even if it's trivial, become much higher. It looks like it might have been unavoidable in this case because the professor went directly to the disciplinary board but my philosophy is that if I were in this situation, I would much rather strike a deal with the professor to receive some sort of draconian punishment that doesn't go on my record, than to have a minor punishment (even if it's just something like writing an essay) that is formally sanctioned by the university, because then you have to put it down in AMCAS and it gets hairy.
     
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    Affiche

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    I agree with this completely. The issue is that once it gets that far, it's officially in the system and the chances of a formal punishment from the school, even if it's trivial, become much higher. It looks like it might have been unavoidable in this case because the professor went directly to the disciplinary board but my philosophy is that if I were in this situation, I would much rather strike a deal with the professor to receive some sort of draconian punishment that doesn't go on my record, than to have a minor punishment (even if it's just something like writing an essay) that is formally sanctioned by the university, because then you have to put it down in AMCAS and it gets hairy.
    A professor's report doesn't mean the student has an IA or that any disciplinary action is necessarily going to be taken, it means that the situation will be investigated. You make it sound like a report= on student's record, and that's not how it works. There is a process that committees go through to decide disciplinary action and until the incident has been investigated and a decision has been made, there's nothing officially on the student's record. Even after that happens, you can usually appeal.

    A responsible professor will report any suspected cheating to the committee, turn over evidence, and let the committee do their job. Occasionally, a professor who feels particularly sour about cheating will request a harsh punishment from the committee, but in my experience, that's usually not factored into any decision. Once it's reported, the best thing to do would be to cease communication with the professor, don't email or put anything about the situation in writing, and meet with the disciplinary committee in person to present your evidence.
     

    Affiche

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    The issue is that once it gets that far
    There is no "once it gets that far". If a professor suspects cheating, he/she is obligated to report it. He would be in breach of contract to "strike a deal" with the student. From the sound of it, the OP's case has been handled appropriately thus far and he/she needs to meet with a committee member to present a case and have this thrown out.
     
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    candbgirl

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    No, it's not in other exams. We are allowed to put the backpack next to the legs in previous exams.
    ?

    So on the floor, right? If so the requirement was pretty much the same. We're you in the class that the teacher said he stated this rule?



    Sent from my iPad using SDN mobile app
     

    holy holy

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    Hey guys, so the one that they said I violated is the issue #5a, it's different from the cheating #4. But idk if they are considered to be the same to the adcoms?
    *see the attached file*
     

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    holy holy

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    And I think I'm going to file the petition to appeal right now. But just don't know how to report it in AMCAS?
    Right now, it said "Pending: Possible honor code violation" on my transcript.
    so if I report this situation on AMCAS and the appeal process goes well later on, how could I change it on AMCAS? And vice versa.
     

    Affiche

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    And I think I'm going to file the petition to appeal right now. But just don't know how to report it in AMCAS?
    Right now, it said "Pending: Possible honor code violation" on my transcript.
    so if I report this situation on AMCAS and the appeal process goes well later on, how could I change it on AMCAS? And vice versa.
    Do not use the term "cheating" anywhere in your medical school application. If you have an IA, use the language the school uses in 5A.

    @LizzyM might be the best person to advise on how to report a pending and contested IA. If it were me, I would contact a few schools first and ask them the best way to handle the situation. I would rather leave it off my AMCAS since you won't be able to edit this off your primary if it does get thrown out later, and simply communicate the situation with the schools via email and secondary responses that request any further information. But, I'm not an expert on this area as I've never had an IA.
     

    holy holy

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    yes, plan to apply this cycle, but get into this unfortunate thing in the spring and not finished until now
     

    Affiche

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    Honestly even if you get the IA it's not the end of the world. "violating administration of an exam or other assignments" by not having your backpack in the correct location isn't exactly doomsday material. You get to explain IAs in your app and I can't imagine any reasonable adcom taking this too seriously. Maybe mimelim, but he's different lol.
     
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    holy holy

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    Do not use the term "cheating" anywhere in your medical school application. If you have an IA, use the language the school uses in 5A.

    @LizzyM might be the best person to advise on how to report a pending and contested IA. If it were me, I would contact a few schools first and ask them the best way to handle the situation. I would rather leave it off my AMCAS since you won't be able to edit this off your primary if it does get thrown out later, and simply communicate the situation with the schools via email and secondary responses that request any further information. But, I'm not an expert on this area as I've never had an IA.
    So if I didn't report it and couldn't fight against him well, so how can I change it later on?
    I don't wanna give them a lie on AMCAS but still don't know how it will be going, just start piling the evidence today
     

    LizzyM

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    If the school has not yet taken an action (institutional action) and you are still waiting for a hearing and/or appeal, then you have nothing to report at this time. However, AMCAS has some rule (look in the Manual) about reporting IAs that happen after your primary is submitted.

    You should fight this as an institutional action. As Affiche has said, the honor committee will take both sides of the story into account.

    If you are slapped with an "institutional action" then you will need to report it and as mentioned, stick to calling it a failure to comply with a rule regarding the storage of backpacks during the exam period, that the exam was given in a room that afforded the luxury of spreading out rather than placing the backpack on the floor near your feet, and that due to unavoidable circumstances, you were not in the room when the rule was announced and you were not informed when you took your place for the exam.

    Frankly, I would have pity on you, perhaps because I know how easily this could have happened to any student (including my own kids).
     
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    Affiche

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    This is exactly what the manual states:

    "I understand that I am required to inform the Admissions Office of each medical school to which I apply if I become the subject of an institutional action after the date of original application submission and prior to medical school matriculation. I understand that this communication must be in writing and must occur within ten (10) business days of the occurrence of the institutional action."

    Seems pretty simple enough to do. Submit your AMCAS without reporting it, as LizzyM said, and worry about reporting it if you end up with something to report. Until then, fight the case but keep it separate from your application.
     

    holy holy

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    Thanks everyone! That would be too helpful to me now...
     

    bananafish94

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    Thanks everyone! That would be too helpful to me now...
    Best of luck! Assuming this is the whole story, it sounds to me like this is an honest oversight on your part and that the professor is way too gung-ho about this stuff. I will never criticize somebody for making a mistake I could easily see myself or my peers making.

    On an unrelated note, as a former member of my school's disciplinary committee, some of the things that most disappoint me about the process is A) how many (likely) innocent people will get slapped with sanctions, and B) the fact that every punishment ends up with a record. I may be in the minority on this opinion, but I firmly believe that a "warning" is a very appropriate penalty for many of these cases, including something like this. I've seen enough of these to know that the process of navigating the bureaucracy and dealing with this (not to mention stress, emotional turmoil, etc.) is punishment enough for many cases.
     
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    makennacompton

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    but he took that email to the court and said it is student's responsibility to follow the rule

    Good thing Hilary Clinton didn't have this professor running the FBI on her email server violations . . .
     
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