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I had my finals for mg chemistry lecture. When I was starting my examination my professor went to my side and picked up a piece of paper then I realized it was the formula card that one of my classmate created.

Then after the exam my professor talked to me. First he was saying that I keep on looking at my seatmate but I defended that I it was just a glance because of the noise created by my seatmate and that because it distracted me. After that he show the card hand asked me to explain about it. I told him that I didn't see it and that it is not mine but he kept on saying that it would be impossible for me to not see it. I called for my classmate, who is the owner of the card, and she was asked if it was hers. She said that I must've fallen of her bag. But my professor keep on insisting that I tried to cheat with the use of that card.

I am so frustrated because if you would try to look at it on my view you cannot see the formula card. I swear that I really did not see it and I didn't even thought of cheating. I don't know what would I do to prove my innocence especially that I'm just a student and the staffs of our college would not believe me. Can you give an advice? And also it would not be the end of my studying right? I would be able to continue my studies even though of what happened?

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    You need to resolve this locally. But it looks pretty bad.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 17:44
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    You see, so many students try to cheat that having a card with a cheat solution on your table/side is pretty much making it very difficult to prove the opposite. Especially since many students keep lying even after proof is piled on proof that they have been cheating. Let's assume you say the truth, how is the professor going to be able to distinguish that from a cheat sheet prepared for you? How is the professor going to be able to be convinced that this card was not set out for your use by your friend? That's why it is not only essential to not cheat, but also to not seem to be cheating. Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 18:44

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You're in trouble. Based on the description the evidence against you is strong. Just about the only thing you can do is cast doubt on the evidence.

First he was saying that I keep on looking at my seatmate but I defended that I it was just a glance because of the noise created by my seatmate and that because it distracted me.

You could conceivably find others seated nearby who were also distracted. However, this isn't a good defense in any case: if it's distracting you could've told the invigilator. Repeatedly looking at other students during an exam is inexcusable.

After that he show the card hand asked me to explain about it. I told him that I didn't see it and that it is not mine but he kept on saying that it would be impossible for me to not see it.

You need to prove it: given the location of the card and your seating posture, you could not have seen it. Offer to re-enact the exam, sit at the same seat, and place the card where the professor picked it up. Warning, this can go the other way; it can easily prove that it is indeed impossible for you not to see it.

I called for my classmate, who is the owner of the card, and she was asked if it was hers. She said that I must've fallen of her bag.

Again you need to prove it: prove by re-enacting it that it's possible for the card to fall out of the bag. Again, fair warning, this can go the other way; it can easily prove that unless the card was literally not stored, it cannot have fallen out of the bag.

Because the evidence against you is strong, weak defenses (such as "I don't remember where I sat" or plain denials) is not likely to work. If you can refute the last two points then you could apologize for the first and argue it's not enough to prove you're guilty.

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  • My worry is that "proof" is impossible here. The professor sees two strikes.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 22:51
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what would I do to prove my innocence

What is your schools procedures? You should read the entire rule book right now. Common sense dictates they should use "innocent unless proven guilty". Normally I would say the acusing party should be worried about proving anything.

With that said, depending on the school or disciplinary commitee you might actually be required to prove your innocence. Your best bet I would say is to take a written statement of your classmate (if they can join the hearing it is better) and prepare your statement in line with what I have discussed with the proctor. It is quite hard to prove you are innocent even if you are. I think your best bet is to reflect what has happened clearly, without hessitation to the deciding party and hope decide there is not sufficent evidence to imply you have cheated.

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  • yes. sorry. I'm editing it. Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 20:25
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    Actually, "presumed innocent until proven guilty" is a US legal concept that isn't shared worldwide, or even outside the criminal justice system in the US. While it makes sense, it may not apply.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 22:05
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    @Buffy it is not shared world wide but as far as I am aware it is very much common. Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 23:01
  • It very well might be “preponderance of evidence” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt”, because that’d be the standard of evidence that the court would apply if he were to sue the university over a wrongful punishment.
    – nick012000
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 4:35

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