I’ve been accused of cheating in a class that I passed a year ago, and since then I have proceeded to pass the next class in line after that class. This class was a first year class, I’m now in my second year and I’m unsure on what this means. Are universities allowed to revoke a class that I have passed and other that I have passed. I don’t understand why that would be going back through an assignment from a year ago. What happens to the classes that I have passed since then that relied on the class that I am accused of academic misconduct.
Universities have revoked degrees and titles on the basis of fraud, years or even decades after granting them. This is certainly allowed. The bar for revoking a class should be expected to be lower so this seems perfectly fine. Of course only your university can tell you the finer details of their policies.
That doesn't seem conceptually wrong to me. If you rob a bank but escape without anyone recognizing, you can't expect to keep the money either: If someone later finds out that you did it, you will have to return the money (and possibly go to jail) regardless of how far after the crime the discovery comes. (There is generally a "statute of limitations", but that's a different topic.)
So, by this analogy, I see nothing wrong ethically with a university reserving the right to revoke credit for a class you passed a long time ago if in the meantime evidence has surfaced that you cheated. The fact that you passed other follow-up courses in the meantime is unrelated -- you also can't say that you shouldn't be held accountable for the bank robbery because you have managed to invest the stolen money successfully: a crime is a crime, regardless of what you have done in the meantime.
Check if your university has an official policy and guidelines on academic integrity, as well as the possible penalties. Some universities and instructors teaching online are swamped with investigations into cheating, so long timescales are not surprising. I am not aware of any statutes of limitations, though some may exist.
are universities allowed to revoke a class?
Yes, and much worse, for gross academic misconduct.
I don’t believe that your entire prerequisite tree will collapse, that seems excessive, but you should discuss this with your department if you are indeed at fault.
In my university lecturers can opt for an informal resolution: in order to avoid the hassle and trouble of a formal disciplinary hearing and damaging a student’s record and future prospects irrevocably. Students who actually cheated and I have proof for it take this route. You should as well if you’re given the option (and are guilty).
Another thing to consider is whether you cheated on other classes. If you got caught in one class your department might check other classes. If more cases arise the consequences will be far more severe, and you may even be expelled.
Prepare to attempt to challenge/test out of the class. As you passed something that has a prerequisite it shouldn't be too hard.
I can't help you beat the charge of cheating. I can offer advise on what to do if the class falls.
If it falls, you have a hole in your class prerequisite chain. With a first-semester class such a hole may be attempted to be filled by a placement exam for some classes, but for others they may not be prepared. If you can test out of the class in the testing center (every university has one for various reasons anyway), than that would provide the prerequisite. It also provides a way to claim "I didn't need to cheat", which only carries so far with a cheating charge but it's better than nothing.
Cheating charges aren't unbeatable, but this might be a low-energy solution compared to some other things that could happen.