Related University Policies and Guidelines
ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY
Academic dishonesty may take a variety of forms, ranging from criminal offenses such as stealing a test from an instructor’s office to a breach of ethics such as glancing at a classmate’s answers during a test. Academic dishonest can occur in both face-to-face and online courses. At issue is whether and to what extent a student has deliberately violated standards of academic conduct, whether stated or routinely assumed. For example, failure to acknowledge a source used in a report or paper could represent negligence or deception; there are consequences to either, of course, but the intention makes a difference in these. No one should claim credit for the work of others, misrepresent or misappropriate the work of others, or try to gain unfair advantage over others. Students in doubt about a given practice should ask the instructor.
Faculty has a professional responsibility for taking all reasonable measures to prevent academic dishonesty and for taking appropriate actions when it comes to their attention. Students also have a responsibility to fulfill, and indeed an investment to protect, in helping to ensure that academic achievement is characterized by honesty and fair play.
Students have the responsibility to report any possible instances of academic dishonesty that they may be aware of to the faculty of the course where the academic dishonesty may be suspected or to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs if they need guidance with how best to proceed.
Forms of Academic Dishonesty
Nothing distinguishes academic dishonesty from plain dishonesty except for the particular forms that it may take. Some common, but by no means exhaustive examples are these:
- Cheating on tests by giving, receiving, or soliciting unauthorized information about questions or answers.
- Submitting work actually done by another person or for another course (without the instructor’s permission).
- Plagiarizing the work of others by representing their words and/or thoughts as one’s own.
- Deliberately misrepresenting works and/or thoughts attributed to others - i.e., putting words in their mouths.
- Appropriating as one’s own or attempting to mar the programs, experiments, calculations, creations, or similar products of others’ endeavors.
- Altering documents - such as a grade on a paper, test, or transcript.
- Giving false information, e.g., concerning grade point average earned, prerequisite coursework taken, etc.
The following sanctions listed are not mutually exclusive and do not preclude other reasonable and appropriate sanctions in proven cases of academic dishonesty:
- Reduced grade for assignment or course
- Failure for the assignment or course
The severity of the sanction depends upon the seriousness of the violation. Second offenses, those involving more than one person, and those compounded by criminal actions such as theft, are examples of more serious violations. Acts of dishonesty that also break the law will be made known to local law enforcement agencies. Failure for the course is
the common penalty for even moderately serious instances of dishonesty.
- Instructors who become aware of an instance of academic dishonesty are expected to notify the student or students involved as soon as reasonably possible, ordinarily within a week. Instructors are also expected to inform their dean of the matter.
- Instructors may pursue the matter on their own and apprise the dean of the resolution, or they may refer the matter to the dean, who may convene a school committee. In either case, students accused will have the opportunity to explain their actions.
- If reasonable proof of dishonesty is ascertained, instructors may, on their own, or on the advice of the dean or committee, impose penalties up to and including failure for the course. Any penalties are to be made known to the student involved within a reasonable time, ordinarily within two weeks after the student has been confronted with the evidence.
- Instances of suspected dishonesty that do not involve a particular instructor (e.g., cheating on a school wide or standardized test) should be made known to the dean, who will pursue the matter in keeping with the process outlined above.
- The school will keep a record of proven instances of academic dishonesty. No record will be kept of any unproven allegations.
All instances of academic dishonesty involving more
than two students, repeat offenses, or possible criminal conduct should be referred to the Academic Council and any instance may be referred to the Council at the discretion of the instructor or School Dean. Also, students who feel that they have been unjustly treated may petition the Academic Council to review the matter. Referrals will be handled as follows:
- The instructor or Dean will present the evidence to the Academic Council, along with any relevant testimony.
- The student(s) involved will have the opportunity to appear before the Council, may present evidence and testimony, and may bring a witness to the proceedings.
- The Council will conduct an investigation and hearing, if needed, as expeditiously as possible, ordinarily within three weeks following the date of the referral.
- After deliberation, the Council will reach judgment and advise the Provost, with regard to the soundness of the evidence, significance of the incident, and imposition of sanctions.
- The Provost will inform the student, instructor, and Dean, (if absent from the proceedings) of the sanctions imposed, which may include probation, suspension, or expulsion.
- The Provost will keep a record of all proven instances of academic dishonesty brought before the Council. No record will be kept of any unproven allegations.