Academic Integrity

Students, faculty, and administrators share responsibility for the determination and preservation of standards of academic integrity.  Not only must they adhere to their own personal codes of integrity and comply with University community standards, but they must also be prepared to educate others about the importance of academic integrity, to take reasonable precaution to discourage violations of academic integrity, and to adjudicate violations.

For students, education about the importance of academic integrity begins during the admissions process.  The centrality of integrity to the academic enterprise is reinforced during new student orientation when students engage in discussion about academic integrity.  Specific mention of academic integrity and course-specific guidelines should be presented in all classes.  Programs and instruction about academic integrity guidelines also should be offered throughout the students' undergraduate career.

Faculty and students are expected to uphold standards of academic integrity by taking reasonable precaution in the academic arena.  Reasonable precaution involves implementing measures that reduce the opportunities for academic misconduct but do not inhibit inquiry, create disruption or distraction in the testing environment, or create an atmosphere of mistrust.

The vitality of academic integrity is dependent upon the willingness of community members to confront instances of suspected wrongdoing. The faculty have a specific responsibility to address suspected or reported violations as indicated below.  All other members of the academic community are expected to report directly and confidentially their suspicion of violation to a faculty member or a dean or to approach suspected violators and to remind them of their obligation to uphold standards of academic integrity.

Definition of Violations

All forms of academic dishonesty including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, obstruction, and submitting without permission work to one course that was completed for another course are violations of academic integrity standards.

  • Cheating includes but is not limited to copying from another's work; falsifying problem solutions or laboratory reports; or using unauthorized sources, notes or computer programs; or otherwise failing to follow the instructions or procedures in place for a particular testing situation.
  • Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the presentation, without proper attribution, of another's words or ideas from printed or electronic sources.
  • Misrepresentation includes but is not limited to forgery of official academic documents, the presentation of altered or falsified documents or testimony to a university office or official, taking an exam for another student, or lying about personal circumstances to postpone tests or assignments.
  • Obstruction includes by is not limited to engaging in unreasonable conduct that interferes with another's ability to conduct scholarly activity, such as destroying a student's computer file, stealing a student's notebook, and interfering with a student's access to course materials.
  • Submitting without the instructor's consent an assignment in one class previously submitted or being submitted in another class violates academic integrity standards because it interferes with the learning expected from the assignment and the course.

Discussing, Reporting and Adjudicating Violations

If any member of the University community suspects that an undergraduate student has violated academic integrity standards, they shall advise the student and the department chair and consult with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies about the appropriate course of action.  Before speaking with the student, they also may choose to consult with the chair or dean about academic integrity standards.  If, in consultation with the dean, it is determined that the evidence is not adequate to charge the student with a violation, the matter will be dropped.  Otherwise, the following procedures will be followed.

Reporting Procedures

If the faculty member and the student agree that a violation has occurred, the faculty member shall choose either to sanction the student or to refer the case to the academic integrity board.  If the faculty member chooses to sanction the student, the minimum sanction is failure in the work in question and the maximum sanction is failure in the course.  The faculty member will be provided with a standard reporting form to be signed by both the student and faculty member.  As the faculty member will not know whether any prior violations have occurred, all alleged violations should be treated as if they are first violations.  Upon completion, the reporting form and all documentation should be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

The case will be referred by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for Academic Integrity Board action if any of the following apply:

  • The student claims not to have violated academic integrity standards.
  • The student disagrees with the sanction imposed by the professor (provided that the sanction is greater than the minimum).
  • The faculty member believes that the seriousness of the first offense warrants presentation to the Academic Integrity Board.
  • The faculty member, after consultation with the dean, prefers to have the Academic Integrity Board investigate or adjudicate the alleged violation, or prefers that the Board sanction the student.
  • The case is not the student's first violation of the Academic Integrity Policy.
  • The student is not enrolled in the faculty member's course.

First Violations

If upon receipt by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards the violation is confirmed to be a first violation (the University has no record of a previous academic integrity violation by the student), the case will proceed as indicated on the completed reporting form.

Students found responsible for a first violation will be required, in addition to any other sanctions, accepted or imposed, to attend an ethics education program or to complete an ethics exercise as assigned by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or their designees.

Subsequent Violations

If the university conduct file indicates that the student suspected of a violation has been responsible for one or more previous violations of the university's Academic Integrity Policy, the case will be referred by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for Academic Integrity Board action.

Misrepresentation and Obstruction

Reports of suspected academic misrepresentation or obstruction occurring in settings other than the classroom will be referred by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for Academic Integrity Board action.

Academic Integrity Board

The Academic Integrity Board is a pool of student and faculty volunteers trained to adjudicate academic integrity violations.  Prospective undergraduate student members are identified by already serving undergraduate student members and approved by the Undergraduate Student Government.  Prospective faculty members are identified by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education.

If a suspected or known violation of academic integrity standards warrants consideration by the Academic Integrity Board, the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or designee will convene an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel selected from approved members of the Academic Integrity Board.  All Panel members must have been previously appointed to the Academic Integrity Board as outlined above.

The Panel will be composed of three students (voting members), two faculty (voting members), and two administrators (non-voting members).  One administrator will normally be a dean from the Office of Undergraduate Studies.  The other administrator will normally be a representative of the Office of Student Affairs and will chair the Board.  All members of the Panel may question anyone providing information to the Panel.

The Panel's determination of responsibility shall be made on the basis of whether there is a preponderance of the evidence (defined as whether it is more likely than not) that the student violated the Academic Integrity Policy.  At least a simple majority of voting members must agree that there is a preponderance of the evidence supporting responsibility for a violation.

If any student or faculty member of an Academic Integrity Panel is absent from a scheduled hearing due to unforeseen reasons, the hearing may proceed only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The student charged with an alleged academic integrity violation agrees to proceed.
  • An Undergraduate Studies dean is present and agrees to proceed.
  • A Hearing Panel chair is present and agrees to proceed.
  • At least three voting members of the scheduled Hearing Panel are present, including at least one student and one faculty member.

Should the Panel find the student not responsible for a suspected violation, the faculty member and the student will be informed in writing, in a timely manner, of the Panel's finding and of the reasoning behind the Panel's decision.  The faculty member will be asked to evaluate the student's performance on the assignment in question and to issue a grade based on his or her normal grading practices.

If the Panel finds a student responsible for a violation of academic integrity standards, the faculty member and the student will be informed in writing, in a timely manner, of the Panel's finding and of the reasoning behind the Panel's decision.  The Panel can sanction violations by issuing failure in the work in question, failure in the course, university warning, university disciplinary probation, university separation, or expulsion from the university.

In cases in which the student does not accept responsibility for a first violation but is found responsible by an Academic Integrity Panel, the Panel may not impose a sanction greater than that originally proposed by the faculty member.  In cases in which the student accepts responsibility for a first violation but does not accept the sanction, the Academic Integrity Panel may assign a sanction no greater than the sanction proposed by the faculty member.

In cases in which the Academic Integrity Panel finds a student responsible for a second or subsequent violation, the minimum sanction will be failure in the course; the maximum penalty will be expulsion from the university.  Prior violations of the Academic Integrity Policy may be taken into account when determining sanctions.  Prior academic integrity allegations for which the student was found not responsible may not be taken into account when determining sanctions.

If the Academic Integrity Panel finds a student responsible for misrepresentation or obstruction, the minimum sanction will be university disciplinary probation; the maximum penalty will be expulsion from the university.

Appeals

A decision reached by an Academic Integrity Panel may be appealed by the student within five business days (days the University is open, including student breaks) from the time the hearing decision is made available.  Appeal petitions shall be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

An appeal shall be limited to review of the appeal petition, information available at the hearing, the verbatim record of the hearing, and supporting documents for one or more of the following grounds:

  • There is evidence that established procedures were not followed in a manner that would have significantly affected the hearing outcome.
  • There is new information not available at the time of the hearing that would have significantly affected the hearing outcome.
  • The sanctions are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.

Three members of the University Student Affairs leadership team will determine whether an appeal falls within any of the above criteria.  If it is determined that the appeal petition does not meet these criteria, the appeal will be denied.  If it is determined that the appeal petition meets one or more of these criteria, the case will be forwarded to a full appeal panel.  An appeal panel shall be chaired by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and consist of two students and two faculty from the Academic Integrity Board with no prior participation in the original Academic Integrity Panel or conflict of interest with anyone involved in the case.

The appeal panel will limit the scope of the review to the grounds outlined above.  If an appeal is granted based on either of the first two criteria listed above, the case may be returned to the original Academic Integrity Panel to allow reconsideration of the original decision.  If an appeal is granted on the basis of the third criterion above, the appeal panel may render new sanction(s).  If an appeal is not granted, the matter shall be considered closed and the original outcome binding on all parties involved.

Violations Reported After Voluntary Withdrawal or Academic Separation

Suspected violations of academic integrity standards reported after a student voluntarily withdraws or is academically separated will be investigated and adjudicated.  A student who withdraws or is academically separated during the investigation and adjudication of a suspected violation may be asked to appear at a hearing or, if the student fails to appear, have their case heard in absentia.  If the student is found responsible for a violation, sanctions can be imposed.

Violations Reported After Graduation

In the event that a suspected violation of academic integrity standards is reported after graduation, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or their designee will make a determination as to the feasibility of investigation and adjudication.  Graduation will not preempt investigation or adjudication of a suspected violation when those processes are feasible.  If a student is found responsible for a violation and the sanction imposed makes the student ineligible to earn his or her degree, the degree may be revoked.

Maintenance of Records

Violations of academic integrity standards are considered violations of the university's Standards of Conduct and will be recorded in the student's conduct record.  University conduct files are maintained by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Division of Student Affairs.