Frequent reports in today’s media indicate that a culture of plagiarism and other dishonest acts exist in our society. New technologies combine with old temptations to increase the pressures against acting honestly in academic work.
It is imperative then, that we as a university community value intellectual and moral integrity and promote honesty in work and school as a way to succeed. We must therefore identify and penalize all violations of our shared trust as violations of the principles that inspire our institution and bind us together.
Imperatives for Honesty: Our society and the academic community promote many reasons for intellectual honesty:
- Moral: Judaeo- Christian principles underlying our moral beliefs forbid theft of others’ style and material.
- Academic: The ultimate goal of the learning experience is that one develops his or her own synthesis of knowledge, based on seriously reading and understanding the work of others; the work of others must therefore be meticulously documented as the basis for one’s own; plagiarism, the dishonest use of others’ work, invalidates the meaning of the academic experience.
- Legal: Western law protects the owner of the style and the material used by another.
- Professional: Professional ethics demand respect for the documented labor of others.
Faculty and students have the responsibility of behaving honestly in whatever ways and by whatever means they use and share information.
Honesty must be the foundation of our communication in written, spoken, artistic, scientific, symbolic, and cybernetic ways:
- Written: Essays, research papers, reports, case studies, statistical analyses, poetry, fiction, drama;
- Spoken: Speeches, class discussions, panel discussions;
- Artistic: Paintings, photographs, cartoons, musical compositions;
- Scientific: Field research, research projects, lab reports, lab examinations;
- Symbolic: Mathematical expressions, graphs, tables;
- Cybernetic: Computer databases, files, records.
As with all other character traits, honesty must be consistent if it is to be part of the moral structure of our personalities.
Faculty, students and administrators must value honesty and want to encourage and develop it among their peers and throughout their university and social communities. In an academic community placing a premium on intellectual and moral integrity, students and faculty will take equal responsibility for bringing to light any incidents that violate the shared trust. Students and faculty will avoid allowing or actively participating in acts that violate the community trust (examples: faculty will investigate suspicious documentation; students will refuse requests to cooperate with cheating and plagiarism). So that we may all agree about what behaviors honesty includes, the following contexts are provided as examples.
Honesty on examinations, tests and quizzes: The student who values integrity
- will prepare for and perform on all exams, tests and quizzes according to the professor’s directions and will consult the professor on any matters on which he or she is unsure;
- will perform on examinations, tests and quizzes using his or her knowledge and information and based on his or her own research and study efforts;
- will use during an exam only those aids that the instructor has specified and approved;
- will refuse to use crib notes, electronic devices including text messaging or instant messaging, have a substitute take an exam, give or receive unauthorized information prior to or during an exam, or alter answer sheets during test reviews.
Honesty by actions: The student who values integrity
- will respectfully and punctually use public material (e.g., tapes, records, disks, books from the library or an academic department or the Consortium) that needs to be available and in usable condition for other students;
- will not make an unauthorized copy of restricted material without permission (e.g., hard copies, videotapes, software);
- will not provide work or materials for another student to copy and submit as his or her own.
Honesty of student academic records: The student who values integrity
- will not alter or tamper with student records (e.g., transcripts, grade sheets, financial statements, references, etc.) which are the property of the University;
- will not alter or tamper with grades and assessments maintained by faculty in their records.
Honesty on written, oral, computer, artistic, and scientific assignments: The student who values integrity
- will document all distinctive language, concepts, data, ideas, statistics, symbols, formulas, graphs, designs, and the like borrowed from published, printed, spoken, or broadcast sources whether these sources are public or private, copyrighted or uncopyrighted. Failure to document written/spoken/visual/symbolic communication, style or material is plagiarism – representing the words and/or images and/or symbols, style, and content of another as one’s own;
- will document his or her research meticulously according to acceptable standards and the professor’s prescribed format; will consult the professor or an appropriate resource (e.g., the Writing Center) on any indefinite matter. (The diligent student may and should consult any legitimate resource when doing a project, such as the Writing Center, about refining his or her writing or speaking style and about ethically using others’ material as part of that project.) ;
- will not substitute words/images/symbols from another’s work as one’s own and will not rearrange syntax of another’s written document as one’s own sentence structure;
- will not represent the visual or verbal organization of another’s work as one’s own;
- will compose an individual project, or his or her segment of a group project, wholly on his or her own and will not use any deceitful behavior whereby the work of another is represented as his or her own. These deceitful behaviors include ghost-written work, inappropriate collaboration, the use of an assignment for more than one class without the instructor’s permission, the submission of photocopies of others’ work as one’s own.
Honesty in the use of computer databases and files: The student who values integrity
- will generate his or her own material and will refuse to copy other students’ disk files, databases and other electronically stored material;
- will properly cite and document all information derived from such reference sources as information retrieval services, computer bulletin boards, or CD ROM reference materials.
Students have a responsibility to comprehend and practice the honest academic behaviors that are stated and implied in this document without exception and to consult an appropriate professional resource in any case about which they are uncertain or unclear.
Students have rights when their professors question the integrity of a project. Included are the rights to:
- Receive a full explanation of the problem when a professor doubts the honesty of a written, spoken, performed, illustrated, or computerized project.
- Challenge any decision in which the documentable evidence indicates dishonest behavior on an academic process (the process that students should follow is indicated in the University’s Academic Dishonesty Appeal policy).
When an instructor has reason to believe that the academic honesty policy has been violated, the following steps will be followed:
- The instructor will notify the student that there is a concern related to academic honesty.
- The instructor will discuss with the student the reasons for this concern and provide the student with an opportunity to respond.
- If the instructor determines that a violation has occurred, then the instructor and the student will discuss the available options before the instructor makes a decision about the consequences. As part of this procedure the instructor will consult with the Office of the Provost for any previous academic honesty violations that the student may have on record.
Possible options the instructor might consider include:
- requiring the work to be redone;
- assigning a failing grade for the assignment;
- assigning a failing grade for the course or,
- The instructor, in consultation with the department chair and the School Dean, may recommend to the Provost, or designee one of the following: that the student may be dismissed from the program; that the student be suspended from the University; that the student be dismissed from the University. Academic dishonesty would not be indicated on the student’s official record as reason for failing a course, suspension or dismissal.
- In cases where it has been determined that a violation of the academic honesty policy has occurred, the instructor will file a report of the incident containing the student name and ID number, date of occurrence, the course number and title, the nature of the offense and the resulting action taken. This report will be held in a file in the office of the Provost. This file will be kept for consultation as a historical record which may be taken into consideration if future violations by the student take place.
- The decision to be imposed will be clearly communicated in writing to the student.
- The student has the right to appeal the decision using the process described below.
Every reasonable effort will be made to respect student confidentiality throughout all stages of the process.
Academic Dishonesty Appeal Process
- If the student wishes to appeal the decision, within 10 business days he/she must send a written request to the School Dean for a conference with the Dean and the instructor. The Dean will convene the conference with the instructor and the student and attempt to resolve the issues. If the instructor is a School Dean, a senior faculty member in the department, appointed by the Provost or an administrator designated by the Provost will serve in place of the Dean.
- Should the resolution be unsatisfactory to the student or the instructor, either party may submit a letter to the Provost, or designee within 10 business days of the conference in Step 1 describing his/her basis for continuing the appeal. The request should include a description of prior attempts to resolve the issue and the reasons for continuing the appeal. The Provost, or designee will collect relevant information and correspond with the instructor and student together or separately before making a final decision.
- The final decision made by the Provost or designee will be based on a review of Steps 1 and 2, materials that have been submitted and the process that has been followed. There is no further appeal.
No legal counsel will be present during the academic dishonesty appeal process. The student may withdraw the appeal at any juncture by a written request to the department chairperson who will notify the Provost, or designee.