Procedure 219: Student Academic Integrity

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University Procedure #219

Section 1.        Purpose

This procedure is designed to implement Academic Integrity Policy #2190 by defining violations of academic integrity, detailing sanctions for violations of academic integrity, and describing processes associated with such violations.

Section 2.        Authority

This procedure is issued pursuant to authority granted under the Rules and Regulations of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).

Section 3.        Effective Date

This procedure shall become effective upon signature by the president and shall remain in effect until modified or expressly revoked.

Section 4.        Responsibility

Responsibility for administrative oversight of this Procedure is given to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Section 5.        Definition of Violations

Any behavior or activity that seeks or achieves misrepresentation of the originality of a student’s work, or damage to another student’s work, constitutes a violation of academic integrity. The following violations of academic integrity suggest typical categories of offenses and a few examples, but it is by no means an exhaustive or definitive list.  If a student is unsure about an issue pertaining to academic integrity, she or he should solicit guidance from the faculty member before acting or submitting work.  

Cheating: deliberately engaging in acts of deception to create an unfair advantage for the cheater, usually by attempting to use inadmissible sources of information or assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, copying another student’s answers (including work from prior semesters) on an assignment; obtaining unauthorized content, materials, or information about a test before it is administered; referring to notes in any form during a quiz or examination when no notes are allowed; using a computer or calculator to solve a problem students were instructed to complete without assistance; or unauthorized collaboration in the preparation of assignments, lab reports, papers, or take-home examinations.

Academic Misconduct: a broad category of offenses which attempt to undermine the impartiality of the grading process. Examples include trying to bribe an instructor for a better grade; threatening violence unless a particular grade is received; lying about a personal crisis in order to receive an extension on an assignment; and falsely reporting completion of work for a practicum, internship, or any other type of academic activity. 

Academic Fraud: serious academic offenses characterized by misrepresentations of methods, results, or sources.

Fabrication: inventing sources or data and then referring to them as if they were real sources. Citing an invented article in a research paper, or making up data, are a few examples of fabricating materials.

Falsification: misrepresenting a source or changing data. Claiming that a source supports a particular stance when it actually opposes it, taking a statement out of context, selectively editing a document or image, or willfully distorting the results of a study or experiment, are examples of falsification. Other forms of falsification include data fudging, data massaging, or omission of data.

Forgery: unauthorized interference with official university documents and records, including illicit changing of grades on transcripts, illegitimate use of university letterhead, forging an advisor or instructor’s signature, or misrepresentation of academic credentials. 

Plagiarism:  presenting another person’s words, ideas, images, graphs, statistics, sound clips, charts, or other original material as one’s own.  Plagiarism includes copying paragraphs, sentences, or parts of sentences from online or print sources without documenting the author and source; repeating another writer’s idea (even in new words) without citing that author; including an unattributed image or graph in a paper;  or submitting a paper wholly or partially written by another person.  Plagiarism can occur in any academic assignment submitted to fulfill course requirements, whether a minor assignment such as a lab report or a major assignment such as a paper. 

Merely replacing words with synonyms, while retaining the original syntax is not sufficient to avoid plagiarism.  Quotations, paraphrases, summaries, and statistics must be cited in the body of the paper as well as in Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page at the end of the paper.

Double Submission: the attempt to submit the same assignment for more than one course. Unless the student has express written permission from the instructor(s), the student is not allowed to satisfy the course requirements for two different courses with the same assignment.

Collusion: any intentional attempt to help another student commit any of the violations of academic integrity listed above. Collusion includes, but is not limited to, letting someone copy during an exam, engaging in unauthorized collaboration on an assignment, obtaining or transmitting content or information about tests by unauthorized means, or rewriting passages in someone else’s paper without clearly documenting those contributions.

Academic programs may define and publish additional examples of violations of academic integrity that are specific to the ethical and professional expectations of a given field of study or practice.

Section 6.        Academic Integrity Policy Sanctions

Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy are assessed according to frequency and varying levels of severity.

First-Level Violations:

For a first-time offense, faculty must submit a violation referral and recommend additional educational intervention arranged at the discretion of the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs. The referral should include the student’s name, evidence of the violation, and the sanction(s) the instructor has imposed.

A violation may be considered first-level if the violation affects a small proportion of the course’s overall grade or would not have increased a student’s grade in the course significantly.

Examples of first-level violations include but are not limited to:

  • unauthorized collaboration on a homework assignment or lab;
  • copying from another student during a quiz or examination;
  • using unauthorized materials during an exam;
  • providing unauthorized assistance to someone on an examination;
  • using the work of collaborators on an assignment or laboratory report without acknowledging their contributions;
  • failing to acknowledge sources of material once in a major assignment; or
  • submitting the same work, or major portions of the same work, to satisfy the requirements of more than one course without written permission from the instructor(s).

The faculty member will levy sanctions commensurate with the course syllabus. These may include but are not limited to:

  • assigning a zero for the assignment;
  • requiring a make-up assignment;
  • requiring an additional assignment about the ethical implications of breaches of academic integrity; and/or
  • assigning additional practice in proper citation methods.

The Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs will levy the following sanctions for a first-level violation:

  • sending the student a Breach of Academic Integrity Letter informing the student about the violation of the Academic Integrity Policy and the action(s) taken by the instructor; and

requiring additional educational intervention (e.g., online workshops, conferences with designated faculty).

A copy of Breach of Academic Integrity Letter will be placed in a discreet AIP file on the student maintained by the office of the Provost / Vice President of Academic Affairs but will not be made public or attached to transcripts or other records. It should notify the student of his or her right to appeal (University Procedure #300 Academic Appeal).

Second-Level Violations:

Second-level violations are serious breaches of academic integrity. These violations involve premeditated dishonesty or repeated ethics violations and result in disciplinary procedures.

Examples of second-level violations include, but are not limited to:

  • committing a second first-level violation;
  • altering an exam or assignment and submitting it for re-grading;
  • acquiring or distributing an exam answer key from an unauthorized source;
  • making unauthorized copies of examination materials;
  • committing plagiarism that exceeds the first-level violation threshold (e.g., using unattributed sources more than once within a major paper or submitting an assignment written by someone else); or
  • fabricating research data.

The Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs will levy the following required University sanctions for second-level violations:

  • assigning disciplinary failure for the course;
  • sending the student a copy of Breach of Academic Integrity Letter documenting the student’s academic integrity policy violation, history of violations (if applicable), and disciplinary action(s) taken; and
  • requiring additional educational intervention (e.g., online workshops, conferences with designated faculty).

A copy of Breach of Academic Integrity Letter will be placed in the student’s file but will not be made public or attached to transcripts or other records. It should notify the student of his or her right to appeal (University Procedure #300 Academic Appeal). 

Third-Level Violations:

Third-level violations are serious breaches of academic integrity. These violations involve gross dishonesty or repeated ethics violations and result in severe disciplinary procedures.

Examples of third-level violations include but are not limited to:

  • a third first-level offense as tracked by the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs;
  • forgery, theft, or falsification of University documents or credentials;
  • fulfillment of course requirements by someone other than the student (which results in third-level violations for both students);
  • fabrication of evidence, falsification of data, or any instance of plagiarism in a senior thesis, capstone paper, master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or conference presentation; and/or
  • willful violation of the ethical code of the profession for which the student is preparing.

The Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs will levy the following required University sanctions for third-level violations:

  • sending the student a copy of the Breach of Academic Integrity Letter documenting the student’s academic integrity policy violation, history of violations (if applicable), and disciplinary action(s) taken. The letter should inform the student of his or her right to appeal (University Procedure #300 Academic Appeal); and 
  • administering disciplinary suspension or permanent expulsion from the University with a notation of “academic disciplinary separation” on the student’s transcript.  Permanent expulsion will result in an additional legislatively-required due process hearing by the Board of Trustees.

Section 7.        Appeals

Every student has the right to a fair hearing. Any student who faces course and/or Academic Integrity Policy sanctions may appeal by initiating a Formal Academic Appeal, University Procedure #300. 

An instructor’s report of an academic integrity violation shall not be overturned unless there is clear and convincing proof that the instructor’s assessment was arbitrary and/or capricious and unfair to the student.

The student may also contact the university’s Ombudsperson. As a neutral party, the Ombudsperson is responsible for helping a student understand and navigate the appeals process and ensuring that a student receives due process. The Ombudsperson does not supplant the student’s right to also have an advocate present.

Section 8:       Availability of Policy and Procedure

During orientation, students shall be informed of Academic Integrity Procedure #2xx and Academic Integrity Policy # 2190. Annually, and upon amendment, the University will notify students of the availability and location of the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. A copy of the policy and procedure will be posted on the University website and at appropriate campus locations.

Section 9.        Review

These procedures will be reviewed and modified as appropriate pursuant to Academic Integrity Policy #2190.                         

Section 10.      Signatures 

Issued on the 6th day of January 2014   

 

     

Virginia Arthur, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

 

Sue K. Hammersmith, President