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Document TitleAcademic Integrity Policy
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  • Policy Document
  • Procedures
  • Guidelines
  • Form
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DOCUMENT CONTENT

I. Opening Statement

The State University of New York at Fredonia holds that the life of the mind and personal integrity go hand in hand, and are inseparable. Adherence to this philosophy is essential if we are to facilitate and promote the free and open exchange of ideas upon which our university mission relies. An essential component of the academic experience at Fredonia is the conviction that academic goals must be achieved by honorable means. It is expected, therefore, that all students attending the State University of New York at Fredonia will support and abide by all provisions of the following Academic Integrity Policy. It is further understood that by enrolling in courses, students are agreeing to the rules and regulations set forth below.

In order to protect the value of the work accomplished by each student and instructor, our academic community depends upon certain honorable standards of behavior from all its members. Fredonia trusts all students will refrain from participating in any behavior that will inhibit the pursuit of honest academic advancement. To help students avoid activities that can be construed as dishonest or as violations of academic integrity, a partial list of prohibited behaviors and activities is outlined below. This policy is not intended to limit decisions of faculty of professional programs that operate under more restrictive policies and/or have externally monitored procedures for addressing violations of academic integrity.

II. Violations of Academic Integrity Policy

Violations of academic integrity are described within four broad, overlapping categories: Fraud, Plagiarism, Cheating, and Collusion. Some examples of violations of academic integrity are described in the four categories listed below. If a student has any questions about what may or may not be an academic integrity violation, the student should discuss this with their professor.

A. Fraud

Behaving deceptively, misrepresenting one's self or another person, and falsifying official print and/or electronic documents are actions that seriously undermine the integrity of any social institution and may result in criminal prosecution.

In a university setting, fraudulent behavior includes but is not limited to:

  1. Forging or altering official school documents, whether in print or electronic form, such as grade reports or transcripts, enrollment documents, transfer credit approvals, etc.

  2. Forging or tampering with any University correspondence or medical excuses.

  3. Tampering with attendance records, such as one student signing for another student.

  4. Tampering with or interfering with grading procedures.

  5. Misreporting or misrepresenting earned credentials, including academic status, class standing, and GPA.

  6. Taking an exam in place of another student.

  7. Failing to disclose necessary information on official University forms.

  8. Falsely claiming that electronic systems or computer equipment is at fault for the student's inability to complete academic course work (e.g., inability to complete assignments due to problems with software or the printers/computers in a certain lab) or to complete administrative functions (e.g., inability to make schedule changes via "Your Connection.")

B. Plagiarism

Plagiarism consists of presenting the work of others as one's own. It is unethical to copy directly the words or work of other authors or artists without giving them credit. It is also unethical to rearrange or add a few words to another author's text while leaving the majority unaltered or to take an author's unique idea or discovery and to represent it as one's own.

Specific examples of plagiarism include, but are not restricted to, the following examples:

  1. Copying the work of another author and/or artist without giving proper credit in the text or reference to the artwork, presentation or performance; neglecting to cite the original in a footnote; and/or failing to identify full and proper documentation in the list of works cited or sampled for presentation or performance.

  2. Implying that another author's words, works, or ideas are one's own. Quoting without the use of quotation marks falsely implies originality and is, therefore, an act of plagiarism.

  3. Incorporating material into a paper or assignment without acknowledgement, verbatim corrections, or other suggestions that were made by someone other than oneself, the instructor, or an assigned editor.

  4. Taking information from one source (such as the Internet) and citing it as coming from another source (such as a required text or article).

C. Cheating

In all academic situations, any behavior that subverts the purpose of an academic assignment constitutes cheating, whether one actively commits the act of dishonesty on one's own behalf or enables someone else to do so.

Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Copying someone else's work or permitting one's own work to be copied. All work should be original to the student. Whether involvement in the copying process is active or passive, these acts constitute violations of academic integrity if a student is at all complicit.

  2. Using unsanctioned materials, notes, software, and or equipment (such as a programmable calculator).

  3. Intentionally providing or seeking questions to an exam that will be given in a later section or used as a make-up exam.

  4. Communicating or sharing information during an exam obviously constitutes cheating, as does taking an exam for someone else.

  5. Reusing work from another course without explicit instructor permission.

  6. Reusing work in a repeated course without explicit instructor permission.

D. Collusion

Most colleges and universities support opportunities for collaborative learning. However, unauthorized collaboration is considered collusion. Unless collaboration is expressly permitted by the instructor, students should work independently. Even when an instructor authorizes collaboration, collusion may still occur. In all cases, work submitted should reflect a student’s individual effort.

Examples of collusion include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

  1. Two or more students study a problem and one student formally writes and/or types the results, the other members of the group copy the results, and each individual submits the work as their own.

  2. A pair or larger group of students work on a series of problems or tasks, each student completes a portion of the problem set or task, the students combine their work, and each student submits the entire problem set or task as his/her own.

  3. A course instructor assigns a task or problem to be completed outside of class and explicitly instructs students not to discuss the task or problem with one another. A pair or larger group of students discuss or work together on the task or problem, and each individual submits the results as their own.

III. Violations of Academic Integrity Procedures

A. Classroom Level

  1. An instructor who suspects a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy will collect all information and materials related to the offense. The instructor will contact the student to present the student's charge(s) and the student will be given an opportunity to answer and explain. If the instructor and the student then agree that no violation has occurred, the matter is resolved and the process ends at this point.

  2. If, however, the instructor finds that a violation has occurred, whether the student admits or does not admit guilt, the matter must be reported to their Department Chairperson using the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form.

B. Departmental Level

  1. For all cases in which the instructor determines that the student has plagiarized, cheated, colluded, or committed any act of academic dishonesty, the instructor will submit an Academic Integrity Incident Report Form to the department chairperson. The instructor will maintain copies of all information and materials related to the offense and will disseminate the copies per request of the departmental chairperson or the Academic Integrity Review Board.

  2. After appropriate consultation and review of the materials, the chairperson and the instructor will jointly decide if the case is to be dismissed. If the case is not dismissed, they may attempt to resolve the case at the Department level or send the case on to the Academic Integrity Review Board. If charges are going to be brought against the student, the Department Chair will contact the Office of Student Conduct to determine if the student has a previous record of academic misconduct on file. If the student has a prior violation of the Academic Integrity Policy on file, the case must be sent on to the Academic Integrity Review Board for adjudication. The Academic Integrity Review Board will consider repeated violations of any or all of the provisions in the Academic Integrity Policy as grievous.

  3. If the student has no prior record of academic dishonesty, the chairperson and the instructor must decide if the case is a serious enough violation to result in suspension or expulsion. If so, the case must be sent on to the Academic Integrity Review Board for adjudication. If the charges are less serious, the Department may propose departmental sanctions including but not limited to one or more of the following sanctions: a formal warning; a grade of zero being assigned to the particular performance; a failing grade being given for the course; and/or academic disciplinary probation for one semester or one year.

  4. At this stage of the process, the Department Chair sends the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form to the appropriate Dean. In the case of a student enrolled in a teacher education program, this report should also be sent to the Dean of the College of Education. The Academic Integrity Incident Report Form will serve as a routing slip and require appropriate signatures.

C. Notification of Departmental Sanction or Referral for Hearing by the Dean

  1. The Dean will communicate the proposed departmental sanctions or referral to the Academic Integrity Review Board to the student. The Dean will also include a description of the charges to the student. A student may not drop or withdraw from a course in order to avoid a course sanction or to suspend judicial proceedings.

  2. If departmental sanctions are being proposed, the student must accept the proposed sanctions within 5 working days by signing the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form(if applicable), or appeal (See Section D) of the departmental decision. If the student does not appeal, the departmental sanctions will be imposed and the Dean will send the final Academic Integrity Incident Report Form to the academic department that originated the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form and the Office of Student Conduct.

  3. Because a student may plagiarize and/or violate the provisions of the Academic Integrity Policy in more than one department, the Office of Student Conduct will maintain the final copy of the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form in the student’s file.

D. Appeal Process

  1. Within five (5) working days of official notification, the student may decide to appeal the departmental proposed sanctions. If so, the student must officially respond and notify the Dean (via the student's official university email account). The Dean should then forward the notice of the student’s intent to appeal to the Provost, the appropriate department chair, the Director of Student Conduct, and the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board, who will call together the members of the board for a formal hearing. The Director of Student Conduct will then schedule a meeting with the student for clarification of the appeal and hearing process. Throughout the appeal process, the charged student is assumed not responsible and in most circumstances, they have the right to remain in class.

  2. After the same five (5) working days, if the student has not accepted the sanctions or appealed, the University will act upon the assumption that the student has accepted the departmental decisions and any sanctions therein.

  3. If the department has recommended sanctions outside the departmental purview (e.g. academic disciplinary probation longer than one year, suspension or expulsion), the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board and Director of Student Conduct will be notified by the Dean and a hearing will be scheduled in a timely manner. All original materials for the hearing will be transmitted to the Director of Student Conduct and a copy sent to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board.

  4. With all decisions in the appeal process, enforcement of sanctions and notification of outcomes to all parties involved will be the responsibility of the office of the appropriate Dean.

E. Academic Integrity Review Board

  1. The Academic Integrity Review Board will be convened to hear and rule on a case under any of the following circumstances:

    1. the student who has been charged has chosen to appeal the department decision,

    2. for a suspension or expulsion level case, or

    3. whenever a second or subsequent academic misconduct violation is submitted. Before the hearing, the student will attend a counseling session with the Director of Student Conduct who will fully inform the student about the process and possible outcomes. The student may decide at this point to drop or continue with the appeal process, if that was the reason for the hearing.

  2. A charged student has the right to select a willing student, faculty member, or an administrative staff member of the University to advise them throughout the review process. To avoid conflicts of interest, this advisor may not be selected from the members of the Academic Integrity Review Board. If the student wishes to have an attorney present at the hearing as an advisor, the Chair will need to be notified at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing. The attorney may advise the student during the hearing, but will not be permitted to respond for the student.

  3. The Provost will establish a pool of eligible members to serve on the Academic Integrity Review Board. These members will undergo training before serving on a convened hearing board. Members will serve for two-year terms with the option of renewal. Terms should be staggered whenever possible to provide continuity. At least one member from each category below is required to hold a hearing. A quorum of four members including at least one student representative will be selected from the following categories:

    1. The Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board is a full-time tenured faculty member, appointed by the Provost and subsequently approved by the University Senate. The Chair’s term will be two years with the option of renewal, pending reappointment and approval. The Chair of the Board will have the responsibility of determining whether a hearing should be held, convening the Board, and presiding over hearings.

    2. The Director of Student Conduct, or other representative of the Office of Enrollment and Student Services, will provide the Board access to pertinent Student Disciplinary records and will participate as an ex officio, non-voting member of the Academic Integrity Review Board. Before witnesses speak or before questions are asked, the representative from Enrollment and Student Services will present a brief summary of the case, based on the evidence submitted and the interview with the student.

    3. At least one, but preferably two, undergraduate (or graduate, if pertinent) student representatives. These two students should have majors in different academic units. Students may be selected from the pool of students serving as Campus Judicial Board members.

    4. A chairperson from an academic department other than the department in which the charge originated.

    5. At least one faculty member, but preferably two, from departments other than the department initiating the charges and the department chair serving on the committee. Such members may be selected from the pool of faculty serving as members of the Campus Judicial Board.

  4. Other parties and witnesses may be invited by the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board or by the student. These witnesses may be called before the Academic Integrity Review Board to provide testimony. Normally, the faculty member bringing the charges is also invited to the hearing to answer any questions that arise. 

  5. After the presentation of the summary of the case by the Director of Student Conduct, the student will answer to the charges by pleading responsible or not responsible. The Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board (after prior consultation with the assembled Board) may call witnesses. The student who has been charged may also call witnesses. All participants in the hearing will be informed that deliberations are to remain strictly confidential. Hearings of the Academic Integrity Review Board will be recorded to provide a record of the proceedings and these recording will be stored in the Office of Enrollment and Student Services.

  6. After the hearing, the Academic Integrity Review Board will deliberate in private and make a formal decision. In the final determination, each of the members of the acting board, including the Chair of the Board, and excluding the Director of Student Conduct, will cast a single and equally weighted vote. In the event of a tie vote concluding a case, the Chair of the Board will cast an additional vote. Voting will be conducted by written ballot, and will be tallied by the Chair of the Board. The results will be disclosed to acting Board members, who are not to disclose either the board’s determination or any specifics related to the voting.  

  7. Within one week of the final determination of the case, the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board will complete a written hearing report and will send electronic copies to the Provost and the Dean that referred the case. The final report of the Academic Integrity Review Board will include the following:

    1. A determination of “Not Responsible” (no violation of the Academic Integrity Policy has been found) or Responsible (the student has been found responsible for the charged violation on the basis of the evidence submitted or has admitted guilt).

    2. If the student has been found “Responsible” for violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the penalty must be specified. Sanctions or penalties imposed should be commensurate with the offense and will take into account any previous violations of the Academic Integrity Policy as evident in the student disciplinary records on file.

  8. The Provost will send an official notification letter informing the student of the hearing outcome, sanctions imposed, if any, and an explanation of the appeal process. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the Director of Student Conduct. If the student has been suspended or expelled, a copy of the official letter will also go to the President’s Office. On the same day the Review Board’s decision is communicated to the student by the Provost, the instructor, chairperson in whose department the charge originated, chairperson of the student’s major department, and the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services will be informed of the board’s decision electronically (i.e. via Fredonia e-mail). If the student is a teacher education student, the Dean of the College of Education will also be notified.

  9. Should the student decide to appeal the Academic Integrity Review Board’s decision, he or she may do so in a written justification to the President of the University, but only if/when the substance of the presented case has changed (i.e., additional and significant new evidence is discovered) or if there has been some sort of procedural error that would affect the outcome of the hearing. The written appeal must be received within 5 working days following the student notification of the hearing outcome.

F. Maintenance of Academic Integrity Records

Records of all academic integrity violation cases will be kept in the Office of Enrollment and Student Services for 10 years.

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