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Academic Integrity Procedures

A.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on examinations, falsifying records, submitting plagiarized work of any kind, or providing or receiving assistance in course work in a manner not authorized by the instructor.  Plagiarism is defined in the Shepherd University Catalog as “the act of stealing and using, as one’s own, the ideas of another or the written expression of the ideas of another.”

B.  Any student, administrator, staff, or faculty member may bring charges of academic dishonesty against a student.

1.  A student charged with academic dishonesty shall be accorded the presumption of innocence.

2.  Consistent with the stated process articulated below, all willful incidents of academic dishonesty are to be reported by the faculty member to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator, and to the Department Chair. Generally, any second offense of academic dishonesty will be grounds for suspension or expulsion from the University.

3.  The instructor should carefully evaluate the evidence of academic misconduct and the severity of the offense prior to imposing sanctions on a student.

a.  The instructor of record should make a charge of academic dishonesty directly to the student involved and decide on the sanctions to be imposed.

i.  Instructor-imposed sanctions for academic dishonesty include requiring work to be rewritten and resubmitted; lowering a grade; reducing the grade on the assignment, assigning a zero on the assignment; advising the student to withdraw from the class; and assigning a student a failing grade for the course in which the academic dishonesty occurred. Additionally, the instructor may recommend institutional action to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator.

ii.  For a case of academic dishonesty, an instructor may impose a penalty no greater than a failing course grade.

iii.  If an instructor believes that a student penalty greater than a failing course grade is warranted by a particular case of academic dishonesty, the instructor should:

  1. Arrange a conference with the student, the Department Chair, and the instructor, and thereafter,
  2. Submit a statement, in writing, to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator, to report the policy violation under the Student Code of Conduct, which may result in suspension or expulsion.

b.  The instructor should inform the student, in writing, of the sanctions to be imposed, the reasons for those sanctions, the availability of the appeal process, and the need to file an appeal within five days.

i.  If the student admits responsibility and accepts the instructor-imposed sanctions, the instructor should submit a written description of the offense and the sanctions to the Department Chair, the Registrar, and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator.

ii.  If the charges are denied, the accused student has five class days to contact the instructor’s Department Chair to request a conference.

iii.  If the student does not respond to the instructor’s charges of academic dishonesty by contacting the Department Chair within five days, the instructor-imposed sanctions shall be imposed, and the reported charge is thereafter maintained on the student’s record in the office of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator.

c.  When dealing with a case of academic dishonesty, the instructor may request a conference with the Department Chair and the student charged with the offense.

d.  A student who accepts a failing grade because of academic dishonesty, shall not be permitted to withdraw from that course, even if the failing grade is given prior to that semester’s official withdrawal deadline.

e.  A student who receives a failing grade in a course as the result of a charge of academic dishonesty and chooses to appeal the grade shall not be allowed to withdraw from the course unless the appeal is resolved in the student’s favor.

f.  A student who is in the process of appealing a charge of academic dishonesty has the right to remain enrolled in the class in which the charge was made until the completion of the appeal process.

4.  When brought by anyone other than the instructor of record, a charge of academic dishonesty involving a student or students in a specific course should be made to the instructor’s Department Chair who may take one of two actions.

a.  The Department Chair may refer the matter to the course instructor for appropriate action following the procedures outlined in Section VII, B, 3.

b.  The Department Chair may contact the student and the instructor directly and initiate a conference as outlined in Section VII, C.

5.  A charge of academic dishonesty that does not involve a regular academic course (e.g., falsifying records, cheating on a standardized test) should be made to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator, who will either contact the appropriate academic units or initiate action as a policy violation under the Student Code of Conduct.

6.  Separate from instructor imposed sanctions, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator has jurisdiction to potentially take institutional action under the Student Code of Conduct policies and procedures, which may include suspension or expulsion, in response to any willful academic dishonesty. In the case of a first offense, substantial deference is accorded to the intent of the faculty member.  In the case of a second offense, suspension or expulsion is presumed to be an appropriate institutional sanction.

7.  Separate from instructor imposed sanctions, some academic programs at Shepherd are limited enrollment programs and/or have specific standards of professionalism associated with the program. If the student is enrolled in such a program and is found culpable of academic dishonesty under this policy, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator shall give notice of the incident to the Department Chair of the student’s program.  The program may choose to proceed with Academic Action, as provided for in Section VIII.

8.  Any individual making a charge of academic dishonesty has the responsibility to demonstrate that a preponderance of evidence indicates that a violation has occurred.

C.  Charges of academic dishonesty in a specific course that cannot be resolved by the instructor and the student involved should be referred to the instructor’s Department Chair.

1.  A Department Chair conference can be initiated by a request from either the student or the instructor involved or by the Department Chair acting on a complaint from any member of the academic community.

a.  The conference should take place in person within 10 days of the Department Chair first receiving a request from either a student or an instructor to hold it.

b.  This conference does not constitute a hearing on the student’s responsibility for academic dishonesty.

2.  The purpose of the Department Chair conference shall be to clarify procedures and possible sanctions at this level and to coordinate further appeals.

a.  The Chair may review the evidence and recommend particular courses of action that are acceptable to both the student and the instructor.

b.  The Chair may not overturn an instructor-imposed sanction without the instructor’s consent.

c.  The Department Chair conference cannot result in any course-specific penalties being imposed on a student beyond those previously described as instructor-imposed sanctions.

3.  If, at the end of the conference, the student admits responsibility for the act of academic dishonesty and agrees to accept the sanctions proposed by the instructor and the Department Chair, those sanctions will be implemented.

a.  The Department Chair should obtain a written statement from the student who agrees to the sanctions that will be imposed as a result of the conference.

b.  The Department Chair shall forward copies of this written statement, along with a description of the offense and the instructor-imposed sanctions, to the Registrar and to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator.

4.  If, at the end of the conference, the student denies responsibility for an act of academic dishonesty, the Chair shall contact the Provost to schedule a hearing by the Academic Appeal Committee.

a.  The student may only appeal the charge of academic dishonesty itself and not the instructor’s sanctions imposed for academic dishonesty once responsibility has been established.

b.  A student who admits responsibility in a case of academic dishonesty but disagrees with the instructor-imposed sanctions cannot appeal under the Academic Integrity policies.

i.  A student must appeal a disagreement with an instructor-imposed sanction under the grade appeal procedures detailed in Section VI.

ii.  The student’s initial meeting with the instructor shall count as the meeting with the instructor under the grade appeal policy.

5.  At the end of the conference if either the faculty member or the Department Chair deems that the case warrants further disciplinary action, the Chair shall contact the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator to ascertain procedures for a violation under the Student Code of Conduct. However, all willful incidents of academic dishonesty are to be reported to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator to establish the centralized record of such offenses.

6.  If the instructor involved in the academic dishonesty dispute is a Department Chair, the Dean shall act in the capacity of a Department Chair for the purposes of the conference.

D.  Academic dishonesty disputes that are not resolved by the conference with the Department Chair should be referred to the Provost.

1.  Upon receiving a request for a hearing, the Provost shall constitute a three-member hearing board from the pool of faculty members composing the Academic Appeal Committee following the procedure outlined in Section VI, D, 1.

2.  The chair of the Academic Appeal Committee shall present, to the student and to the person making the charge of academic dishonesty, written notification of the charges, including at least the following items:

a.  A written enumeration of the charges.

b.  A statement that a hearing will be held together with a notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

c.  A clear statement of the information, data, and evidence directly supporting the proffered charges.

d.  A statement advising the student of his or her due process rights, which include:

i.  The student’s right to the presumption of innocence until responsibility can be established through a preponderance of evidence.

ii.  The student’s right to bring witnesses, to question the accuser, and to question any of the accuser’s witnesses.

iii.   The student’s right to bring an advisor to the proceedings to monitor due process.

  1. The advisor may consult with the student but may not speak on behalf of the student.
  2. The advisor may not otherwise participate directly in the proceedings unless given specific permission to do so by the Academic Appeal Committee.

3.  The Academic Appeals Committee shall review all relevant evidence in the case to determine if the student is “responsible” or “not responsible” for the act of academic dishonesty.

a.  The Committee shall interview the original instructor and the student against whom the charges have been brought.

b.  The Committee may seek additional information and may interview witnesses whose testimony is relevant to the charge of academic dishonesty.

c.  The student and the instructor have the right to bring witnesses and to question witnesses brought by the other party or by the Committee.

d.  All proceedings in the hearing must be tape-recorded, and either party in the dispute may request a copy of the tape recording at his/her own expense.

4.  Within ten days after the conclusion of the hearing, the Academic Appeal Committee shall send a written notice of its decision to both parties in the dispute, the Provost, and the appropriate Department Chair.

a.  If the Committee determines that the student is “responsible” for the act of academic dishonesty, the following will occur:

i. the instructor-imposed sanctions shall be imposed.

ii. The Committee chair shall send written notification to the Registrar and to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Student Conduct Administrator.

b.  If the Committee determines that the student is “not responsible,” then the instructor shall be required to reevaluate the student’s work with the assumption that it is not the result of an act of academic dishonesty.

i.  An instructor who has awarded the student found “not responsible” a lowered or failing grade based on the charge of academic dishonesty shall be instructed to reevaluate the student’s final grade and, if necessary, submit a grade-change form.

ii.  A student found “not responsible” for an act of academic dishonesty shall be permitted to withdraw from the course in which the charge was made, even if the withdrawal deadline has passed or a final grade has been awarded.

iii.        The hearing may only rule on the factual question of whether or not an act of academic dishonesty has occurred.

  1. The Committee is not authorized to rule on the appropriateness of instructor-imposed sanctions once the student’s responsibility has been established.
  2. The Committee is not authorized to impose any sanctions on the student beyond those initially imposed by the instructor. Either the student or the faculty member may appeal the decision of the Committee to the President of the University, whose decision shall be final.