Faculty Course of Action When Academic Dishonesty Is Suspected

Academic honesty and integrity lie at the heart of any educational enterprise. Students are expected to do their own work and neither to give nor to receive assistance during quizzes, examinations, or other class exercises.

Reporting academic dishonesty

Click here to access the online form if you are familiar with the reporting process for academic honesty violations.

If you are not familiar with the reporting process, please read the information below, which pertains to undergraduate students only. Faculty with academic honesty concerns involving a graduate student should contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Steps to reporting academic dishonesty of undergraduate students

Review the material to ensure that there is sufficient support for a charge of academic dishonesty. You may wish to meet with the student to discuss their suspicion. The staff of the Office of Student Conduct are available to consult with faculty members on aspects of academic honesty violations.

Contact the Office of Student Conduct (click here) to determine the student’s disciplinary history and to identify the appropriate option for the case.

Choose an Option (A, B, or C). Refer to this chart [PDF] and consider the criteria for each option. In addition, please consider:

  • How extensive is the problem?
  • How much is the assignment/exam worth?
  • Is it a major or minor assignment?
  • What does your syllabus say about how you will file cases of alleged academic honesty policy violations with the Office of Student Conduct?
  • What would the faculty member of another class section choose?
  • What is your department’s policy/stance regarding academic dishonesty?
  • Do you need to consult with your supervisor/department chair?
  • Note that any student who has a prior history of academic dishonesty must be brought in under Option C.

For cases involving multiple students, you may choose a different option and/or academic penalty for each student, depending on the extent of their involvement.

We recommend that you inform the student that a case of academic dishonesty is pending. This may be done in person or via email. Let the student know that the Office of Student Conduct (or Office of Graduate Studies) will be in contact with the student with more information. You do not need to go into specifics about the incident nor allow the student to “argue” their case. You should continue to work with the student on other course-related work.

Complete this online form. Include a summary of the incident, names of those involved (charged students and witnesses) and the academic penalty chosen, keeping in mind the penalty may be different for each co-charged student.

Submit all supporting documents for the case. Please make every effort to provide the case materials within five (5) days of identifying the alleged violation. In a plagiarism case, materials will ideally be a copy of the student’s work and a copy of the text or website that the student’s work matches. In a cheating case, the case materials will be a copy of each student’s work: the student getting the help as well as the person giving the help. Documents may be attached to the online form (preferred), sent as an email attachment, via Campus Mail or hand-delivered. The original copy of the assignment, test, or examination should be kept by you. A photocopy of the work must be made available for sharing with the charged student. If you wish for the student to review, but not keep, any of the supporting documents, please indicate this when completing the form.

If using Canvas, do not assign the grade (with penalty) for the assignment. Leave blank or assign a grade of “Incomplete” if possible. If near the end of the term, assign the student a course grade of “Incomplete” until the case is resolved.

Sanctions for violations of the Academic Honesty Policy

A range of possible sanctions exist for cases of academic dishonesty. In addition to an academic penalty (determined by the faculty member), administrative sanctions may also be applied.

It is important to understand that an administrative hearing officer cannot find a student responsible of academic dishonesty without a reasonable level of factual substantiation of the charge. The burden of responsibility for all violations of the Code of Conduct is preponderance, meaning it is more likely than not a violation occurred. The faculty member reporting the alleged violation is responsible for demonstrating that a student was academically dishonest.

It is contrary to University policy for a faculty member to lower a grade on an academic work or academic exercise when a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy is suspected without working with the Office of Student Conduct or the Office of Graduate and Professional Education. Such an independent action violates the student’s guaranteed right to due process and leaves the faculty member vulnerable to a grade grievance.

Similarly, students are prohibited from proposing and/or entering into an agreement with a faculty member to receive a grade of “F” or any reduced grade on an academic exercise or in the course so as to avoid being charged with a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.

Listed below are the options under which academic dishonesty charges can be filed. The actions listed within each option will not preclude additional sanctions. Students with past violations of the Academic Honesty Policy will be handled under Option C and in concert with other policies.

For all options, if a student participates in an administrative hearing or appeal, the academic penalty assigned as a result cannot be more stringent than penalty originally recommended by the faculty member.

Sanction Options

Option A: The faculty member may require the student to repeat any work affected by the academic violation. When the faculty member chooses to have the student repeat affected work, the faculty member may impose a grade penalty on that work.

Option B: The faculty member may issue the student a lower or failing grade on all or any portion of the work affected by the academic violation, nay issue a a lower or failing grade in the course or may require that the student be withdrawn from the course.

Option C: The student will receive a failing grade in the class in which the offense occurred, and an “X” will be placed next to the “F” on the student’s University transcript, with an explanation on the transcript that the failure resulted from the student’s academic violation.

The student who wishes to remove the “X” from the transcript may complete a non-credit seminar at the University addressing the academic violation and the ethical and social ramifications of violations. Once completed, the “X” notation will be replaced with a course grade of “F”.