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Why is it important to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the Office of Student Conduct?
The Office of Student Conduct serves as the central reporting location for academic honesty violations. Reporting incidents of dishonesty to OSC allows for patterns and trends to be identified, whether that be for a particular student or for a certain major or department. Identifying trends might allow for training with specific departments or colleges.
Reporting allows for formal intervention by OSC with individual students and prevents multiple instances of dishonesty across courses or semesters.
Reporting ensures the student’s due process rights, as required in the Student Guide to University Policies, are observed. Reporting also protects you as the faculty member from a grade grievance.
What does reporting an incident entail?
Reporting an incident includes first contacting the Office of Student Conduct to inquire if the student in question has had any prior academic honesty violations. (If there have been prior academic violations, this would likely influence your next steps.) You would then determine an academic penalty for the case and which resolution option you wish to pursue. One option, as described in the Faculty Handbook would result in an academic penalty only. The other option, as described in the Student Guide to University Policies would result in additional educational and disciplinary sanctions.
You would notify the Office of Student Conduct of the incident and chosen option. Once the incident is reported, staff in the Office of Student Conduct will contact the student for appropriate information-sharing and follow up. You as the faculty member will be updated as the case progresses.
Should I talk to the student about the case?
If you want to gather more information from the student while you are determining if information warrants reporting to the Office of Student Conduct, then you may speak with the student. For example, if you receive two assignments from students that are very similar (or in some instances exactly the same), you might want to talk to the students to determine how the similarity came to be.
Once you submit an incident, it is recommended you inform the student that you have submitted an incident to the Office of Student Conduct. You do not need to go into details or discuss the academic penalty you recommended. Tell the student to expect more detailed information from the Office of Student Conduct. This may be done in person or via e-mail.
Beyond the notification to expect more information, communication about the case should not occur without the assistance of the Office of Student Conduct. If the student wants to talk about other things (regarding the course or perhaps a non-academic concern), you may speak with the student.
What are a student's options for resolution?
For incidents submitted via the Faculty Handbook process, you and the student reached a resolution, so no further options are available.
For incidents submitted via the Student Guide to University Policies process, the student has three options:
- Accept responsibility for violating the Academic Honesty Policy and accept all recommended sanctions, meaning the case is closed.
- Accept responsibility for violating the Academic Honesty Policy but reject recommended sanctions, resulting in a written appeal process.
- Deny responsibility for violating the Academic Honesty Policy, resulting in an in-person hearing and possibly a written appeal.
How long does the conduct process take?
The time frame depends on what option the student chooses after meeting with Office of Student Conduct staff. If a student accepts responsibility and all recommended sanctions, the case may conclude within a week after reporting it. If a student exercises their right to a hearing or appeal, it may take an additional two to three weeks.
While a case in being processed, is the student permitted to attend my class?
In most instances, yes. It is important that a student be given the opportunity to continue making progress in the course while the case is progressing. The conduct process focuses on an individual incident, rather than the overall performance of the student in the course. Not allowing the student to attend class would negatively impact their final course grade (which is a reflection of overall performance).
I don’t want to ruin a student’s life or career by reporting an incident. What is the impact of having a conduct record?
For most situations, consequences for violating the Academic Honesty Policy would not affect a student’s ability to remain at the University. Only severe or repeated incidents would result in removal (suspension or expulsion) from the University.
The majority of conduct records are removed upon graduation and very few cases result in anything being reflected on a transcript. Sharing information regarding a student’s conduct record is limited, and is done in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
What sanctions are reflected on a transcript?
The only academic penalty reflected in a transcript is that of an “X” (indicating the student failed a course due to academic dishonesty). The “X” can be removed if the student completes a seminar on academic integrity, which is sponsored by the Office of Student Conduct. A disciplinary sanction of a Suspension appears during the time a student is suspended; it is removed at the conclusion of the suspension period. A disciplinary sanction of Expulsion is permanent. All other sanctions are not reflected on the student’s transcript.
Who chooses the sanctions?
You as the faculty member would choose the academic penalty, which is based on a number of criteria, such as the extent of the dishonesty and the importance to the course grade of the affected work. You may review a chart outlining the range of academic penalties and criteria for various penalties.
Educational and administrative sanctions are determined by the Office of Student Conduct, in concert with the academic penalty and any other prior conduct cases the student may have.
If I am uncertain about whether dishonesty occurred or uncertain about what academic penalty to choose, what should I do?
You may contact Michael Fernbacher in the Office of Student Conduct if you have questions about any aspect of an incident. You may also consult with your supervisor or department chair if you are uncertain about whether or not a student’s behavior would be considered dishonest.