Policy Title: Academic Honesty Policy

Responsible Office: Academic Affairs
Policy Officer: VP for Academic Affairs
Scope:
|Faculty |Staff |Student

Approved By: Faculty Senate

Approved Date: 11/14/2017

Effective Date: 11/14/2017

Category: Academics


Description/Purpose:

A. Introduction

Academic honesty is an essential part of the Saint Francis University experience. Dishonesty in any aspect of the life of the University is viewed as being incompatible with the school's moral tradition. Accordingly, Saint Francis University has prepared a policy on academic honesty that will guide students in dealing with such issues in the process of learning regardless of the course delivery method.

Details:

B. Policy Statement

The Franciscan tradition of Saint Francis University holds that students maintain honesty in all intellectual and academic pursuits, which means they will present as their own only work they have created.  In addition, all material must be properly attributed to the original author or source. This includes always conducting oneself with integrity and honesty in all University business. Examples of violations to this policy are outlined in Section C.

C. Violations of Academic Honesty

All Saint Francis University students will be expected to understand what academic dishonesty is and the associated implications by reviewing the policy and examples provided. It is the responsibility of the provost and faculty to provide the appropriate information to facilitate familiarity with potential violations of academic integrity among all Saint Francis University students. To ensure that students are familiar with this policy, the policy will be reviewed during student orientation sessions. 

There are various practices that are seen as violations of academic honesty. Examples of these, listed below, were developed by the University of Rochester (2011) and are used with permission. Additional examples of violations of academic honesty are based upon a list of unacceptable practices that was provided by Dr. John Watson of St. Bonaventure University. These examples are not intended to be exhaustive.

1. Cheating

Including, but not limited to undertaking any activity intended to obtain an unfair advantage over the students; using unauthorized notes or other study aids during an examination; using unauthorized technology during an examination, including laptop computers, cell phones, e-readers or others; improper storage of prohibited notes, course materials, and study aids during an exam such that they are accessible or possible to view; looking at other students' work during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not allowed by the instructor; attempting to communicate (verbally, nonverbally, or via technology) with other students or persons in order to get help during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not allowed by the instructor; improper obtaining (including photographing) or distributing of an examination; altering graded work and submitting it for regrading; submitting another student's paper or project as one's own; submitting work done in one class for credit in another without the instructor's permission; coaching another student in the preparation of an assignment, in part or in-whole, including editing papers, projects, computer programs, etc., unless specifically assigned by the instructor; discussing exam content from one section of a course with students from a different section who have not yet taken the exam; someone other than the students completing the assignment or exam.

2. Plagiarism

Using whether deliberate or unintentional,  an idea, phrase, or other materials from a source without proper acknowledgment of that source (electronic or other) in work for which the student claims authorship, including direct copy/paste from online or print sources without using quotation marks; inadequately or incorrectly documenting source materials; misrepresenting sources used in a work for which the student claims authorship; improperly using course materials in a work for which the student claims authorship; using papers purchased or obtained online or through other means and turned in as one's own work; submitting written work, such as laboratory reports, computer programs, or papers, that has been copied from the work of other students, with or without their knowledge and consent.

The risk of plagiarism can be avoided in written work by clearly indicating, either in footnotes, in-text citations, or other accepted methods, the source of any major or unique idea or wording that you did not arrive at on your own. In addition, the majority of any written work should consist of the original ideas of the student. When material is directly copied from a source, the material must appear in quotes to show that the wording is not the student's own.  Sources must be correctly cited regardless of whether the material is quoted directly, summarized, or paraphrased.

3. Fabrication

Falsifying or inventing any information, citation, or data; using improper methods of collecting or generating data and presenting them as legitimate; submitting contrived or altered data, quotations, or documents with an intent to mislead; or deliberately misattributing material to a source other than that from which the student obtained it; misrepresenting oneself or one's status in the University; perpretrating hoaxes unbecoming to students in good standing or potentially damaging to the University's reputation or that of the members of its academic community of students and scholars. 

4. Facilitating Academic Honesty

Aiding another person in an act that violates the standards of academic honesty; allowing other students to look at one's own work during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not specifically allowed by the instructor; providing information, material, or assistance to another person verbally or by electronic means knowing that it may be used in violation of course, departmental, or University academic honesty policies; providing false information in connection with any academic honesty inquiry.

5. Denying Others Access to Information or Material

Any act that maliciously hinders the use of or access to library or course materials; such as the removal of pages from books or journals or reserve materials, the removal of books from libraries without formally checking out the items, the intentional hiding of library materials, and the refusal to return reserve readings to the library. All of these acts are dishonest and harmful to the University community.

6. Falsifying Records and Official Documents

Forging signatures or falsifying information on official academic documents (paper or electronic), such as drop/add forms, incomplete forms, petitions, letters of permission, or any other official University document, is considered a violation of policy. Knowingly making false statements or presenting false evidence at any time throughout the academic honesty process is as well. In cases where the student has been accused of other unacceptable practices, knowingly making false statements or presenting false evidence will be treated as an additional offense for purposes of determining the proper penalty category.

D. The Judicial Process for Violations of Academic Honesty

1.  The Role of the Faculty

The faculty of Saint Francis University is obliged to play a major role in the implementation of an effective academic honesty policy. Accordingly, when a member of the faculty becomes aware of a possible incident of academic dishonesty, that faculty member must question the alleged offender and impose a penalty if the situation warrants.

Members of the faculty have several initial penalty options for academic misconduct:

  1. Assignment of a failure for the course.
  2. Assignment of a failure on the specific assignment.
  3. Lowering of a letter grade by one or more letters.
  4. Suspension from the class for one class period.

The accusing instructor must then write an incident report outlining the offense and the nature of the penalty levied. The report will be handled in the following manner:

  1. The report will be sent to the Office of the Registrar, where it will be filed for a period  of five years, unless the student is still enrolled at Saint Francis University. If this is the case, records will be destroyed when the student graduates or otherwise separates from the university.
  2. A copy of the incident report will be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs Office (See Appeals: First Offenses). When a student is accused of dishonesty, it will be the responsibility of the Vice President of Academic Affairs to determine whether the student is a multiple offender. If this is the case, the student will move through a different appeal process than will first-time offenders. (See "Appeals: Multiple Offenses")
  3. Within 10 days of the report, the accused student will be given written notice of the violation and assigned consequences. At this time, the student will have 5 days to file an appeal.

2.  Appeals

First Offense

Saint Francis University believes in fairness for all of its students and faculty. It provides due process for any of its students who have been accused of a breach of academic honesty. Thus, a student who does not agree with the penalty imposed by the faculty member may appeal directly to the Academic Court.

If a student rejects the decision of the Academic Court, he or she may elect to appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. This officer of the institution will be the court of last resort at Saint Francis University.

A record of each student's appeal process will be documented by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and placed on file in the Registrar's Office.

Multiple Offenses

In all cases where a student has been accused of a violation of academic trust, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will certify the honesty status of that student. This means that the Vice President of Academic Affairs will examine the files held by the Registrar and indicate whether the student has previously broken the academic honesty policy.

A multiple offender, before actual dismissal, must appear before the Academic Court. Unless the student in question can present a compelling case, he or she will be dismissed from Saint Francis University immediately. The student may apply for readmission after a period of one year.

If the student rejects the action taken by the Academic Court, he/she will have the right to appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. This officer may reduce the student's sentence or uphold the penalty imposed by the Academic Court. The Vice President of Academic Affairs may not add to the sentence.

3. The Academic Court

The Academic Court at Saint Francis University is an important element in the academic appeals process. The body will consist of five members plus two alternates.  Two of the members will be students appointed by the President of the Student Government Association. Three other members of the court will be full-time faculty appointed by the President of Saint Francis University. The Chair of the Academic Court will be elected by colleagues on the court. He or she must be a member of the teaching faculty. The Bylaws of the Academic Court are listed in Section E.

4. Records

All records pertaining to each case of academic dishonesty will be kept on file in the Office of the Registrar. These records will include the following:

  1. The written record of the professor regarding the initial penalty.
  2. The written record of the student's appeal to the Academic Court and the decision reached by that court.
  3. A review of the case by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

E. Bylaws of the Academic Court

1.  Membership

a. Membership on the court equals five, plus two alternates. One alternate will be a student appointed by the President of the Student Government Association. The second alternate will be a faculty member appointed by the President of Saint Francis University.

b. A quorum consists of full membership of the court.

c. Three members of the court will be full-time faculty appointed by the President of Saint Francis University.

d. Two members of the court will be students appointed by the President of the Student Government Association.

e. Student members must at least have achieved junior status by the beginning of their first semester on the court.

f. The Chair of the Academic Court will be elected by colleagues on the court for a one-year term at the beginning of each academic year.

g. Each year, the Academic Court will elect a secretary for a one-year term.

h. To establish the faculty representation on the court, the President of Saint Francis University will appoint one faculty member to a one-year term, a second to a two-year term, and a third to a three-year term. After the establishment of the court, the President of Saint Francis University will each year elect one member of the full-time faculty for a three-year term.

i. To establish student representation on the court, the President of the Student Government Association will, for the first year, appoint one junior and one senior to the court. In each of the following years, the President of the Student Government Association will appoint one junior student for a two-year term of office.

j. Records of the Academic Court shall be kept in the Office of the Registrar.

k. The Chair of the Academic Court (or designee) will have access to the records of the court.

2. Proceedings

a. The student accused of violating the Academic Honesty Policy will have the opportunity to provide clarification to and answer questions from the Academic Court. Arrangements for the student to speak with the Court shall be made by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs during the designated meeting time. Phone conferencing or an other alternative is permissable if the student is off campus.

b. The faculty involved will be invited to discuss with the Academic Court, separately from the student involved. Such arrangements shall be made by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Phone conferencing or another alternative is permissible if the faculty is off campus.

c. No guests are permitted to speak on behalf of the student or the faculty member or to observe Academic Court proceedings. Proceedings fo the court may not be recorded using any electronic means. The elected secretary of the Academic Court will take minutes during the proceedings.

d. Athletic status may not be considered as part of deliberation or decision-making.

e. Previous incidents of academic dishonesty involving the student involved should not be considered. Each case should be considered independently and objectively.

f. The Academic Court should take the opportunity to consider all possible information regarding the incident to gain a thorough understanding of the situation prior to voting. A preponderance of evidence should be present to uphold the incident of academic dishonesty.

g. All proceedings of the Academic Court are confidential.

h. The Academic Court will ensure that all parties to an appeal action appear before it.

3. Voting

a. Once discussion has ended, the Chair of the Academic Court will call for a vote. The Chair will pass out ballots to vote on whether or not the Court believes a violation occurred. Majority vote will determine if a violation occurred.

b. If the majority vote does not indicate a violation, the report is dismissed. All ballots and notes regarding the proceedings should be collected and returned to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. A summary of the proceedings and vote results should be provided by either the secretary or chair to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs as soon as possible after the conclusion of the hearing.

c. If the majority vote does indicate a violation, then further discussion should occur regarding the penalty levied on the student. The Academic Court may rule to lessen the penalty rendered by the faculty member involved, however the Academic Court may not rule to make the penalty more severe. The Court may offer various recommendations based on a case-by-case basis in consideration of the student's situation. All ballots and notes regarding proceedings should be collected and returned to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs as soon as possible after the conclusion of the hearing.

d. Final appeal may be made to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who make the final decision for the Academic Court. 

Approved by the Faculty Senate - February 21, 1992

Revised April 11, 1995; Revsed May 7, 2012; Revised July 31, 2014; Revised November 14, 2017

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