As an institution guided by Christian principles, the University of Saint Francis places the highest importance upon honesty in all academic work. As such, academic integrity is a fundamental principle of collegial life at the University of Saint Francis and is essential to the credibility of the university’s education programs. Moreover, because assessment may be competitive, students who misrepresent their academic work violate the rights of their fellow students. The University of Saint Francis, therefore, views any act of academic dishonesty as a serious offense requiring disciplinary measures, including failing the assignment, failing the course, and even expulsion from the university. In addition, an act of academic dishonesty may have unforeseen effects far beyond any officially imposed penalties. Violations of academic integrity include cheating or assisting others to cheat. Examples of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, misrepresenting data, falsification of academic records or documents, and unauthorized access to computerized academic or administrative systems.
Plagiarism is the presenting of others’ ideas as if they were your own. When you write an essay, create a project, do a project, or create anything original, it is assumed that all the work, except for that which is attributed to another author or creator is your own work. Be aware that word-for-word copying is not the only form of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense and may take the following forms:
- Copying word-for-word from another source and not giving that source credit.
- Cutting and pasting from an Internet or database source without giving that source credit.
- Paraphrasing the work of another and not giving that source credit.
- Adopting a particularly apt phrase as your own.
- Reproducing any published or copyrighted artwork, both fine and commercial.
- Digitally duplicating or downloading any copyrighted software, programs or files.
- Paraphrasing another’s line of thinking in the development of a topic as your own.
- Receiving excessive help from a friend or elsewhere, or using another project as your own.
[Adapted from the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 1995: 26.]
Consequences of Violations to Academic Integrity Policy
All violations of undergraduate academic integrity will be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. A student has the right to appeal at each reported violation following the procedure listed below.
Each course syllabus must describe the specific ramifications for the first incident of academic dishonesty in the course and note that the offense will be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A second offense of academic dishonesty as recorded by the Office of Academic Affairs will result in a final grade of failure (F) for the course which will supersede any withdrawal action by the student. The student will meet with the faculty member and a representative from Student Success. If the faculty member is unavailable the student will meet with the faculty member’s supervisor for that department.
A third offense will result in a final grade of failure (F) for the course which will supersede any withdrawal action by the student. In addition, the case will be brought forward by the Vice President for Academic Affairs or its designee to a committee that consists of the following:
- School Dean, who will chair the committee
- Department Chair or Program Director (specific to the student’s program)
- Instructor of the course in which plagiarism occurred
- Two faculty members, at least one of whom is outside of the student’s program or department, appointed by the Faculty Senate Chair
The committee will determine whether the student will receive either a one-year suspension or a permanent dismissal from the university. The student will receive a certified letter stating the committee’s decision. The decision of this committee is final and cannot be appealed.
Steps to Appeal the Reported Violation of Academic Integrity and Related Ramifications
A student may appeal a report of academic dishonesty solely and exclusively in accordance with the following procedures.
- Appeal to the Faculty Member. The student shall, in good faith, attempt to settle the disputed incident of dishonesty or plagiarism by meeting with the faculty member who reported the academic integrity violation. The student is responsible for bringing all relevant materials that support his or her appeal to this meeting. During this meeting the faculty member and student will discuss the issue. This meeting shall be accomplished within 3 university business days from the date of the notification of the offense unless additional time is requested and approved by the Dean. The faculty member will provide a written response to the student, Academic Department Chair/Program Director, Dean of the School, and Vice President for Academic Affairs within 2 university business days. If the faculty member is unavailable, then the student will meet with the faculty member’s supervisor for that department.
- Appeal to the Academic Department Chair/Program Director and Dean of the School. If the student is not satisfied with the result of his or her meeting with the faculty member or the department’s designee, he or she can appeal the decision to the Academic Department Chair/Program Director and Dean. To do so the student shall submit a letter not to exceed two typed pages to the Academic Dean within 3 university business days from the date of receiving the faculty member decision on the appeal unless additional time is requested and approved by the Chief Academic Officer. The letter must include an explanation of the disputed elements in the student’s reported dishonesty, and a clear statement of what outcome the student seeks. The student may attach materials previously submitted to the faculty member, but no additional materials are to be submitted. The Academic Department Chair and/or Program Director or Dean will meet with the student within 5 university business days after the receipt of the letter. The Academic Dean will respond, in writing, to the student, faculty member and Vice President of Academic Affairs within two university business days after the meeting. For first and second offenses the Academic Dean’s decision is final.
- Appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. For students who have incurred a third offense and facing separation from the university, the student has the option of appealing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. To activate this option, the student shall submit a written request to the Vice President for Academic Affairs to convene an Academic Integrity Appeals Committee. The student shall submit the written request within 2 university business days of receiving the decision of the Dean. The student may attach materials previously submitted to the Academic Department Chair/Program Director and Dean, but no additional materials are to be submitted.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall convene the Academic Integrity Appeals Committee to consider the issues involved in the academic integrity dispute. The Academic Integrity Appeals Committee shall meet within 5 university business days after the written request has been received by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The membership of the Academic Integrity Appeals Committee shall consist of the following:
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chair.
- Two faculty members appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate.
- Two undergraduate students appointed by the president of the Student Government Association.
The student has the right to be accompanied by his/her parents or another student to the Academic Integrity Appeals Committee meeting. Either party shall have the right to bring in witnesses necessary for the processing of the appeal. The student may not submit additional materials to the Appeals Committee. Since this is an internal grievance procedure, legal counsel shall not be involved in the process.
The Academic Integrity Appeals Committee shall notify the student, faculty member, Department Chair and/or Program Director, and Dean of its decision in writing within 5 working days after considering the issue. The decision of the Academic Integrity Committee is final.
General Provisions of the Academic Integrity Appeal Process
- It is desirable that a solution to an academic integrity appeal be reached at the level closest to the course in which the student reportedly exhibited a breach of integrity. The appeal shall be considered resolved when the solution offered is accepted by the student and further appeal is not requested or until a decision is made by the President.
- If the student does not act on the appeal process within the specified time limits, the appeal shall be considered settled based on the last decision rendered. If the student is not notified of a decision within the specified time limit, the appeal is automatically moved to the next step in the appeal process. Time limits may be extended by the mutual, written consent of both parties.
- Students, faculty members and administrators involved in the academic integrity appeal process shall act in an ethical manner and shall not be subject to discipline or reprisal because of such involvement.
- To protect all parties concerned, the strictest privacy shall be maintained by all parties involved.