The repercussions of academic dishonesty

The University takes plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty seriously, but at the same time gives students who have been accused of a violation an opportunity to prove their innocence.

In the student handbook plagiarism is defined as, “Representing as one’s own, in any academic exercise the words or ideas of another including but not limited to quoting or paraphrasing without proper citation.”

But this is not the only form of academic dishonesty a student can commit.

Cheating, forgery, bribery/threats, fabricating and helping or attempting to help another commit a violation are other forms of academic dishonesty.

If a student is suspected of violating the academic honesty policy and it is their first offense the instructor will set up a meeting with the student to discuss the potential problem.

If the student desires, they have up to two days to prove to the instructor their innocence from the charge by providing additional information.

Distinguished teaching Professor Neil Browne thinks it is crucial for students who are accused of academic dishonesty to try to take care of the problem at this point.

“The first and most important step after being accused is to speak with the professor,” Browne said. “At that point, before the penalty has been accessed, there is some negotiating room, and some time to talk, some time to think about what happened.”

If the problem is not resolved and the instructor determines a violation has occurred, a penalty will then be determined.

The dean will then contact the student and the student has the right to appeal to the Academic Honesty Committee within seven days, according to the student handbook.

The academic honesty committee then determines whether or not to grant the student a hearing based on new evidence, procedural error or error in interpretation of evidence.

If they grant a hearing the student will appeal and a determination will be made.

There is only one more appeal beyond the Academic Honesty Committee and that is the vice president for academic affairs, and this can only be held if there was an error made during the initial hearing.

The University gives faculty members a broad range of punishment options. Barbara Waddell, chief of staff of the Office of the Provost, thinks this is a very good idea.

“I think it helps us look at [academic dishonesty] in a case by case scenario because every case will not be the same,” Waddell said.

Waddell encourages students to be honest with their work because it is in their best interest.

“Mom and Dad would not be very pleased to know that you plagiarized in a course and received a withdrawal fail because you don’t get a refund,” she said.