Academic integrity in students is recognized as a fundamental objective of higher education. Traditionally, it has been a highly regarded ideal in colleges and universities. Academic dishonesty contradicts this fundamental value. Academic dishonesty among students can take many forms including copying from another test, stealing examinations or gaining unauthorized access to them, using crib notes, turning in inauthentic term papers, plagiarizing, sabotaging laboratory experiments, dry-labbing, padding bibliographies, falsifying transcripts and letters of recommendation, and facilitating another person's dishonest action. In order to foster academic integrity and encourage responsibility toward that end, academic dishonesty must be discouraged by the administration, by the faculty, and by the students themselves.
To insure that academic integrity is more than a theoretical principle at Valley City State University, certain processes and sanctions regarding academic dishonesty are set forth. However, simply imposing sanctions upon students falls short of fulfilling institutional responsibilities. The underlying objective is that students will ultimately internalize standards of academic integrity, so that they do not have to be moved toward that integrity by fear of sanction.
1. All reports of academic dishonesty will use form AA-44.
2. Prior to submission of form AA-44, faculty must either meet face-to-face with the student or email the student about the issue and the impending report. The following details regarding the incident must be communicated to the student at this time:
a. the assignment, exam, etc. from which the concern originated
b. the nature of the violation (e.g., collusion, failure to cite sources, plagiarism)
c. the sanction enacted by the instructor (e.g., failure of assignment)
3. Faculty will complete form AA-44 and submit with documentation to the Director of Student Academic Services. Items to be included as documentation include: copy of the assignment, copy of e-mail communication with the student or summary of any face-to-face meetings with the student regarding the incident, any other pertinent information.
4. The Director of Student Academic Services will contact the student via e-mail within 5 class days of receiving the form. The e-mail will inform the student that the report has been filed, describe next steps in the process, and explain the student’s options for appeals as outlined below.
5. The Director of Student Academic Services will submit the original report to the Assistant VPAA within 5 class days of receiving the form.
6. The Assistant VPAA will respond to all reports of academic dishonesty within 10 class days of receiving the AA-44 form.
a. The initial (course level) sanction is imposed by the faculty member. Additional sanctions may be
imposed at the discretion of the Assistant VPAA
b. For most first offenses, the Assistant VPAA will email the student to confirm the course sanction.
c. For egregious first offenses, for second and subsequent offenses, and when a student questions
the validity of the report, the Assistant VPAA will meet with the student to discuss the situation and possible sanctions.
i. The student may request that someone accompany them to this meeting. Typically this would be the Director of Student Academic Services. At least three hours prior to the meeting, the student will inform the Assistant VPAA (via email) of any additional attendees.
ii. The Assistant VPAA may invite the faculty member or others if the matter requires further explanation. If the Assistant VPAA invites someone to the meeting, the student will be informed via email at least three hours prior to the meeting.
d. Within three class days following this meeting, the Assistant VPAA will email the student, faculty and other entities involved, and Director of Student Academic Services to document the sanctions imposed.
7. The office of Academic Affairs will maintain documentation of each instance on file. Second or subsequent offenses during a student’s entire academic career at VCSU will receive increasingly serious sanctions.
8. The Assistant VPAA will have first jurisdiction in allegations regarding violations that occur outside the classroom.
In the event the instance of academic dishonesty originated in a class for which the Assistant VPAA or the VPAA were the instructor all steps outlined above will be followed with the following change: the Director of Student Academic Services will submit the original report to the Faculty Senate President, who will then carry out steps 6-8 in place of the AVPAA.
If a student is unable to be on campus throughout this process, phone or video calls may be used in place of the face to face meetings. All timelines still apply. Date, time, and summary of all phone/video meetings must be recorded by the VCSU faculty/staff involved and included in the documentation at each step of the process.
Any one or more of the following actions may be imposed on a student who has violated the ideal of academic integrity:
- After confronting a student with the evidence, a faculty member may lower a student's grade, grant no credit, assign a grade of F for the particular test or assignment, or assign a grade of F for the course in question.
- In addition to the course sanction, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may impose academic service, course failure, academic conduct warning, academic conduct probation, academic conduct suspension, expulsion, or a combination of these sanctions, depending on the severity of the offense or for repeat offences.
See table, below, for definition of sanction terms.
- Every situation is different, and decisions will be made on a case by case basis, subject to individual circumstances and the severity of the infraction.
Egregious offences may result in immediate suspension.
- Should a violation under this policy include violations of the Student Code of Conduct, further action may be taken according to the operating guidelines of that policy.
What do the Sanction Terms Mean?
- Directed activities in addition to course requirements, such as tutoring, completing a module on academic integrity, or writing a paper.
- Completed during the semester that the infraction occurs.
Academic Conduct Warning
- Imposed for two consecutive terms (including summer as a term).
- Accompanied by additional sanction such as course failure or academic service.
Academic Conduct Probation
- Imposed for one year (three consecutive terms, including Summer as a term).
- Failure in the course.
- The student is allowed to finish remaining courses for the semester and re-enroll.
- Another violation while on probation results in immediate suspension, with W in all remaining courses
- Additional sanctions may also apply.
Academic Conduct Suspension
- Imposed for two consecutive terms (including Summer as a term).
- Failure in a course.
- Allowed to finish remaining courses for the current semester
- Enrollment hold placed on record for two terms (including Summer as a term).
All appeals of the VPAA’s decision must be made within ten class days of student notification of the imposition of sanctions (ie, the date the official email from the VPAA is sent). Any attempt to carry the appeal outside of the procedure set forth will not substitute for this process and may delay the entire appeals process for that case.
The procedure to be followed by a student seeking an avenue of appeal for cases in which the student feels sanctions were unjustly imposed or unduly harsh is as follows:
A. The student may request that the materials or situation in question, in addition to any other pertinent documentation that may not have been available at the time the sanction was imposed, may undergo a second review.
- To begin this process, the student should contact the Director of Student Academic Services and complete a written statement explaining the situation and requesting a second review. The Director of Student Academic Services will submit the appeal and accompanying documentation to the Assistant VPAA within 5 class days of receipt of the student's written statement.
- Within five class days of receipt of the appeal, the VPAA will call a meeting of the Academic Scholastic Standing Committee (ASSC) to review the student’s statement and supporting materials, and provide a written opinion to the VPAA regarding the petition.
- The VPAA will not attend this meeting;
- The student may attend, either at the request of the ASSC or the student’s own request;
- The ASSC will deliver its written opinion within two class days of the meeting.
- Within two class days following receipt of the written opinion, the VPAA and the student (and any invited individuals, including the Director of Student Academic Services) will then meet to review the comments of the ASSC, the student’s written statement, and any additional documentation that the student presents for consideration.
- The VPAA will inform the student and all invited parties via official VCSU email of the VPAA’s decision regarding the second review within three class days of meeting with the student.
In the event the instance of academic dishonesty originated in a class for which the APAA was the instructor, all steps outlined above will be followed with the following change: if the initial report originated with the VPAA, the ASSC will provide a written opinion to the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA) who will then carry out steps 3 and 4.
Sponsored by: Faculty Association
Reviewed: Winter, 1996
Revised Number: February 2010
Revised: January 2012
Revised: June 2015
Revised: September 2020