Academic Integrity Policy
I. Opening Statement
The State University of New York at Fredonia holds that the life of the mind and personal integrity go hand in hand, and are inseparable. Adherence to this philosophy is essential if we are to facilitate and promote the free and open exchange of ideas upon which our university mission relies. An essential component of the academic experience at SUNY Fredonia is the conviction that academic goals must be achieved by honorable means. It is expected, therefore, that all students attending the State University of New York at Fredonia will support and abide by all provisions of the following Academic Integrity Policy. It is further understood that by enrolling in courses, students are agreeing to the rules and regulations set forth below.
In order to protect the value of the work accomplished by each student and instructor, our academic community depends upon certain honorable standards of behavior from all its members. SUNY Fredonia trusts all students will refrain from participating in any behavior that will inhibit the pursuit of honest academic advancement. To help students avoid activities that can be construed as dishonest or as violations of academic integrity, a partial list of prohibited behaviors and activities is outlined below. This policy is not intended to limit decisions of faculty of professional programs that operate under more restrictive policies and/or have externally monitored procedures for addressing violations of academic integrity.
II. Violations of Academic Integrity
Violations of academic integrity are described within four broad, overlapping categories: Fraud, Plagiarism, Cheating, and Collusion. Examples of violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, those described herein:
Behaving deceptively, misrepresenting one's self or another person, and falsifying official print and/or electronic documents are actions that seriously undermine the integrity of any social institution and may result in criminal prosecution. In a university setting, fraudulent behavior includes but is not limited to:
1. Forging or altering official school documents, whether in print or electronic form, such as grade reports or transcripts, enrollment documents, transfer credit approvals, etc.
2. Forging or tampering with any university correspondence or medical excuses.
3. Tampering with attendance records, such as one student signing for another student.
4. Tampering with or interfering with grading procedures.
5. Misreporting or misrepresenting earned credentials, including academic status, class standing, and GPA.
6. Taking an exam in place of another student.
7. Failing to disclose necessary information on official university forms.
8. Falsely claiming that electronic systems or computer equipment are at fault for the student's inability to complete academic course work (e.g., inability to complete assignments due to problems with ANGEL or the printers/computers in a certain lab) or to complete administrative functions (e.g., inability to make schedule changes via "Your Connection.")
Plagiarism consists of presenting the work of others as one's own. It is unethical to copy directly the words or work of other authors or artists without giving them credit. It is also unethical to rearrange or add a few words to another author's text while leaving the majority unaltered or to take an author's unique idea or discovery and to represent it as one's own. Specific examples of plagiarism include, but are not restricted to, the following examples:
1. Copying the work of another author and/or artist without giving proper credit in the text or reference to the artwork, presentation or performance; neglecting to cite the original in a footnote; and/or failing to identify full and proper documentation in the list of works cited or sampled for presentation or performance.
2. Implying that another author's words, works, or ideas are one's own. Quoting without the use of quotation marks falsely implies originality and is, therefore, an act of plagiarism.
3. Incorporating into a paper or assignment without acknowledgement verbatim corrections or other suggestions that were made by someone other than oneself, the instructor, or an assigned editor.
4. Taking information from one source (such as the Internet) and citing it as coming from another source (such as a required text or article).
In all academic situations, any behavior that subverts the purpose of an academic assignment constitutes cheating, whether one actively commits the act of dishonesty on one's own behalf or enables someone else to do so.
Examples of cheating include but are not limited to the following:
1. Copying someone else's work or permitting one's own work to be copied. Whether involvement in the copying process is active or passive, these acts constitute violations of academic integrity if a student is at all complicit.
2. Using unsanctioned materials, notes, software, and or equipment (such as a programmable calculator).
3. Intentionally providing or seeking questions to an exam that will be given in a later section or used as a make-up exam.
4. Communicating or sharing information during an exam obviously constitutes cheating, as does taking an exam for someone else.
Most colleges and universities support some opportunities for collaborative learning, but unauthorized collaboration is considered collusion. Unless collaboration is expressly permitted by the instructor, students should work alone. Even when an instructor authorizes collaboration, collusion may still occur. In all cases, work submitted should reflect an individual's own effort. Examples of collusion include, but are not limited to, the following situations:
1. A pair or larger group of students studies a problem, one of the students formally writes and/or types the results, the other members of the group copy the results, and each individual submits the work as his/her own.
2. A pair or larger group of students work on a series of problems or tasks, each student completes a portion of the problem set or task, the students combine their work, and each student submits the entire problem set or task as his/her own.
3. A course instructor assigns a task or problem to be completed outside of class and explicitly instructs students not to discuss the task or problem with one another. A part or larger group of students discuss or work together on the task or problem, and each individual submits the results as his/her own.
III. Judicial Procedures for Violations of Academic Integrity
A. Stage One: Departmental Level
1. An instructor who suspects a violation of the academic integrity policy will collect all information and materials related to the offense.
2. The instructor will meet with the student to present his/her charge, and the student will be given an opportunity to answer and explain. If the instructor and the student then agree that no violation has occurred, the matter is resolved and the process ends at this point. If, however, the instructor finds that a violation has occurred, whether the student admits or does not admit guilt, the matter must be communicated to the department chairperson (see No. 3 directly following). A student will not be allowed to drop a course to avoid a course sanction or to suspend judicial procedures.
3. For all cases in which the instructor determines that the student has plagiarized, cheated, colluded, or committed any act of academic dishonesty, the instructor will briefly summarize the offense in writing to his/her departmental chairperson. Copies of all information and materials related to the offense shall accompany this correspondence.
4. After appropriate consultation, the chairperson and the instructor will jointly notify the student in writing about the charge and the resulting sanctions. At this stage, some possible departmental sanctions include but are not limited to the following: a formal warning, a grade of zero being assigned to the particular performance, and/or a failing grade being given for the course. The letter from the chairperson and the instructor may also recommend that the Academic Integrity Review Board hear the case and consider, among several options, placing the student on disciplinary probation, temporarily suspending the student, or permanently expelling the student from the university.
5. Because a student may plagiarize and/or violate provisions of academic integrity in more than one department, the chairperson is required to submit a copy of all correspondence and relevant materials to the appropriate dean of the department in which the offense occurred. For undergraduate students, these materials will be delivered to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean of the School of Business, or the Dean of the College of Education; for graduate students, materials will be delivered to the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research. The dean/associate provost will then prepare a full packet of copies for the Vice President for Student Affairs in whose office the packet will be filed as part of the required maintenance of student disciplinary records.
B. Stage Two: Appeal
1. Within 14 calendar days after the chairperson has mailed the letter, the student may decide to appeal the departmental decision. If so, she/he must send a letter of intent to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with copies sent at the same time to the chairperson in whose department the charge originated, the appropriate dean/associate vice president, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. Upon receipt of such communication and in a timely manner, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will contact the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board who will call together the members of the board for a formal hearing. Throughout the appeal process, the charged student is assumed not guilty, and in most circumstances, she/he has the right to remain in class.
2. After the same 14 days, if the student has not appealed, the university will act upon the assumption that the student has accepted the departmental decisions and any sanctions therein. Enforcement of these sanctions hereafter rests with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
3. If the department has recommended additional sanctions outside its academic purview (probation, suspension, etc.), the Academic Integrity Review Board will be convened to determine if a hearing should be held. If a hearing is scheduled, the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board will contact the accused student at least five (5) days in advance.
4. Even if a student does not file a formal appeal within the above time limit, the Vice President for Student Affairs must notify the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board whenever a second or subsequent violation is submitted to a student's disciplinary record. The Academic Integrity Review Board will then be convened to review all charges filed and may impose additional sanctions. The Academic Integrity Review Board will consider repeated violations of any or all of the provisions in the Academic Integrity Policy as grievous.
C. Stage Three: Academic Integrity Review Board
1. Whether the student who has been charged decides to appeal the departmental decision, or the Academic Integrity Review Board votes to initiate formal proceedings as the result of other circumstances (see above), the Academic Integrity Review Board will hear and rule on the case. A charged student has the right to select a willing student, faculty member, or an administrative staff member of the university to advise him/her throughout the review process. This non-legal adviser must be a current member of the SUNY Fredonia community (faculty, staff, student), and the adviser may accompany the charged student and advise him/her at any meetings. To avoid conflicts of interest, this adviser may not be selected from the members of the Academic Integrity Review Board.
2. At least one member from each category below is required. A quorum of six members including at least one student representative will be selected from the following categories:
(a) The Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board who is a full-time tenured faculty member jointly appointed by the President of the university and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and subsequently approved by the University Senate. The chair's term will be two years with the option of renewal, pending reappointment and re-approval.
(b) Either the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs will provide board access to pertinent Student Disciplinary records and will participate as an ex officio member (see No. 4 below). Before witnesses speak or before questions are asked, this representative of Student Affairs will present a summary of the case.
(c) At least one, but preferably two, undergraduate (or graduate, if pertinent) student representatives selected by the university deans/associate vice president and after nominations by the Dean's Councils of Chairs and Directors (which includes directors and chairpersons of all schools and departments). No two students majoring in a single department will be invited to serve concurrently. To insure that perspectives from a diverse student population are fairly and freely heard, one student will major in an Arts and Humanities department and one will major in a Natural and Social Sciences department, and/or one in Education or Business.
(d) The appropriate dean/associate provost preferred, but one of the other four deans/associate provost may act in his/her stead whenever necessary.
(e) Chairs of departments: one from Arts and Humanities, one from Natural and Social Sciences, designee from Business, and a designee from the College of Education.
(f) An additional faculty member from a department not represented by individuals in (a) and (e) above.
3. The Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board, after prior consultation with the assembled board, may call witnesses, and the student who has been charged may also call witnesses. At the conclusion, the charged student will be asked to address the allegation by pleading guilty or not guilty, and she/he then has the right to speak on his or her behalf. All participants in this hearing will be informed that deliberations are to remain strictly confidential. Hearings of the judicial review board will be tape recorded to provide a record of the proceedings.
4. After the hearing, the Academic Integrity Review Board will deliberate and make a formal decision. In the final determination, each of the members of the board, including the Chair of the board, will cast a single and equally weighted vote. In the event of a tie vote concluding a case, the Chair of the board will cast an additional vote. Voting will be conducted by written ballot, and the results will be disclosed to board members. Board members are not to disclose either the board's determination or any specifics related to the voting.
5. In a timely manner, the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board will complete the hearing report and will deliver copies to the chairperson in whose department the charge originated, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. The final report of the Academic Integrity Review Board will include the following:
(a) A determination of Not Guilty (no violation of academic integrity has been found) or Guilty (the student has been found responsible for the charged violation on the basis of the evidence submitted or has admitted guilt).
(b) If the student had been found guilty of violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the penalty must also be identified. Sanctions or penalties imposed should be commensurate with the offense and will take into account the student disciplinary records on file.
6. On the same day the board's decision is delivered to the three individuals above (No. 5), the student will be informed of the board's decision in a meeting with the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board. The student will then be given a copy of the hearing report prepared by the Chair of the Academic Integrity Review Board.
7. Should the student decide to appeal the Academic Integrity Review Board's decision, he or she may do so in a written justification to the President of the university but only if/when the substance of the presented case has changed (i.e., additional and significant evidence is discovered).
IV. Maintenance of Student Disciplinary Records
Individual files on all students who are formally charged with violations of the Academic Integrity Policy will be prepared at the time of the student's initial offense and maintained for 10 years thereafter in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Instructors and chairpersons will initiate this process by submitting, to their dean/associate vice president, a copy of the information and materials related to the offense and a copy of the departmental letter which identifies the charge and which has been mailed to the student. All subsequent materials related to the charge will be copied in the dean's/associate vice president's office and delivered to the Vice President for Student Affairs for the student's disciplinary file.