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Determining and Addressing Academic Dishonesty

It is likely that you will experience academic dishonesty from one or more students, even with preventative actions in place. There are two things to remember when you are trying to determine whether academic dishonesty occurred. First, don't take it personally. Second, remember that the standard of proof used in determining whether a student engaged in misconduct on campus is a "preponderance of the evidence" or "more likely than not". This means that if you are more than 50% sure that a student engaged in academic dishonesty, that can be your finding. As you review the information, you are encouraged to consult with your academic department Chair and/or Dean. You are also welcome to contact the Student Conduct Officer with questions about the process.

If you believe that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty, you should have a conversation with the student about the incident, and how to avoid it in the future. If, after that conversation, you believe the student violated the academic standards set forward, you can issue an appropriate academic grade penalty. These consequences are often set within departments, and vary from allowing a rewrite of an assignment to failure of an assignment or course.

Regardless of whether you issue an academic grade penalty or not, you should still report the incident to Student Conduct using the Academic Dishonesty Referral Process. Student Conduct will inform the student of the receipt of the form, of the academic complaint process if he/she would like to appeal the decision, and also of the process and consequences of any future alleged violations. You should then monitor to ensure the student does not attempt to withdraw/drop the course in an attempt to avoid the academic penalty imposed. Should this occur, report it to the Student Conduct Officer.

Be advised that the student has the right to challenge your decision through the Academic Complaint Process, outlined on p. 20 of the Student Code of Conduct. The first step in this process is for the student to speak to you within ten school days of being informed about your decision. If the student is not satisfied with that conversation, the next step is for the student to appeal your decision by providing a written complaint to your Chair, Coordinator, or Director within ten days of hearing your response to his/her complaint. The student may then challenge the decision with the Dean and ultimately the Provost. 

If the student is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty in more than one course, he/she may be subject to a campus conduct process. If you feel that the academic dishonesty is so egregious that it warrants a response beyond the scope of the grade for the course, you can request that the campus conduct process be initiated in addition to any academic grade penalty you provide for the course. Examples of situations like this: when someone steals a test and shares it with others prior to the exam, hacking into the computer system and altering a grade, etc. The Student Conduct Officer will review the information and determine if the campus conduct process should be initiated.