Policy on Academic Misconduct

[Special Note. This policy was approved by the Faculty Senate on May 10, 2010 and subsequently approved by President Miller. The policy is intended to become part of a revised Student Code of Conduct and Statement of Judicial Procedures which is not yet finalized. Thus in-text references may not be relevant at this time. Please refer to the Office of Student Conduct website for links to the current Code of Conduct and additional information on academic misconduct.]

The following procedure guides faculty in addressing allegations of academic misconduct for all students of Central Connecticut State University. Academic misconduct is defined in section D, item 1 of the student code of conduct. Faculty and students should be aware of this definition; faculty should consult it as a guide for treating academic dishonesty in their classes. This procedure must be established by the Senate, in agreement with the President, in each University.

The basic principle of this procedure is that faculty have oversight over academic penalties. In cases involving multiple acts of misconduct, and/or which involve both academic and non-academic misconduct, only the academic portion shall be handled according to the disciplinary procedures for academic misconduct described below. The non-academic portion shall be handled through the Office of Student Conduct which may precede any academic disciplinary action.

1. Instructor’s Role and Responsibilities:

a. Instructors should inform their students in the course syllabus and during class time of course-specific requirements and the penalties the faculty may impose for academic misconduct as informed by their professional judgment. Instructors should also refer students to the definition of academic misconduct in the Student Code of Conduct.

b. Incidents of academic misconduct can range in severity from minor violations to major violations. Instructors determine sanctions according to their professional judgment as to the severity of the misconduct. The academic sanction should be commensurate with the severity of the misconduct. These sanctions may include one or more of the following: a reduced grade for the assignment in question, the opportunity to revise the assignment or complete additional course work, a grade of F for the assignment in question, a grade of F for the course.

c. Upon the well-founded suspicion that an act of academic misconduct has occurred, the instructor shall attempt to meet with the student to discuss the alleged misconduct. Often, instructors may wish to handle minor violations informally, according to their discretion, especially when there is no sanction beyond revising an assignment. However, instructors are encouraged to file an Academic Misconduct Report for all violations (see item 3) in order to prevent repeat offenses. Instructors may also refer students to The Learning Center to attend an Academic Integrity Workshop.

d. The Accused Student has the right to appeal an Instructor’s allegation of academic misconduct as specified in 5b.

e. If, based on an appeal from the Accused Student, the Department Chair or the Faculty Hearing Board determines that the Instructor did not provide sufficient evidence to support the alleged misconduct, then the Instructor should assign a grade based on the quality of the work as originally submitted.

2. Complaint by Person other than Student's Instructor:

Any member of the University Community may file a complaint against a Student alleging academic misconduct. A complaint made by a person other than the Student's instructor must be made in writing and submitted to the instructor as soon as possible after the occurrence of the alleged violation, but not later than ten (10) calendar days following the occurrence of the alleged violation. Alleged violations also may be reported anonymously to the Office of Student Conduct, but must include enough evidence to warrant follow up by the Faculty Hearing Board. The instructor would then follow procedures as outlined in this policy. Notice of the complaint shall be provided to the Accused Student in accordance with item 4b.

3. Reporting Procedures:

Whenever an Instructor has reasonable evidence that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, she or he should complete an Academic Misconduct Report. In cases for which the Instructor intends to assign a grade of F for the course due to academic misconduct, or in which the course grade is dramatically affected, it is imperative that she or he file an Academic Misconduct Report. One copy of the Academic Misconduct Report shall be sent to the Department Chair, one copy shall be sent to the Office of Student Conduct, and another copy should be maintained by the Instructor.

4. Office of Student Conduct’s Role:

The Office of Student Conduct will be responsible for retaining all records of reported cases of academic misconduct. Upon receipt of the Academic Misconduct Report, the Office of Student Conduct will review the case to determine if (a) the student has any previously reported cases of academic misconduct, and/or (b) if the Instructor recommends any disciplinary sanction. The Director will determine if a Faculty Hearing Board shall be convened (per item 6a).

5. Student Rights and Responsibilities:

a. It is the responsibility of each student to become familiar with what constitutes academic dishonesty and plagiarism (as defined in section D, item 1) and to avoid all forms of cheating and plagiarism as directed by their individual faculty members.

b. If a student can demonstrate that she or he has been unjustly accused of academic misconduct as it is defined in a particular class, she or he has the right to appeal the allegation to the Chair of the Department in which the alleged misconduct occurred. The appeal to the Department Chair must be made in writing via letter or email and include substantial evidence supporting the student’s innocence or suggesting that the faculty member’s standard was applied unfairly. The Department Chair shall respond to the student’s appeal in writing within ten (10) University Calendar Days of its receipt and meet with the student during a mutually convenient time.

c. If upon receipt of the ruling by the Department Chair the Accused Student still believes she or he has been unjustly accused, she or he may submit an Academic Misconduct Appeal Form to the Office of Student Conduct to request a hearing (see item 6a).

d. If, after hearings with both the Department Chair and the Faculty Hearing Board, the Accused Student believes that the Instructor’s academic sanction (e.g., reduced grade or failing grade) is not commensurate with the severity of the misconduct, she or he should follow the university’s Grade Appeals Process.

e. A Student who has been notified that he or she has been accused of academic misconduct shall not be permitted to withdraw from the course in which the alleged misconduct has occurred without the approval of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

6. Faculty Hearing Board’s Role and Responsibilities:

a. The Faculty Hearing Board shall be responsible for determining whether the Instructor has provided sufficient evidence to support the allegation of academic misconduct against the Accused Student and/or to impose additional disciplinary sanctions. The Faculty Hearing Board shall be convened by the Director of the Office of Student Conduct in cases where (i) the student can demonstrate evidence that she or he has been unjustly accused of academic misconduct, (ii) the student has any prior cases of academic misconduct, and/or (iii) the Instructor recommends disciplinary sanctions.

b. The Director of the Office of Student Conduct shall be a non-voting member of the board and act as convener.

c. The Faculty Hearing Board shall be composed of three (3) tenured faculty members. One member of the Faculty Hearing Board will represent the department in which the alleged misconduct occurred. The faculty members will be selected by the Director of the Office of Student Conduct from a pool composed of designated appointees from each department. Each faculty member in the pool would serve a term of one year and would serve on no more than one hearing per year.

d. The Accused Student may request that a substitute faculty member be appointed if the student can demonstrate that the appointed faculty member may be unable to render an objective judgment.

7. Hearing Procedures:

The hearing procedures governing allegations of academic misconduct shall be as follows:

a. Notice of Hearing: Normally, a hearing will be conducted within fourteen (14) University calendar days of the receipt by the Director of the Office of Student Conduct of the Accused Student’s request for a hearing. The notice of hearing shall advise the Accused Student of the specific allegation(s) of academic misconduct. The Accused Student shall be afforded a reasonable period of time to prepare for the hearing, which shall not be less than three (3) University calendar days.

b. Hearing: Hearings shall be closed, but the Faculty Hearing Board may, at its discretion, admit any person into the hearing room. The hearing board shall have the authority to discharge or to remove any person whose presence is deemed unnecessary or obstructive to the proceedings. The Accused Student and the Instructor shall have the right to be present at all stages of the hearing process except during the private deliberations of the hearing board.

c. Record of Hearing: The University shall make a recording of the hearing. The recording shall be the property of the University. No other recordings shall be made by any person during the hearing. Upon request, the Accused Student may review the recording in a designated University office in order to prepare for an appeal of the decision rendered by the Faculty Hearing Board. Further disclosure of the recording shall be governed by applicable state and federal law.

d. Opportunity to Present Positions to the Board: Both the Instructor and the Accused Student shall have the opportunity to fully present their positions to the Faculty Hearing Board, including the opportunity to present the testimony of witnesses and documents in support of their positions.

e. Support Persons: During the hearing, the Accused Student shall have the right to be accompanied by a support person who may observe but not participate in the hearing. A support person should be a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the hearing because delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of a support person.

f. Written Notice of Decision: Within ten (10) University Calendar Days of the hearing, the Accused Student and the Instructor shall receive written notice of the Faculty Hearing Board’s decision, which will indicate if the allegation of academic misconduct was deemed to be Substantiated or Not Substantiated. The notice shall also set forth any disciplinary sanctions imposed by the board. The decision of the Faculty Hearing Board, as well as the disciplinary sanction(s) imposed, if any, generally will not be released to third parties without the prior written consent of the Accused Student. However, certain information may be released if and to the extent authorized by state or federal law.

8. Disciplinary Sanctions:

Upon determination by the Office of Student Conduct that the Accused Student has no prior record of academic misconduct, the Student will be required to attend an Academic Integrity Workshop provided by the Learning Center. If the Accused Student has a prior record of academic misconduct or has engaged in a severe act of misconduct, she or he may face disciplinary sanctions as determined the Faculty Hearing Board. The Faculty Hearing Board may impose one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions: disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

9. Appeal of the Faculty Hearing Board Ruling:

a. The decision rendered by the Faculty Hearing Board may be appealed by the Accused Student to the Provost/ Vice President of Academic Affairs, who shall review the record of the hearing, including any and all documents presented to the Faculty Hearing Board. An appeal shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs within seven (7) University calendar days of receipt of the Faculty Hearing Board’s written decision.

b. An appeal may be brought on three grounds: (a) a claim that error in the hearing procedure substantially affected the decision; (b) a claim that new evidence or information material to the case was not known at the time of the hearing; and/ or (c) a claim that the disciplinary sanction is incommensurate with the severity of misconduct. The Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs shall have the right to deny an appeal not brought on proper grounds.

c. The decision rendered by the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs shall be final and there shall be no further right of appeal.

10. Annual Reporting:

At the end of each year, the Office of Student Conduct shall notify the Academic Integrity Committee of the total number of academic misconduct cases reported for the year, including the number of appeals, and the number and type of disciplinary sanctions recommended by the Faculty Hearing Board. No individual case decisions or outcomes will be identified in this report. Where necessary, the report will aggregate data over several years in order to maintain confidentiality. The Academic Integrity Committee will include this information in its annual report to the Senate.

 



 
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