SEEDAC COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCE ACADEMIC ETHICS POLICY
Through our academic ethics policy, we aim to both reduce incidences of academic dishonesty and promote a community that acts ethically, honestly and responsibly. In addition to the ethics policy of SEEDAC COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCE, the SEEDAC Conduct Code provides additional details about the College guidelines.
SEEDAC COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCE (SCAS) maintain a reputation for academic excellence and integrity. As members of this community, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethical behavior in our endeavor to create knowledge for the world. All members of our community have a personal and professional responsibility to uphold an environment of excellence, respect, integrity, and leadership in our community and in their academic endeavors at SCAS.
SCAS expects graduates to be innovative leaders and exemplary global citizens. The SCAS community believes that honesty, integrity, and community responsibility are qualities inherent in an exemplary citizen. The objective of the Academic Ethics Policy (AEP or Policy) is to create an environment of trust and respect among all members of the SCAS academic community and hold SCAS students accountable to the highest standards of academic integrity and excellence.
It is the responsibility of every SCAS student, faculty member, and staff member to familiarize themselves with the AEP and its procedures. Failure to become acquainted with this information will not excuse any student, faculty, or staff from the responsibility to abide by this Policy.
The AEP requires that each student in any course taken at SCAS act with honesty and integrity in all academic activities and that each student endeavor to hold his or her peers to the same standard. The Policy exists to: (1) ensure the highest level of personal and professional conduct by our students, and (2) provide a fair, deliberative, impartial, timely, and efficient process for resolving allegations of academic misconduct.
Upon witnessing an alleged violation of the AEP, a student, faculty member, or staff member must inform the responsible faculty member (if known) and the Registrar of both the alleged violation and the name of the student accused of committing the alleged violation. The report should be in writing, preferably using the reporting form which can be obtained from the Student Services Office (email@example.com), unless circumstances are such that an immediate oral report should be made (e.g., during a quiz or final examination). If an oral report is made, it should be followed as promptly as possible with a written report. Each member of the SCAS community, as a person of integrity, has a personal obligation to adhere to this requirement. It is only by upholding the AEP that members of the entire SCAS community can contribute to the School’s ability to maintain its high standards and its reputation. Students aware of a violation who fail to report it may also be found in violation of this Policy. Note, the filing of complaints of academic misconduct that the individual knows to be false is prohibited.
Violations of this Policy are viewed as a serious matter and may result in sanctions and corrective measures as described below.
SCAS, in collaboration with students and faculty, offers training and educational opportunities for students to learn about the AEP. Some examples include a virtual tutorial, student and faculty videos, sessions at new student orientations or during the semester, and the student AEP pledge. All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the AEP and are required to take the AEP pledge in the Student Information System (SIS). Failure to complete any training will not excuse any student from responsibility to abide by this Policy. The Academic Ethics Board and the Student Services Office are available to answer any inquiries about this Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 7034-555-777.
The AEP applies to all SCAS students
SCAS students may enroll in courses in one or more other College divisions or schools. SCAS students are subject to this policy not only when enrolled in SCAS courses, but also when enrolled in courses in other College divisions or schools. Academic misconduct in the context of those “outside” courses will be subject to and resolved under this policy.
All issues of non-academic student misconduct will be subject to the College-wide Student Conduct Code.
SCAS Academic Ethics Board
The SCAS Academic Ethics Board adjudicates alleged violations of the AEP as described below. The Academic Ethics Board comprises SCAS students and faculty, and the Director of Student Services (or designee). The faculty representatives are appointed by the Principal. Student representatives are selected by the Student Services Office via a nomination and interview process. Those students interested in serving as student Co-Chairs may inform the Student Services Office via this process. Based on a review of the pool of interested students, the Director of Student Services will appoint the student representatives and Co-Chairs for one-year terms. Student representatives may be reappointed for additional terms. The Academic Ethics Board is comprised of at least five (5) faculty representatives, five (5) student representatives, and the Director of Student Services (or designee).
Faculty have the authority to resolve certain first-time offenses, as described below.
SCAS Academic Ethics Board Panel
The Academic Ethics Board Panel is charged with determining, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether a student’s actions constitute a violation of this Policy and, if so, determining (an) appropriate sanction(s) as described below. The Academic Ethics Board Panel is comprised of one (1) student Co-Chair, two (2) additional students, three (3) faculty representatives, and the Director of Student Services (or designee). A majority vote is required for Panel decisions, except that unanimity is required for a sanction of expulsion. The Director of Student Services (or designee) does not have voting rights.
The AEB has jurisdiction over the following, without limitation:
- Violations of the Academic Ethics Policy
- Violations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cheating, plagiarism, unpermitted collaboration, forgery of academic documents, facilitating academic dishonesty, unfair competition, failure to report a violation, or adhere to policies
- Improper use of intellectual property
Removal and Vacancies
A faculty or student representative may be removed from the Academic Ethics Board or a particular Panel if he or she has not met the expectations required of a Board member. This decision will be made by the Director of Student Services with regard to student representatives and by the Principal with regard to faculty representatives. Any vacancies in student representatives, including student Co-Chairs, will be filled by the Director of Student Services and any vacancies in faculty representatives will be filled by the Principal.
Academic misconduct is prohibited by this Policy. Academic misconduct is defined as any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community. This includes a wide variety of behaviors such as cheating, plagiarism, altering academic documents or transcripts, gaining access to materials before they are meant to be available, and helping another individual(s) to gain an unfair academic advantage. Nonexclusive examples of academic misconduct are listed below.
- fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, text, or examination
- use or consultation of unauthorized or inappropriate materials (e.g., notes, books, etc.) on assignments, tests, or examinations
- unauthorized discussion of a test or examination during its administration
- copying content on an assignment, test, or examination from another individual
- obtaining a test or examination or the answers to a test or examination before administration of the test or examination (e.g., either an electronic copy or hard copy)
- studying from an old test or examination whose circulation is prohibited by the faculty member
- use or consultation of unauthorized electronic devices or software (e.g., calculators, cellular phones, computers, tablets, etc.) in connection with assignments, tests, or examinations
- use of paper writing services or paper databases
- unauthorized collaboration with another individual on assignments, tests, or examinations
- submission of an assignment, test, or examination for a re-grade after modifying the original content submitted
- permitting another individual to contribute to or complete an assignment, or to contribute to or take a test or examination on the student’s behalf
- unauthorized submission of the same or substantially similar work, assignment, test, or examination (e.g., a paper, etc.) to fulfill the requirements of more than one course or different requirements within the same course
- tampering with, disabling, or damaging equipment for testing or evaluation
- use of material produced by another person without acknowledging its source
- submission of the same or substantially similar work of another person (e.g., an author, a classmate, etc.) without proper attribution and citation
- dual submission of an assignment
- use of the results of another individual’s work (e.g., another individual’s paper, examination, homework, computer code, lab report, etc.) while representing it as your own
- improper documentation/acknowledgement of quotations, words, ideas, views, or paraphrased passages taken from published or unpublished sources
- wholesale copying of passages from works of others into your homework, essay, term paper, or dissertation without acknowledgment
- paraphrasing of another person’s characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary devices without acknowledgment
- falsification or fabrication of data/information for an assignment, text, or examination, or in an experiment
- citation of nonexistent sources or creation of false information in an assignment
- attributing to a source ideas or information that is not included in the source
- forgery of College or other official documents (e.g., letters, transcripts, etc.)
- impersonating a faculty or staff member
- request for special consideration from faculty members or college officials based upon false information or deception
- fabrication of a reason (e.g., medical emergency, etc.) for needing an extension on or for missing an assignment, test, or examination
- claiming falsely to have completed and/or turned in an assignment, test, or examination
- falsely reporting an academic ethics violation by another student
- failing to identify yourself honestly in the context of an academic obligation
- providing false or misleading information to a faculty member or any other College official
Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
- intentionally or knowingly aiding another student to commit an academic ethics violation
- allowing another student to copy from one’s own assignment, test, or examination
- making available copies of course materials whose circulation is prohibited (e.g., old assignments, case studies, or examinations, etc.)
- completing an assignment or taking a test or examination for another student
- sharing paper mill/answer bank websites or information with other students
- any improper use of intellectual property (including unauthorized class recordings)
- intentionally damaging the academic efforts of another student(s)
- stealing another student’s academic materials (e.g., books, notes, assignments, etc.)
- denying another student needed college resources (e.g., hiding library materials, stealing lab equipment, etc.)
Failing to Report Alleged Violation
- failing to report any known or suspected violation of the AEP
Failing to Follow Applicable Policies, Procedures, Rules
- failing to follow applicable SCAS, divisional/school, program, course, and/or faculty policies, procedures, and rules regarding academic ethics
If a student is suspected of academic misconduct, the faculty member responsible for the course in which the misconduct allegedly occurred must if feasible, promptly review the facts of the case with the student. If the faculty member believes that academic misconduct has occurred, the faculty member must first contact the Director of Student Services (email@example.com) to determine whether the offense is a first or subsequent offense. If a first offense, the faculty member may choose to resolve the case directly with the student in accordance with this section (i.e., the faculty member and student may reach an agreement on the resolution of the alleged misconduct; note that neither the faculty member nor the student is obligated to resolve a complaint under this section). A faculty member may not resolve a second or subsequent offense directly with the student. The maximum sanction that can be imposed by a faculty member in a resolution of a first offense is a zero on the assignment. The faculty member must submit all relevant information regarding any agreement reached with the student to the Director of Student Services. If such an agreement is reached, the Student Services Office will promptly provide the student with a letter outlining the resolution that includes the charges, a summary of all the evidence, the findings, and the sanctions agreed upon.
In addition, the faculty member shall notify the Director of Student Services when:
- The faculty member cannot reach an agreement with the student (e.g., the student denies cheating or does not agree with the proposed sanction, etc.).
- The reported violation is a second or subsequent offense for the same student.
- The faculty member prefers to refer the case to the Director of Student Services for resolution.
- In the case of a first offense, the faculty member believes that the sanction warranted is greater than zero on the assignment.
In such instances, the case will proceed to the next phase of resolution as outlined in Section 9 below.
The Director of Student Services (or designee) may dismiss a case for a lack of sufficient information or if the alleged conduct does not fall within conduct prohibited by this Policy. Absent these circumstances, the case will be resolved per the proceedings described below.
First-Time Offenses Not Informally Resolved Between a Faculty Member and Student – Administrative Hearing or Academic Ethics Board Panel Hearing
In the case of a first offense that is not resolved between the faculty member and student, the Director of Student Services (or designee) shall investigate and recommend one of two options: Administrative Hearing or Academic Ethics Board Panel Hearing. The gathering of case information may include meetings with or requests for statements from the student and witnesses, and review of any related information. In making this recommendation, the Director of Student Services shall also consider the nature of the alleged misconduct and potential sanctions, prior academic misconduct history of the student (if any), and other relevant information and factors.
Second and Subsequent Offenses
Second and subsequent offenses must be heard by the Academic Ethics Board. For a second or subsequent violation, as a general matter, the only sanctions that may be imposed are suspension or expulsion, provided that the Academic Ethics Board has the discretion to impose a lesser sanction in the rare instances when warranted by the facts and circumstances of a particular case.
Administrative Hearing (For First-Time Offenses Only)
An Administrative Hearing involves a meeting between the Director of Student Services (or designee, who serves as a “hearing administrator”) and the student. The Director of Student Services (or designee) may also meet with witnesses and others involved, and obtain and review relevant evidence. The Director of Student Services (or designee) will review the allegations and evidence with the student and give the respondent an opportunity to respond. The Director of Student Services (or designee) will determine based on a preponderance of the evidence whether the student is responsible for the alleged Policy violation(s), and, if so, issue (an) appropriate sanction(s).
Academic Ethics Board Panel Hearing
The Academic Ethics Board Panel Hearing is a closed proceeding, meaning that no one other than the Panel members and necessary faculty and staff members may be present (along with, if applicable, the student or witnesses). The student and witnesses called to the hearing will be present in the hearing room only when making a statement or being questioned by the Panel. The student is strongly advised to be present and present his/her case. If the student does not appear for a hearing, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence and a determination made that may result in dismissal or other sanctions.
In general, hearings will proceed as follows, although the Academic Ethics Board Panel has the discretion to alter the order or manner in which it hears or receives evidence, and to impose time limits on any stage of the process:
- summary of reported charges
- opening statement from the Panel indicating the context, charge(s), and evidence
- opening statement from the student
- questioning of the student by the Panel
- questioning of the witnesses, if any, by the Panel
- closing statement from the student
The Director of Student Services (or designee) or the Academic Ethics Board Panel may request the presence of any witness with relevant information about a case. The student may also request the Panel to hear from witnesses with relevant information. Absent exceptional circumstances, the student should inform the Director of Student Services (or designee) in writing at least three (3) business days in advance of any meeting or hearing of the names of the witnesses and to what they will attest. The Director of Student Services (or designee) or Panel may determine whether and if and the extent to which witnesses will be permitted to participate or questioned in any meeting or hearing, including whether their testimony is relevant.
In connection with the resolution of alleged Policy violations, a student shall:
- be notified in writing of the allegations in advance of any meeting or hearing;
- be notified in writing of the charges, and the date, time, and location of the hearing, and the identity of the hearing administrator and members of the Academic Ethics Board who may sit on the hearing committee in advance of the hearing;
- have the opportunity to review in advance of any meeting or hearing any relevant information to be considered by any faculty member, hearing administrator, or Panel consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, and to protect other confidential information;
- be notified in writing of the outcome of any hearing, namely the findings, determination of responsibility, and any sanctions; and be notified in writing of the outcome of any appeal.
The student has the right to a fair and timely hearing in accordance with the AEP. A student may raise the potential conflict of interest about any College personnel or student participating in the resolution process. A student may also decline to participate in the resolution process. The College may, however, continue the process without the student’s participation.
Communications under this Policy will be conducted with students primarily through their official College email address, and students are expected to check their official College email on a regular basis.
A “preponderance of the evidence” standard will be used to determine responsibility for alleged violations of this Policy. A “preponderance of the evidence” standard is an evidentiary standard that means “more likely than not.” This standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true.
Except in the case of a resolution for first-time offenses with a faculty member, the student may appeal the hearing administrator’s or Academic Ethics Board Panel’s finding of responsibility and/or sanction(s). A student may file any appeal within five (5) business days of the date of the notice of outcome solely on one or more of the following grounds
- procedural error that could have materially affected the determination of responsibility or sanction(s);
- new information that was not available at the time of the hearing and that could reasonably have affected the determination of responsibility or sanction(s); and
- excessiveness of the sanction(s).
Any appeal must be filed in writing to the Principal (hard copy). An appeal will involve a review of the file; the appeal does not involve another hearing. The Principal may consult with appropriate University personnel and the Academic Ethics Board Panel in reviewing an appeal. On review of the appeal, the Principal may:
- affirm the decision of the Panel;
- enter a revised determination of responsibility and/or revise the sanction(s); or
- remand the matter to the hearing administrator or Panel to reconsider the determination of responsibility and/or sanction(s); or
- convene a new Panel to consider the case.
The Principal will simultaneously send the appeal determination, with the reasons therefor, to the Vice Principal and to the student. The decision of the Principal is final. No further appeals are permitted.
The Academic Ethics Board Panel may impose one or more sanctions (which may include one or more corrective and educational measures that the Panel deems appropriate and commensurate with the Policy violation). In doing so, the Panel may consider:
- the specific academic misconduct at issue;
- the student’s academic misconduct history; and
- other appropriate factors.
This section lists some of the sanctions that may be imposed upon students for violations of the AEP. SCAS reserves the right, in its discretion, to impose more stringent or different sanctions than those listed below depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Sanctions for academic misconduct under this Policy are generally cumulative in nature.
A student found in violation of the AEP in a course may not avoid the Policy and any potential sanctions by withdrawing from a course.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of possible sanctions and what these sanctions typically mean. The specific conditions imposed under each sanction (e.g., the terms of a suspension, etc.) will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of each case:
The student is notified in writing that his or her actions constitute a violation of the AEP, and may be subject to other actions (e.g., re-taking an examination or failure in a course).
These sanctions may include but are not limited to grade adjustments, including failure on any work within the course or failure in the course itself, requiring extra credit to be completed, or re-submission of an assignment, or re-taking a test or examination. This may include a notation on the student’s official academic transcript. For example, if the sanction is an “F” for the course, “F due to Academic Dishonesty” may be permanently noted on the student’s official transcript.
Academic misconduct may be noted on a student’s academic transcript.
Corrective or Educational Measures
The student may, for example, be required to write and submit a reflection paper as an opportunity to learn and reflect and/or be required to engage in other corrective or educational measures.
The student is notified that further violations of the AEP within the stated period of time will result in the student being considered for immediate suspension or other appropriate disciplinary action. If at the end of the specified time period no further violations have occurred, the student is removed from probationary status.
The student is suspended from the College for a specified period of time. The conferring of an academic degree may be deferred for the duration of the suspension. A student must request in writing and then receive written permission from the Director of Student Services (or designee) prior to re-enrollment or re-application.
The student is expelled from the College. Expulsion means the permanent removal of the student from the College. Expulsion includes a forfeiture of all rights and degrees not actually conferred at the time of the expulsion, permanent notation of the expulsion on the student’s University records and academic transcript, withdrawal from all courses according to divisional policies, and the forfeiture of tuition and fees. Any student expelled from the College is prohibited future re-application to the College.
A case file concerning a student will be retained for the duration of the student’s enrollment at SCAS plus seven (7) years from the date that the student graduates or otherwise leaves the College.
Significant amendments to the AEP must be approved by the Board of Trustees, Principal and a faculty vote (vote passing with a simple majority). Minor amendments to the AEP may be made by the Principal with notification to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.