Academic Integrity

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Sonoma County Junior College District (SCJCD) holds that its primary function is the development of intellectual curiosity, integrity, and accomplishment in an atmosphere that upholds the principles of academic freedom. All members of the academic community - student, faculty, staff, and administrator - must assume responsibility for providing an environment of the highest standards, characterized by a spirit of academic honesty and mutual respect. Because personal accountability is inherent in an academic community of integrity, this institution will not tolerate or ignore any form of academic dishonesty. 

Academic dishonesty is regarded as any act of deception, benign or malicious in nature, in the completion of any academic exercise. Examples of academic dishonesty include cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and other academic misconduct.

Faculty, students and administrators are partners in maintaining the District’s academic integrity in accordance with the guidelines delineated below.

FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES
  1. Conduct each course in a manner that encourages mutual respect, honorable behavior, and learning, thereby promoting student success and discouraging academic dishonesty.
  2. Inform students of the course requirements, grading procedures, and rules and expectations for acceptable conduct and behavior in each course, including definitions of academic dishonesty and the ethical use of technology. A statement about academic integrity and consequences should appear in the course syllabus.
  3. Inform students of the SRJC policy on Academic Integrity and the Student Conduct Standards, which is in the SRJC College Catalog and part of the District Student Discipline policy. Explain how these policies will be applied in each course.
  4. Inform students of their rights to due process should they wish to contest an allegation or penalty.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES
  1. Conduct oneself in a respectful, honorable manner that focuses on learning, academic honesty, and success for both oneself and other students. 
  2. Learn and understand the course requirements, grading procedures, and rules and expectations for acceptable conduct and behavior in each course, including definitions of academic dishonesty and the ethical use of technology.
  3. Learn and understand the SRJC policy on Academic Integrity and the Student Conduct Standards, which is in the SRJC College Catalog and part of the District Student Discipline policy.
  4. Learn and understand students’ rights to due process in contesting an allegation or penalty made by an instructor or other representative of the district.
DEPARTMENT CHAIR PROGRAM DIRECTOR/SUPERVISING ADMINISTRATOR RESPONSIBILITIES
  1. Support department/program faculty in their efforts to maintain an environment that promotes academic honesty.
  2. Promote and maintain consistent department/program practices in dealing with incidents of academic dishonesty. This may include, but is not limited to, conducting discussions of best practices for both students and faculty.
  3. Consult with instructors and the Vice President of Student Services or designee in reviewing cases and determining appropriate sanctions.
  4. Act as liaison, when necessary, between student and instructor, or between instructor and Administration.
ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
  1. Support faculty and students in their efforts to maintain academic honesty.
  2. Make readily available the Academic Integrity policy and procedure to faculty, students, and staff.
  3. Provide appropriate technology and other resources to assist faculty and staff in identifying acts of academic dishonesty.
  4. Enforce the due process procedures provided in the Student Conduct Standards to deal promptly, fairly, and justly with cases of alleged academic dishonesty so the procedures gain and hold the confidence of students and instructors. 
  5. Ensure that all policies and procedures be applied equally and uniformly throughout the District, and are consistent with the Education Code and District policy.
  6. In particular, the Vice President of Student Services or designee will keep and maintain documentation of violations.
TYPES OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Acts of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cheating: Any act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means.
  • Plagiarism: Any act of submitting the work of another, in whole or in part, as one’s own without properly referencing the source. This includes use of direct quotations, paraphrases, ideas and facts which are not common knowledge, whether the sources are published or unpublished.
  • Collusion: Any act where a student knowingly or intentionally helps or is helped by another student(s) to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  • Other Academic Misconduct: Any act such as stealing, altering grades, forging, sabotaging the work of others, lying or any other acts of academic dishonesty as deemed by instructor.
WHEN ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS SUSPECTED

When an instructor suspects that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, he/she should:

  1. Withhold the student’s grade on the assignment in question until the completion of appropriate review, following the procedures listed here. Should this process continue beyond the date on which the course grades are due, an incomplete grade may be assigned, until such time as a decision of exoneration or sanction is determined.
  2. Review all policies and procedures related to academic dishonesty such as Student Conduct Standards and Due Process. Faculty are required to apply policies and procedures equally and uniformly.
  3. Determine the type of academic dishonesty that occurred.
  4. Collect supporting documentation, if available (such as copies of examinations, reports, or assignments that have been plagiarized, duplicated or inappropriately collaborated on by students, plagiarism detection software report, Internet search results or other).
  5. Write a summary outlining the incident, including date, time, place and any other specific or relevant details.
  6. Report the suspected act of academic dishonesty to the Department Chair/Program Director or Supervising Administrator.
  7. Determine the appropriate action, and, if necessary, sanction (see options below).
  8. Notify the student in person or in writing of the suspected act of academic dishonesty and arrange a meeting outside of class to discuss the matter. The meeting should occur within ten instructional days of the date the instructor became aware of the alleged act of academic dishonesty. In an online course, the instructor will contact the student using a method that generates a confirmation of receipt of the message. If the act of academic dishonesty occurs on a team project, consult with students individually.
  9. Provide the student with the Academic Integrity Policy, Student Conduct Standards and Due Process, along with supporting documentation and written summary of alleged act of academic dishonesty.
  10. If after meeting with the student, the instructor still finds the allegations to be true, inform the student in person or in writing of the intended sanction, and file an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report with the Vice President of Student Services or designee. The student may also submit a statement.
Actions

I. Exoneration. If, after meeting with the student, the instructor determines the allegations are false, the student will be exonerated, and no Academic Dishonesty Incident Report form will be filed. In the case of team/collaborative projects, if an offending team member is determined to have acted alone, the other members will be exonerated.

II. Sanction. Sanctions for acts of academic dishonesty may be academic and/or administrative. Team/collaborative projects where a single student may have committed an act of dishonesty can lead to sanctions against the entire team unless the offending student admits to committing the act independent of others.

A.   Academic Sanction: If an instructor determines that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, he or she shall apply the appropriate sanction. A failing grade for the entire course is not an allowable academic sanction. However, an assignment for which a grade of zero is given could lead to unsuccessful course completion depending on the weight of the assignment in the course grading system if it drops the student’s grade below a passing average.

  1. If, following the meeting with the instructor, the student admits to the incident of academic dishonesty, the instructor will determine the appropriate sanction. This can include, but is not limited to, requiring that the assignment be resubmitted, deducting grade points, and/or awarding a grade of zero on the assignment in question.
  2. If the instructor considers that the incident warrants greater sanction, he/she must review the incident with the Department Chair/Program Director or Supervising Administrator and may issue a Reprimand or Removal from Class by Instructor (not to exceed two (2) class meetings) and/or indicate the need for immediate administrative review on the Academic Dishonesty Incident Report. A copy of the incident report will be placed in the student’s confidential discipline file.
  3. If, following the meeting with the instructor, the student disputes the instructor¹s findings or questions the fairness of the sanction, the instructor, Department Chair/Program Director, or Supervising Administrator or Vice President of Student Services or designee will inform the student of his or her right to file a complaint regarding this decision under the Student Grievances/Complaints procedure.

B.   Administrative Sanction: Upon receiving the Academic Dishonesty Incident Report, listing students with multiple violations and/or incidents flagged by the instructor as warranting immediate administrative review, the Vice President of Student Services or designee will review the supporting documents, consult with the faculty member or student as needed and determine the Administrative Sanction, if any. The Vice President of Student Services or designee will inform the faculty member, the Department Chair/Program Director or Supervising Administrator and the student of that sanction and inform the student of his/her right to appeal that decision as outlined in the Student Conduct Standards and Due Process Procedures. The Vice President of Student Services or designee is required to apply policies and procedures equally and uniformly. Appropriate Administrative Sanctions are:

  • Reprimand: A written warning in the form of the completed Academic Dishonesty Incident Report form will be placed in the student’s confidential discipline file.
  • Probation: A written warning in the form of the completed Academic Dishonesty Incident Report form will be placed in student’s confidential discipline file indicating that the student may stay enrolled under stated conditions. Violations of these conditions may be cause for more serious disciplinary action.
  • Suspension: The Vice President of Student Services or designee may recommend to the Superintendent/President to suspend any student determined to have committed a second or third violation of academic dishonesty. For a second violation, suspension will be for a minimum of one complete term. For a third violation, suspension will be for a minimum of three complete terms. Reinstatement of a student given a suspension of three complete terms for academic dishonesty must be approved by the Board of Review.
  • Expulsion: If a fourth act of academic dishonesty is committed after these sanctions, expulsion should be considered by the Board of Trustees.
ACADEMIC DISHONESTY INCIDENT REPORT RETENTION

The Vice President of Student Services or designee is responsible for maintaining documentation of violations. The Academic Dishonesty Incident Report and all supporting documents will be active in the student’s confidential discipline file for five years after the end of the semester in which the incident occurred. At the end of the five years, the Academic Dishonesty Incident Report will no longer be active if no further acts of academic dishonesty occur.

Policy 3.11 and Procedure 3.11P, Revised July 2012