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Academic Honesty Policy

Updated 3/10/2017

Introduction

Keene State College strongly values the principles of academic honesty. Maintaining academic honesty includes:

  • Creating and expressing your own ideas and work
  • Properly citing and referencing other people’s ideas and work, giving appropriate credit
  • Seeking appropriate, approved assistance from outside sources or persons (e.g. tutors)
  • Acknowledging collaboration
  • Performing with honesty during examinations, avoiding collusion, collaboration and/or the use of unauthorized resources

Keene State College will not tolerate instances of academic dishonesty and will provide appropriate educational and punitive sanctions for violations of this policy. Sanctions may range from educational programs up to suspension and expulsion. Academic dishonesty may include any cheating on academic work, plagiarism (either intentionally or unintentionally failing to properly document ideas or quotes from sources), and any dishonesty in regard to academic work.

A Brief Overview of the Handling of Academic Honesty Policy Violations

The College review of Academic Honesty Policy violations is an administrative process involving the student, the faculty members, and college administrators.

  • Although all cases of academic dishonesty are serious, some are more serious than others.
  • The initial sanction will be recommended by the faculty member, but all violations must be reported to the appropriate Assistant or Associate Dean, who will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the incident, the recommended sanction, and the student’s right to appeal.
  • The Assistant or Associate Dean will make a final decision regarding the student’s responsibility in the case based on the preponderance of evidence.
  • The Assistant or Associate Dean will report the outcome to the Office of the Provost, where the reports will be kept on file. The reports, with appropriate supporting documentation, will be kept in the Provost’s “active” file for five years after a student either graduates or stops taking courses at the college, after which time the reports will be removed to an archival file. Critical information from the cases will also be kept in the student’s file in the Office of the Dean of Students.

More serious offenses – the stealing, selling, or buying of an exam; the presentation of a paper that is wholly or largely the work of another, including “purchased” or “file copies” of term papers; or having a “substitute” take an exam – will be considered as grounds for, and may result in, permanent expulsion from the college. The due date of any assignment/project/lab or the administration date of a quiz/exam or the date on which the violation is alleged to have occurred is deemed to be the start date for alleged policy violations and a case remains pending until the matter is fully resolved. If found responsible for an Academic Honestly policy violation the sanctions (i.e., grade of F, suspension, etc.) will be applied and enforced regardless of the student’s enrollment status. For a detailed account of this process, see: Procedures for Handling Academic Honesty Violations.

I. Procedures for Handling Academic Honesty Violations

The College review of Academic Honesty Policy violations is an administrative process. It is not a criminal law process, nor is it intended to resemble one. The College review of Academic Honesty Policy violations is not required to observe formal rules of evidence and may exclude unduly repetitious or immaterial information.

1. A Violation of the Academic Honesty Policy is Identified and recorded

The due date of any assignment/project/lab or the administration date of a quiz/exam or the date on which the violation is alleged to have occurred is deemed to be the start date for alleged policy violations and a case remains pending until the matter is fully resolved. If found responsible for an Academic Honesty policy violation the sanctions (i.e., grade of F, suspension, etc.) will be applied and enforced regardless of the student’s enrollment status. When a faculty member determines that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred, the faculty member will report the violation by filing out a “Faculty Report” form found in the Outlook Public Folders or in the faculty Handbook. Normally documentation will occur within one business day of discovering the violation. The form should include complete demographic information, the charge and the recommended sanction. Supporting evidence should be attached to the form. The charge must be specified clearly on the form. (Please see the list of possible infractions in the “Sanctioning Guideline” for help in defining the charge and determining the appropriate sanctions.) The submitted evidence should include a copy of the student’s work. Other evidence may include but is not limited to copies of the original work copied by a student (website, paper, etc.), evidence of cheating, and previously submitted papers.

2. The Faculty Member and the Student Meet

The faculty member making the charge shall meet with the student normally within five business days of filling out a report of an academic honesty violation. If the student fails to communicate with the faculty member, the faculty member shall complete the form without the student present and send the form to the Assistant or Associate Dean. The faculty member should include information regarding the attempted communications with the student. The faculty member should clearly explain to the student the charge, the evidence of an academic honesty violation, and the recommended sanction. The faculty member should explain the academic honesty policy in general and its attendant system of two levels of charges and sanctions. Finally, the student must sign the original report of academic dishonesty. Student signature on the form is in no way an admission of responsibility. The faculty member should present the student with a copy of the “Faculty Report” form. The Faculty Report Form is then forwarded to the Assistant or Associate Dean and the Department Chair/Coordinator. The role of the Department Chair/Coordinator is to clarify questions regarding the process for faculty and students and refer all other questions to the Assistant or Associate Dean.

3. The Assistant or Associate Dean and Faculty Member Meet

The Assistant or Associate Dean and faculty member reporting the infraction shall normally meet within five business days to discuss the report form and any of the evidence of the violation. During this meeting, the faculty member will explain the rationale for the recommended sanction and the Assistant or Associate Dean will also address any concerns she/he has with the faculty member’s report.

4. The Assistant or Associate Dean and the Student Meet

Normally, within five business days of meeting with the faculty member the Assistant or Associate Dean will meet with the student. The Assistant or Associate Dean will send communication using the student’s KSC.keene.edu account. If the student fails to respond, the case will go forward and the student will receive the outcome in writing. Before the Assistant or Associate Dean meets with the student, she/he will review the student’s Academic Honesty history, to see if there is any prior charge of Academic Honesty on file in the Office of the Provost. When the Assistant or Associate Dean meets with the student, she/he will discuss the report of a violation of the College’s Academic Honesty policy filed by the faculty member and then ask the student to give her/his account of the incident. At this time, the student may choose to accept responsibility for the charge or dispute it. The Assistant or Associate Dean will determine if the student is responsible and will share the rationale for the finding with the student (if possible, in this meeting, but if not, soon after). In this meeting, the Assistant or Associate Dean will discuss with the student the faculty member’s sanction and will explain the ramifications of the charge being entered into the file maintained in the Office of the Provost. The Assistant or Associate Dean will inform the student that should he/she not complete an educational sanction; the outcome of the case will become more serious. The Assistant or Associate Dean will inform the student of the potential non-compliance sanction and include the same information in the “Assistant or Associate Dean’s Report.” The non-compliance sanction should move the final outcome to the next higher level of sanctioning (i.e. if a level one sanction was initially issued, the non-compliance sanction would come from the level two lists of sanctions). If the student is found responsible, the Assistant or Associate Dean may alter the recommended sanction issued by the faculty/library staff member only when the student’s prior Academic Honesty history necessitates a more serious charge. The Assistant or Associate Dean may, however, wish to discuss the severity of the sanction with the faculty member, before or after meeting with the student. A copy of the Assistant or Associate Dean’s report will be sent to the Faculty member.

The Assistant or Associate Dean will explain the appeal process to the student. In most cases, the student will leave the Assistant or Associate Dean’s Office with a completed copy of the report. The student must receive a copy of the report within 15 business days of the meeting. The original form should be filed in the Office of the Provost and the complete file should be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office.

5. Appeals

Either the accused student or the faculty member who filed the original complaint may appeal the findings of the Assistant or Associate Dean to the Dean or his/her designee, except in cases that have resulted in suspension or expulsion. These cases will be assigned to the Office of the Provost. The role of the Dean, Provost or his/her designee is not to repeat the duties of the Assistant or Associate Dean. Generally, an appeal review is limited to an analysis of the letter of appeal and the record/documents of the meeting with the Assistant or Associate Dean. If, however, new relevant evidence has emerged, this information may be included as part of the review process. All appeals must be in writing and contain the substantive or procedural grounds for the appeal. The written appeal must be received by the Dean, Provost or his /her designee within five (5) business days from the date indicated at the top of the Assistant or Associate Dean’s Report form. The Dean, Provost or his/her designee will determine, based on the appeal letter, whether any of the criteria for granting an appeal have been satisfied.

In cases where the outcome has resulted in suspension or expulsion, the student may appeal the case to the Provost or his/her designee. The student may meet with the Provost or his/her designee to make a personal statement and answer questions. The process will normally be completed within 15 business days of receipt of the student’s appeal letter. A copy of the outcome letter should be filed in the Office of the Provost and the complete file should be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office. Once all appeal processes are complete, the Dean of Students and the Registrar will be notified. No further appeals are possible.

If a student does not appeal, the Provost will confirm the outcome of the Assistant or Associate Dean’s Report Form to the student in an outcome letter. A copy of the outcome letter should be filed in the Office of the Provost and the complete file should be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students and the Registrar will be notified.

II. Rights of Accused Students

In keeping with the fundamental concepts of due process, all meetings shall be fair and reasonable. Meetings shall be conducted according to procedural rules of the Academic Honesty Policy and in a manner consistent with the provisions set forth in the Academic Honesty Policy. Along with the right to privacy and the right to protection against discrimination, both of which apply to all Keene State College students, students accused of violating the Academic Honesty Policy shall also be given the following rights:

  • A fair, impartial, and equitable process that respects the rights of all participants;
  • Be treated with respect by College officials;
  • Written and timely notice of charges and hearing absent extenuating or extraordinary circumstances;
  • Be presumed not responsible until found responsible by a preponderance of evidence;
  • Have an advisor with them throughout the hearing process
  • Review all relevant documentary evidence regarding the allegation, at least two (2) days prior to a Dean’s hearing;
  • Have unrelated past behavior excluded from the hearing;
  • Choose not to present evidence or speak on their own behalf. A decision will still be rendered based on the information that is presented at the hearing;
  • Be informed, in writing, promptly of the outcome, pending all appeals;
  • To appeal the decision and/or the sanction imposed based on specific grounds.

III. Determining Student Responsibility

The Academic Honesty system is not a court of law; the rules of evidence do not apply. Students who demonstrate behavior that is found to be in violation of the Academic Honesty Policy are found to be “responsible” rather than “guilty,” and are given sanctions that are intended to assist in their development as responsible members of the college community. The determination of responsibility will be based on the standard of evidence known as “a preponderance of evidence.” This standard requires that it be more likely than not that the accused student has committed the violation(s) as charged.

IV. Academic Honesty Policy Violations

As members of the College community, students have an obligation to know and obey the College Academic Honesty Policy. Through its policies and regulation statements, the College has made an effort to outline the academic honesty standards it holds. In general, the College expects that the common sense of a mature and responsible individual will determine if the behavior is one that should be avoided. Accordingly, the following list is intended to serve as examples of behaviors that are considered unacceptable to students enrolled at Keene State College. This list is intended, therefore, to be illustrative and not exhaustive.

  • Presenting others ideas and work as your own
  • Failure to cite and/or reference other people’s ideas and work,
  • Receiving assistance from outside people and sources when specifically prohibited
  • Failure to acknowledging collaboration
  • Performing with dishonesty during examinations, including collusion, collaboration and/or the use of unauthorized resources

V. Sanction Guidelines

A. Purpose

The purpose of sanction guidelines is to assist faculty members and others managing violations of the Academic Honesty Policy by offering definitions of violations and guidelines for sanctions. In determining the seriousness of a policy violation, it may also be appropriate to take into consideration the year of the student. It seems more likely to believe that a first-year student might lack the skills or knowledge to use proper citation than it would be to believe the same of a senior; therefore, issuing sanctions that might lean in a more educational direction may be appropriate for first year students than for more experienced students.

B. Violation Definitions

An initial transgression of the academic honesty policy may result in a level-one or level-two violation charge, depending upon the seriousness of the offense. All initial infractions (with the exception of those that result in expulsion) require that the student take the college-designated educational sanction. A subsequent confirmed violation will automatically be charged as a level-two violation. Any subsequent confirmed offense after a level-two violation requires a sanction of immediate expulsion.

Level-One Violations: These violations affect only the individual student. Some may be due to ignorance or misinformation. These violations have minimal impact on the outcome of the course and can be addressed through education and/or some form of reparation. Some issues that arise in this category are due to discipline-specific demands that require specialized instruction.

Level-Two Violations: These include subsequent confirmed Level One Violations. Initial level two violations are blatant and have a serious effect on the student’s college career. They may also have a direct or indirect negative effect on other students in the class. Level-two violations require a more severe sanction than level-one offenses.

C. Violation and Sanction Examples

Level - One Violations

Examples (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Missing or misleading citation (not meeting MLA, APA, etc. guidelines). In cases where there seems to be minor editorial errors and not a pattern of missing or misleading citation, this may be handled informally at the discretion of the faculty/library staff.
  • Not giving proper credit to the ideas or words of others resulting in plagiarism.
  • Giving inappropriate aid in quizzes or tests, in the writing of papers, or in the preparation of lab reports or other homework assignments (without specific permission to do so or apart from the College sanctioned tutoring services).
  • Seeking and receiving unauthorized aid in quizzes or tests, in the writing of papers, or in the preparation of lab reports or other homework assignments.
  • Two students in two different sections or classes sharing research for a paper or in-class presentation (without specific permission to do so).

Sanctions: Participation in the college-designated educational sanction is required, and one or more of the following is possible:

  • Other Educational Sanctions such as:
    • Requiring the assignment to be redone on a different topic, or
    • Requiring additional assignments to be completed.
  • Restitution (in cases of damage to materials, such as in the Library).
  • Receiving an “F” for the assignment or possibly for the course, depending on the seriousness of the violation

Level - Two Violations (includes any subsequent Level - One Violation)

Examples (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Subsequent confirmed violations of items listed above.
  • Cheating on an exam.
  • Submitting falsified evidence or data for an assignment.
  • Submitting an assignment, completed for one class, in any other class without explicit permission from the faculty.
  • Blatantly plagiarizing, either in written format or orally, the work of others, including unacknowledged information from the internet or other electronic databases.
  • Stealing, buying and/or selling an academic assignment.
  • Misrepresenting one’s identity in an academic context.
  • Sabotaging someone else’s academic work.
  • Altering or forging college academic documents.

Sanctions: Participation in the college-designated educational sanction, if not previously assigned, is required (with the exception of students who are expelled for this offense) and one or more of the following is possible:

  • Other Educational Sanctions such as:
    • Requiring the assignment to be redone on a different topic, or
    • Requiring additional assignments to be completed.
  • Receiving an “F” for the course.
  • Receiving an “F” for the course with the notation that the grade is a result of an Academic Honesty Policy Violation.
  • Academic Probation.
  • Academic Misconduct Suspension.
  • Academic Expulsion

VI. Sanction Definitions

Students who demonstrate behavior that is found to be in violation of the Academic Honesty policy are given sanctions that are intended to assist in their development as responsible members of the College community. Although the goal of the Academic Honesty Policy is to ensure that students take full responsibility for academic course work and for their intellectual/educational development, some behaviors might jeopardize academic integrity and/or compromise the reputation of the College and may result in sanctions that are punitive.

Educational Sanctions: Students will participate in the College’s official educational sanction in order to learn basic principles of academic honesty and why the behavior displayed is not acceptable within the context of our learning community. Faculty may impose additional educational sanctions specific to the course as noted above.

Academic Probation: Assigned for a specific period of time, generally not less than one semester. Academic probation places restrictions on some of the student’s activities. Certain scholarships may be withheld or lost due to academic probation. A student on academic probation is not viewed as “in good standing” by the College. Further violations of the Academic Honesty Policy that occur while the student is on probation generally result in more serious actions, such as suspension or expulsion from the College.

Academic Misconduct Suspension: An academic misconduct suspension occurs when, as a result of a student’s violating the Academic Honesty Policy, she/he loses the privilege of attending Keene State College for a specified period of time, not normally less than one semester or more than two years. During the period of suspension, the student is not eligible for a statement of “good standing” from the College. She/he may not register for or attend classes during any semester including the summer sessions. She/he may not participate in any class offering from the Continuing Education Department or any other extension service of Keene State College. No credits from other colleges will be accepted for transfer if taken during the period of suspension. She/he may not attend or participate in any College function during this period except as stipulated by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. A notation of “Academic Misconduct Suspension” is entered on the student’s transcript. Students suspended for a semester or more must apply to the Director of Admissions for formal re-admission to the College.

Academic Expulsion: This is the most serious sanction that can be imposed on a Keene State College student. It constitutes a final separation from the College and renders the student ineligible for re-admission at any time in the future. In addition, the student is permanently barred from the College premises and may never receive a statement of “good standing.” Students who are expelled for violations of the Academic Honesty Policy may be allowed on campus for legitimate campus administrative business with the prior approval of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. The notation of “Academic Expulsion” is entered on the student’s transcript and becomes a part of her/his permanent record.

VII. The Appellate Process

A. Grounds for Appeal

An appeal shall only be granted if it is based on one or more of the following purposes:

  • The hearing was not conducted in accordance with procedures prescribed by the College.
  • The sanction imposed was not appropriate for the violation and/or the past history of violations.
  • There is new evidence that could not have been known during the hearing which is sufficient to alter the decision or outcome.
B. Changes to Sanction(s)

When there is reason to believe that the sanctioned student or other members of the College community are at risk, or when a need exists to protect College property or prevent material disruption of the College’s educational process, the Provost or his/her designee may immediately enforce any or all of the sanctions, and they shall remain in effect pending the final outcome of the case. Sanctions that are appealed by the student may not be increased; instead, the outcome of a successfully appealed sanction may be a reduction, alteration, or continuation of the original sanction(s). An accused student will not risk a more severe sanction simply by exercising the right to request an Appellate Review of the original sanction. In cases where the appeal is requested by the faculty member filing the complaint, the Dean, Provost or his/her designee may reduce, alter, or increase the original sanction. An increase in sanction must be based on the student’s academic honesty history. Normally, sanctions will not be increased unless prior violations are discovered.

The Provost or his/her designee will make a decision regarding the disposition of the case. A written notification of the decision shall be sent to the student requesting the appeal within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of the student’s appeal letter. Notification will occur as an attachment to an email using the student’s KSC.keene.edu account and through Registered Mail. The decision of the Provost or his/her designee is final. No further appeals are possible

C. In appeals of suspension or expulsion, the Provost or his/her designee will be solely responsible for the appeal process.

Appellate Review Outline

a. The student may provide a written statement and is not required to be at the appeals hearing. The student also has a right to meet with the Provost or his/her designee in order to clarify the grounds for the appeal.

b. Function of the Appeals Process: It is the goal of this review to determine that the appropriate procedures have been followed, that sufficient evidence exists to confirm a finding of responsibility and that the sanction issued is appropriate considering the violation and any prior student history. In addition, the Provost or his/her designee will review any new information to determine if it provides substantive evidence to change the outcome of the hearing.

c. Outcome: The decision of the Provost or his/her designee will be final and will be delivered in writing through the KSC email system and though registered mail, fifteen (15) business days from the receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student will also be informed that the College has a policy limiting the amount of information that will be released from a student’s educational record. If a student receives a sanction of probation, suspension, or expulsion, the student’s parent or legal guardian will be notified, in the case of ‘dependent’ students (as determined by the information maintained in the Student Financial Services Office for students receiving any financial aid). .

VIII. Records

A. Written Records

The written records of all actions, including academic misconduct sanctions that are forwarded from the Office of Academic Affairs, shall be kept in the student’s official file that is maintained by the Dean of Students Office. Student academic misconduct files are also maintained in the Office of the Provost. These confidential records cannot be removed through any method and may be accessed only by written request of the student, by campus officials who have a legitimate educational interest in accordance with FERPA, or through a court order. “Academic Misconduct Suspension” and “Academic Expulsion” are entered on a student’s academic transcript as well as in his/her official file.

IX. Interpretation and Revision

Upon the request of any member of the College community, the Provost or his/her designee shall constitute the Academic Integrity Review Committee for the purpose of interpreting policies. Requests for such a review shall be made in writing to the Provost or his/her designee. The review meeting shall be arranged as soon as possible, preferably within five (5) business days of the receipt of the letter. The interpretation of the Academic Integrity Review Committee shall be final. It will be delivered, in writing, to the Provost or his/her designee, as soon as possible, but within five (5) business days from the date of the review meeting.

The Academic Honesty Policy shall be reviewed every three (3) years starting in 2009, or more often. The Provost or his/her designee shall propose non-substantive changes as necessary. It is the responsibility of the Provost or his/her designee to ensure that adequate notice of any and all changes is given to the College community.

XI Conclusion

As indicated at the outset, the principle of academic integrity is so central to an academic institution that academic dishonesty is one of the most serious offenses in any college and it is one that Keene State College will not tolerate. Ignorance about what constitutes academic dishonesty or about the policy of the College will not be considered an acceptable defense, and to that end, efforts will be made to inform students of Keene State’s policy – through discussions at Orientation and in appropriate and through publication in appropriate places (the Catalog and Student Handbook, for instance). Any questions about the policy or the procedures may be addressed to the Provost.

Academic Honesty Violation Reporting Procedures Flowchart

1.) An alleged violation occurs

2.) Faculty member fills out form that includes the following:

  • Charge.
  • Evidence attached.
  • Recommended sanction offered after consulting sanction guidelines.

(normally within one business day of discovering the violation)

3.) Faculty member meets with student

  • Form reviewed with student. Faculty member explains charges, evidence and sanctions.
  • Student signs original of the form. This does not indicate responsibility, only that the student has been informed of, and understands the process and charges.
  • Faculty member explains the next step in the process is to meet with the Assistant Dean.
  • Report is forwarded to Assistant Dean and a copy is provided to the Department Chair/Coordinator.

(normally within 5 business days of filling out the form)

4.) Assistant or Associate Dean and faculty member meet

  • Discuss form, evidence and recommended sanction.

(normally within 5 business days of receipt of form from faculty member)

5.) Assistant or Associate Dean and student meet

  • Review student history before meeting.
  • Meet with student and review form (normally within 5 business days after meeting with faculty member).
  • Student gives his/her account.
  • Student states whether or not he/she takes responsibility for incident.
  • Assistant or Associate Dean determines student responsibility (finding must normally be rendered within 5 business days of meeting with student).
  • Assistant Dean explains the appeal process and future consequences of violating policy.
  • Assistant or Associate Dean shares sanction with faculty member.

6.) Assistant or Associate Dean provides the student with a copy of the Assistant or Associate Dean’s Report

  • All case records are filed in the Office of the Provost and the Dean of Students Office.

(normally, within 15 business days of final meeting with Student)

7.) Student Determines if she/he wants to Appeal

  • The Student has 5 business days from the receipt of the Assistant or Associate Dean’s Report to submit a written appeal to the Dean for outcomes less than suspension/expulsion, or to the Provost if case has resulted in suspension or expulsion. The letter must state the grounds and provide a rationale.
  • The Dean or Provost will make final decisions on all cases. If a case involves suspension or expulsion, and if the timing is within the academic calendar parameters, the student may appeal to the Provost or his/her designee.
  • The decision of the Provost or his/her designee in such appellate cases is final.
  • All case records are filed in the Office of the Provost and the Dean of Students Office. Appellate outcomes are normally issued in writing to the student within 15 business days of the receipt of the student’s appeal letter.

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About this Policy

Academic Honesty
Ownership: Academics Standards Committee
Last Modified: Mar 13, 2017 – bcaulfield@keene.edu
Categories: Academic
For questions regarding this policy, please contact the policy owner.