Policy Number: D17.0
Policy Name: ACADEMIC CONDUCT AND APPEALS PROCEDURES
As members of an academic community, both students and faculty share responsibility for maintaining high standards of personal and professional integrity. If either party violates these standards, an Academic Conduct Committee may be required to pass judgment. The committee may be called upon to hear cases in which a student believes that a faculty member has improperly evaluated work or has infringed upon the student's academic freedom; it may also be called upon to hear cases where any member of the academic community believes that a particular student has cheated, plagiarized, or performed any other act of academic dishonesty. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the committee to render fair and appropriate judgments reaffirming standards of integrity expected in the academic community.
B. ACADEMIC CONDUCT COMMITTEES
Each college or academic unit at RIT shall have an Academic Conduct Committee. An equal number of students and faculty shall serve on the committee. The number of members, term of service, and method of selection of the committee shall be determined by the members, faculty and students, of each college or academic unit. The committee shall establish its own rules and procedures consistent with the principles outlined in this document and subject to approval of the members, faculty and students, of the individual college or academic unit.
C. PROCEDURES FOR BRINGING CHARGES
1. Charges of Student Academic Misconduct:
a. Inasmuch as these charges will involve a specific course, the course instructor is responsible for assembling evidence and making an initial determination of appropriate action to be taken, up to and including failing the student in the course.
b. The instructor shall then meet informally with the student to discuss the action the faculty member deems appropriate to be taken in the matter.
c. If the student believes the faculty member's action is unjust, the faculty member will arrange to meet jointly with the student and with the faculty member's immediate supervisor.
d. If the matter cannot be resolved among the student, faculty member and supervisor, then the case and all relevant evidence will be sent to the Academic Conduct Committee for judgment.
e. The faculty member or the faculty member's immediate supervisor may also refer the case to the Academic Conduct Committee if it is felt that the alleged misconduct warrants action more severe than failure in the course. In hearing the case, the Academic Conduct Committee can make recommendations to the dean of the college for further action including academic suspension or dismissal from the university; dismissal from the university can finally be implemented only with the concurrence of the Institute Appeals Board and the president of the university.
2. Charges of Faculty Academic Unfairness:
a. If a student believes a faculty member's treatment in a course has been unfair, it is the student's responsibility to meet with the faculty member to discuss the matter.
b. If the matter cannot be resolved, the student and the faculty member will meet with the faculty member's immediate supervisor in an attempt to settle the issue.
c. If the student remains unreconciled, the case may be submitted in writing, along with copies of all material relevant to the issue, to the Academic Conduct Committee for their judgment.
D. COMMITTEE HEARINGS
1. The Academic Conduct Committees will attempt to avoid a strict legal atmosphere at formal sessions, and professional lawyers will not be permitted to represent either student or faculty member before the committee. All parties involved must receive adequate written notice (minimum of two school days) of time, date and place for any hearings, a copy of the committee's procedures, and the specific allegations being made. Both student and faculty member have the right to present relevant evidence as well as to present, question, and cross-examine witnesses. Members of the committee may also question all parties and witnesses.
2. If the Academic Conduct Committee finds in favor of the faculty member, the student's case is dismissed, and/or the faculty member's action upheld, and/or additional appropriate actions are recommended to the dean. If the committee finds in favor of the student, appropriate recommendations will be made to the dean of the college and the faculty member. No one, however, except the faculty member in question has the right to change a previously assigned grade. However, in the event the charge was cheating, plagiarism and other academic dishonesty, the faculty member is bound to eliminate any impact of such charge on the student's grade. Although specific recommendations on the grade to be assigned are not binding upon the faculty member, faculty members have a moral obligation to respond in the highest professional manner to collegial recommendations. Such a response by faculty is essential if RIT is to preserve without abuse the principle of equal fairness for faculty and students, as well as the principle of professional responsibility of faculty as the sole evaluator of student performance.
The faculty member or the student may appeal the findings of the Academic Conduct Committee to the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee of the Institute Appeals Board (see Policy D18.0, section VI). The Academic Appeals Sub-Committee consists of five (5) members selected from the pools of members comprising the Institute Appeals Board. The Academic Appeals Sub-Committee's non-student members serve two (2) year terms. The student members serve one (1) year terms. The Academic Appeals Sub- Committee membership consists of two (2) faculty members, one (1) representative of the provost's office, and two (2) student representatives. Members may serve consecutive terms on the Academic Appeals Sub- Committee. The chair of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will be selected by the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee from among its membership.
The Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will hear appeals, made to it by the faculty member or by the student, of the findings made by a college's Academic Conduct Committee. The desire and basis for the appeal must be submitted within five (5) school days following the mailing of the Academic Conduct Committee's findings. An appeal shall be limited to a review of the record of the initial hearing, the tape of the initial hearing, supporting documentation, and/or the finding on the following grounds:
Appeals are normally conducted in private. At the request of either of the parties involved, and at the discretion of the chair of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee, the appeal may be open to other members of the university community. Admission of any person to the appeal hearing will be at the discretion of the chair of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. A decision concerning the appeal will be mailed to the faculty member, student, and dean of the initiating college within fourteen (14) school days of the close of the hearing.
The Academic Appeals Sub-Committee may recommend that the original sanctions be reduced, dismissed, or upheld; send the case back to the initiating Academic Conduct Committee for either rehearing or a reconsideration of sanctions; or refer the case to the dean of the initiating college with specific recommendations for resolving process errors.
The finding of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee may be appealed by the faculty member or the student to the provost. The desire and basis for the appeal must be submitted within five (5) school days following the mailing of the findings of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. In an appeal before the provost, the provost will make a decision based solely upon the written appeal and tape recordings associated with the hearings of the Academic Conduct Committee and the university's Academic Appeals Sub-Committee on the grounds set forth above. The decision of the provost will be mailed to the faculty member, student, and dean of the initiating college within fourteen (14) school days of the written appeal.
The provost may recommend that the original sanctions be reduced, dismissed, or upheld; send the case back to the initiating Academic Conduct Committee for rehearing or for a reconsideration of sanctions; or refer the case to the dean of the initiating college with specific recommendations for resolving process errors. The decision rendered by the provost is final.
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost/Academic Senate
Effective Date: Approved 1975
Last revised January 16, 1997
Edited September 2010