Policy Number: D08.0

Policy Name: Student Academic Integrity Process

  1. INTRODUCTION

As members of an academic community, both students and faculty share responsibility for maintaining high standards of personal and professional integrity. If a student violates these standards, the Academic Integrity Process affords a fair resolution. The committee outlined herein may be called upon to hear cases where a breach of student academic integrity is alleged by instructor. In all cases, it is the responsibility of any university representatives to render fair and appropriate decisions reaffirming standards of integrity expected in the academic community.

The following sections outline the procedures for resolving allegations of a breach in student academic integrity.

  1. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY COMMITTEE

Each college or academic unit at RIT shall have a standing Academic Integrity Committee. The Academic Integrity Committee shall hear cases involving an alleged breach in student academic integrity. Should any question arise as to the nature of an allegation or the committee to hear the case, the Dean’s Designee (role defined below) shall be consulted for guidance.

  1. ROLES

    1. Dean’s Designee: Each college/academic unit shall identify an associate dean or designee who is a member of the faculty to facilitate and manage the hearing process and attend hearings as a non-voting advisor to the Academic Integrity Committee.

    2. Academic Integrity Committee Membership: The committee shall consist of six members: three instructors (senior or principal lecturer, tenured, or tenure-track), an alternate instructor, and three students. Instructors will be elected to the committee for staggered two-year terms. An instructor may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Each college Dean’s Designee will appoint three students to the committee, on a case-by-case basis, undergraduate and/or graduate, depending on the degree status of the student involved in the case. Faculty or student members must recuse themselves based on case involvement or bias and alternates will be appointed.

    3. Academic Integrity Committee Chair: The Dean’s Designee will appoint the committee chair from among the three instructors serving.

    4. Communication: Email is an acceptable form of communication for all contact regarding a breach of academic integrity.

    5. Meetings: Meetings can be face to face or through technology.

  2. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

A breach of student academic integrity falls into three basic areas: cheating, duplicate submission and plagiarism

  1. Cheating: Cheating is any form of fraudulent or deceptive academic act, including falsification of data, possessing, providing, or using unapproved materials, sources, or tools for a project, exam, or body of work submitted for faculty evaluation.

  2. Duplicate Submission: Duplicate submission is the submitting of the same or similar work for credit in more than one course without prior approval of the instructors for those same courses.

  3. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of others’ ideas as one’s own without giving proper attribution to the original author or authors. Plagiarism occurs when a student copies direct phrases from a text (e.g. books, journals, and internet) and does not provide quotation marks or paraphrases or summarizes those ideas without giving credit to the author or authors. In all cases, if such information is not properly and accurately documented with appropriate credit given, then the student has committed plagiarism.
  1. Procedures for Handling Alleged Breaches of Academic Integrity

    1. The course instructor bringing the allegation forward 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.

    2. The instructor will notify the student in writing (email is acceptable) as to the rationale for all actions taken pertaining to the breach of student academic integrity within three calendar weeks of the alleged incident. After this time, an allegation may not proceed. Copies of the written notification, either paper or electronic, will be provided to the instructor’s academic unit head and the instructor’s Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will forward the written notification to the Office of Student Conduct and the student’s home academic unit. In cases involving graduate students, a copy will also be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies.

    3. The instructor will arrange a meeting with the student to discuss the allegations. Unless the student objects, the matter will be documented and closed.

    4. If a meeting between the student and instructor does not result in a mutual agreement, the student or faculty member will arrange a meeting with the instructor and the instructor’s academic unit head.

    5. If a meeting between the student, instructor, and instructor’s academic unit head does not result in a mutual agreement, the student or instructor will arrange a meeting with those parties and the Dean’s Designee.

    6. If the matter continues to be unresolved, the Dean’s Designee will convene the Academic Integrity Committee at the request of the instructor or the student.

    7. At the conclusion of the Academic Integrity hearing, the committee will determine by simple majority if a breach of student academic integrity did or did not occur.

    8. If the Academic Integrity Committee determines that the allegation of a breach of student academic integrity is not substantiated, the instructor will reevaluate the grade consistent with the instructor's grading policies and procedures as stated in the course syllabus.

    9. If the Academic Integrity Committee determines that the allegation of a breach of student academic integrity is substantiated, the sanctions will be outlined and may be determined with input from the instructor.

    10. The Academic Integrity Committee may also make recommendations to the dean of the student’s home college or refer the case to the Office of Student Conduct for further review and possible dismissal from the university.

    11. The committee chair will provide written notification of the committee’s findings to the instructor, the student, the instructor’s Dean’s Office, the student’s home college Dean’s Office, and the student’s home academic unit.

    12. Should the findings result in a grade dispute, the Dean’s Designee will convene the Final Course Grade Dispute Committee (See Policy D17.0).

    13. In the event that a student’s home college finds a pattern of repeat offenses of breaches of student academic integrity, the home college Dean’s Office will assemble all relevant materials and forward to the Office of Student Conduct for review and possible action.

    14. If a student chooses to withdraw from a course after a case of academic integrity has been initiated, the student will receive a "W." If at the conclusion of the academic integrity process, the finding of a breach of academic integrity is upheld, the "W" will be converted to an "F." In the event that the student withdraws from the university before the conclusion of the academic integrity process, the "W" will be converted to an "F."

    15. In the event that a student takes a leave of absence (see Policy D02.1, section A.1) during the process, the academic unit will place a registration hold on the student’s record until such time that the student returns to the university and the academic integrity process reconvenes. Upon the student’s return, he/she will be allowed to register for and attend classes through the duration of the Academic Integrity Process.

  2. Academic Integrity Committee Hearings/Procedures

    1. Notification of Hearing Date: Both student and the instructor will be provided written notification of the date, place, and time that the case will be heard by the Academic Integrity Committee at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing.

    2. Notice of Allegations: At least seven (7) business days prior to the scheduled hearing, the student and the instructor will be sent written notice (email is acceptable) of the allegations of a breach of student academic integrity. The notice will include:

      1. A description of the alleged breach.
      2. A list of university policies, rules or regulations allegedly violated.
      3. The names of individuals expected to be present at the hearing.
      4. A copy of or link to the online version of this policy.

    3. Advocates: The student will be informed that he or she has a right to bring to the hearing an advocate from among the RIT faculty, staff, or student body who is not a practicing lawyer. Advocates can actively participate in the formal hearing process. The Center for Student Conduct, upon request, will assist the student in obtaining an advocate or provide information and training to those faculty/staff advocates new to the process.

    4. Lawyers: Practicing lawyers are not permitted to participate in the Academic Integrity Process as a representative of the student or faculty.

    5. Parents/Guardians:  Parents/guardians are not permitted to participate in or be present during the Academic Integrity Process unless the involved student is under the age of 18.  In those instances, the parent/guardian can observe the hearing process and give their son or daughter quiet counsel.

    6. Witnesses: Witnesses called by either the student or the instructor will be permitted to speak during the hearing; however, no walk-in participants will be permitted to speak. Presenters may not speak more than five (5) minutes, and times will be strictly enforced. Names and contact information for anyone presenting information must be submitted in advance of the meeting and in time to be documented in hearing materials. The college maintains the right to limit the number of meeting presenters and attendees. Written statements may be submitted to the committee in lieu of attendance at the meeting. Written statements must be read aloud for the purposes of recording the content.

    7. Hearing Participants: All hearings will be conducted in private. The committee chair facilitates the hearing process and only the student, instructor, and witnesses involved in a particular case may be present (including the Dean’s Designee). Other persons who might be present at the hearing include those providing necessary access services.

    8. Recording of the hearing: All Academic Integrity Committee hearings are recorded. Recordings may be audio or video depending on the needs of the participants. Recordings are retained by the Dean’s Designee only until the time for appeal has passed. There shall be a single record of the academic integrity hearing and this record shall be the property of the university. Students may request to listen to or view a copy of the recording or read a copy of the transcript (if the student is deaf/hard of hearing) by submitting a written request to the Dean’s Designee. Transcripts will be provided by the college.

    9. The designated Academic Integrity Committee chair will inform the participants that the hearing is being recorded.

    10. In the event the student requests an appeal, the recording will be submitted by the college to the Institute Appeals Board via the associate vice president for Student Affairs for use during the appeal process. The recordings will be destroyed after the appeal date has passed or the appeal has been completed.

    11. Each academic integrity hearing participant (student and instructor) will have fifteen (15) minutes to describe their situation, and their individual perspectives. The individual filing the charges will present first.

    12. Time will be allotted for questions from the committee immediately after each party presents.

    13. Each party will have an opportunity for five (5) minutes of closing remarks after the question and answer period.

    14. The Academic Integrity Process is not a court of law and legal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply. The chair of the Academic Integrity Committee will determine at his or her sole discretion the range of testimony permitted by witnesses and items of information that will be considered based on principles of fundamental relevance and fairness.

    15. At hearings involving more than one student, the Dean’s Designee, in his or her discretion, may permit hearings concerning each student to be conducted separately or simultaneously.

    16. All procedural questions will be decided at the discretion of the Academic Integrity Committee chair in consultation with the Dean’s Designee. The Dean’s Designee may decide to adjourn the hearing for a reasonable period of time, if warranted.

    17. The student cannot be found responsible of breaches of academic integrity solely for failing to answer the charges or appear at the hearing; in such cases, evidence to support the charges will be presented to the Academic Integrity Committee and a determination will be made based on the evidence.

    18. Following questions, explanations, discussion, and closing statements, all participants will be dismissed and the Academic Integrity Committee will deliberate privately.

    19. At the conclusion of the academic integrity hearing, the committee will determine by a simple majority if a breach of academic integrity did or did not occur.

    20. The Academic Integrity Committee may also make recommendations to the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled for further action including academic suspension from the college or referral to the Office of Student Conduct for possible dismissal from the university.

    21. The committee chair will provide written notification of the committee’s findings to the instructor, the student, the instructor’s Dean’s Office, the student’s home college Dean’s Office and the student’s home academic unit within seven (7) business days of the hearing. This notice will also include the process to file an appeal at the university level.

    22. Should the findings result in a grade dispute, the Dean’s Designee will begin the process to convene the Final Course Grade Dispute Committee (see D.17).

    23. In the event that a student’s home college finds a pattern of repeat offenses of breaches of academic integrity, the home college Dean’s Office will assemble all relevant materials and forward to the Office of Student Conduct to hear the allegations against the student.

    24. Either the student or faculty may file an appeal of the Academic Integrity Committee’s findings (See VII. below). An appeal must be filed within seven (7) business days from the date of the mailing of the Academic Integrity Committee’s findings. (See Section VII. Academic Integrity Appeals.)

    25. Upon conclusion of the hearing, all documentation regarding the hearing will be submitted to the Dean’s Office of the student’s home college and maintained for a period of six years.

  3. Academic Integrity Appeals

The instructor or the student may appeal the findings of the Academic Integrity 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) instructors, 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 brought by the instructor or by the student of the findings made by an Academic Integrity Committee. The desire and basis for the appeal must be submitted within seven (7) business days following the electronic mailing date of the Academic Integrity Committee's findings. An appeal shall be limited to a review of the recording of the initial hearing, supporting documentation, and/or the finding on the following grounds:

Appeals are conducted in private. Admission of any person to the appeal hearing will be at the discretion of the chair of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee in consultation with the advisor to the Sub-Committee. The findings of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee concerning the appeal will be mailed to the instructor, student, the student’s home unit, and dean of the initiating college within fourteen (14) business 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 Integrity 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 Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will not decide on grade disputes; those must be considered by the college Final Course Grade Dispute Committee separately (See Policy D17.0).

The instructor or the student may appeal the findings of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee to the provost. The desire and basis for the appeal must be submitted within seven (7) business days following the mailing of the findings of the Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. In an appeal before the provost, the provost will make a determination based solely upon the written appeal and recordings associated with the hearings of the Academic Integrity Committee and the university's Academic Appeals Sub-Committee on the grounds set forth above. The determination of the provost will be mailed to the instructor, student, the student’s home academic unit and dean of the initiating college within fourteen (14) business 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 Integrity 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. Direct inquiries to:

Staff Assistant
asenate@rit.edu

Office of the Provost
academicaffairs@rit.edu

Effective Date: Approved 1977

Policy History:
Revised January 16, 1997
Revised May 16, 2013