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Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures

Graduate Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures

IUP is an academic community within the society at large. All members within this community are expected to accept the responsibility for academic integrity and honestly. Academic dishonesty seriously erodes the quality of educational pursuits and is unacceptable at IUP. The following policies and procedures have been established to preserve the academic integrity of the university community, while also providing a process that protects the rights of students who allegedly violate these policies.

 

I. Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures

The university’s academic integrity policy is part of an ongoing effort to develop a community where trust, honesty, ethical principles, and personal integrity guide interactions with others, thereby providing for orderly academic and scholarly processes.

The following policy and procedures have been established to preserve the academic integrity of the university community, while also providing a process that provides opportunities for students to respond to allegations that the policy has been violated.

 II. Policy

A. Types of Violations: Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Providing or receiving unauthorized assistance in coursework, with lab work, theses, dissertations, or during examinations (including qualifying and comprehensive exams) or quizzes. 

2. Using unauthorized materials or devices, such as crib notes, during examinations or quizzes.

3. Plagiarizing papers, theses, dissertations, essays, reports, speeches and oral presentations, take-home examinations, computer projects, or other academic exercises by misrepresenting or passing off the ideas, words, formulas, or data of another as one’s own. Plagiarism is dishonest and illegal. Writers are indebted to authors from whom they borrow exact words, ideas, theories, opinions, statistics, illustrative material, or facts (beyond common knowledge). Writers are also indebted if they summarize or paraphrase in their own words material from sources. All quoted material requires the acknowledgment of the source by the use of quotation marks or indentation (if exact wording is incorporated). In addition, both directly quoted and summarized material must be acknowledged by use of a note or parenthetical citation that indicates the author and/or date of publication and page number or numbers. If the writer indents a quotation, it must be clearly set off from the body of the text and must be documented in the aforesaid manner. To verify the various documentation procedures, writers should consult the style sheet in the particular discipline for which they are preparing the assignment (MLA,APA, Chicago, BC, etc.).

4. Using the same paper or work more than once without authorization of the faculty member to whom the work is being submitted.

5. Possessing course examination materials before the administration of the exam, without the prior knowledge or consent of the instructor.

6. Intentionally evading IUP academic policies and procedures; for example, improperly processing course withdrawals, grade changes, or other academic procedures.

7. Falsifying information, including falsification/fabrication of research data and/or statistical analyses, forging signatures on various forms and documents, or altering or adding answers on academic exercises or exams after work has been graded.

8. Computer dishonesty as addressed by university computing policies including, but not limited to: using or attempting to use computing accounts or other information for which the student is not authorized; providing false or misleading information to obtain a computing account or access to other information resources; attempting to obtain information resource access codes (usernames, passwords, PINs, etc.) for another user’s computing accounts; sharing information resource access codes (usernames, passwords, PINs, etc.) with other individuals; attempting to disguise the identity of a computing account or other information resource; using or attempting to use university network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote computers including, but not limited to, port scanning; violating the terms of intellectual property rights, in particular, software license agreements and copyright laws; using information resources to monitor another user’s data communications, or to read, copy, change, or delete another user’s files or software without permission of the owner; using or installing or attempting to use or install software not properly licensed.

9. Noncompliance by failure to comply with previously imposed sanctions for academic violations under this policy.

10.Class behavior which significantly disrupts the learning process or is a threat to others.

11.Buying, selling, stealing, or engaging in unauthorized exchange of, or improperly using, any assignments, papers, or projects.

12.Making fraudulent claims to gain academic credit or to influence testing or grading.

The university reserves the right to discipline any student for the above policy violations and any other action that an ordinary, reasonable, intelligent college student knows, or should know, might lead to the issuance of discipline. This means the university maintains the right to issue discipline for reasonable cause.

Charges of academic integrity violations may be brought by a faculty member or administrator. Students who observe or become aware of a violation of academic integrity by another student are strongly encouraged to report it to a university official. A faculty member/administrator who believes that a student has violated an academic policy may elect to resolve the matter by Informal Resolution, by Documented Agreement, or by Formal Adjudication.

Sanction(s) may not be imposed upon a student believed to have violated an academic policy without following one of these three procedures.

If charges are brought, the accused student shall have a fair and reasonable opportunity to answer, explain, and defend against the charges. The university shall have the burden of proof in all cases.  

III. Procedures

A. Options for Resolution: A faculty member or administrator must use one of the following options to resolve alleged violations of academic integrity:

1. Option I: Informal Resolution. The faculty member/administrator shall notify the student of the charges and schedule a meeting within ten calendar days of the observation or discovery of the incident and agree at such meeting to resolve the issue without submitting any formal documentation. If the violation pertains to work being judged or that has been judged by a committee (examples might include dissertations, theses, and comprehensive examinations, both oral and written), the meeting must involve a majority of the committee and the resolution must be agreed to by a majority of the committee. It is in the interest of the faculty member/administrator and student to complete a statement that summarizes the incident, meeting, and agreed-upon resolution. The factual statement should be signed by both parties and copies provided to the student and the faculty member/administrator. If the agreement is for the student to withdraw from the program, it must also be stipulated that the student cannot reapply to any other program at IUP, and the agreement must be documented as in Option II below.  By resolving the charges informally, the student waives his/her right to appeal sanctions which have been agreed upon in the resolution process. If agreement cannot be reached, or at the discretion of the faculty member/administrator, a more formal process as outlined in this policy must be initiated by the faculty member/administrator.

2. Option II: Resolution by Documented Agreement

a. If no resolution is reached under Option I, or if the faculty member/administrator deems this step to be more appropriate, the faculty member/administrator may schedule a conference with the student in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. This conference must be scheduled/requested within ten calendar days of the observation or discovery of the alleged violation or of the failure to resolve through Option I. If an agreement is reached, the faculty member/administrator must complete a Documented Agreement Referral Form outlining the agreement and have it signed by both parties: faculty member/administrator and student. If the violation pertains to work such as a thesis or comprehensive examination being judged or that has been judged by a committee, the conference must involve a majority of the committee and the Documented Agreement Referral Form must be agreed to and signed by a majority of the committee and the student. If the agreement is for the student to withdraw from the program, it must also be stipulated that the student cannot reapply to any other program at IUP.  Copies are distributed to the student, the faculty member/administrator filing the agreement, the department chair, Graduate Admissions Office, and the Office of the Provost. The Office of the Provost will file the official documents with the Office of Student Conduct. The form must be filed within ten calendar days of the conference.

b. By signing the agreement, the student waives the right to appeal the sanctions agreed upon in the conference. If the student fails to fulfill the written agreement, the faculty member/administrator may file an academic integrity referral against the student for noncompliance.

c. If a prior academic integrity violation for the student is on record, the matter will be referred to an Academic Integrity Board (see section D, Multiple Violations).

d. If a documented agreement is not reached, the faculty member/administrator shall initiate the formal adjudication process by filing an Academic Integrity Referral Form with the department chair, within ten calendar days of the conference with the student.

3. Option III: Resolution by Formal Adjudication

A. A faculty member/administrator should pursue formal adjudication if:

…he/she cannot reach, or chooses not to attempt, a mutually agreeable resolution with the student regarding the facts of the case or sanctions to be imposed,

…he/she believes that the violation is so severe that it warrants the following sanctions:

• awarding a failing grade on a project or exam (such as a graduate qualifying for a comprehensive exam or dissertation) when resubmitting the project or retaking the exam is not possible

 • involuntary withdrawal from one or more of IUP’s academic programs

• suspension

• expulsion

• rescission of a conferred degree

a. The faculty member/administrator should file an Academic Integrity Referral Form with the department chair, within ten calendar days of the observation or discovery of the violation or within ten calendar days of the failure to reach a resolution through Option I or Option II. If the violation pertains to work being judged by a committee, the form must be signed by a majority of the committee. The form will contain a description of the alleged violation, including the time, date, and place of occurrence, and the recommended sanction if the student is found to have violated this policy.

b. The department chair will forward a copy of the Academic Integrity Referral Form to the student, within ten calendar days of receiving notification of the allegation, and contact the student to schedule a hearing to review the facts surrounding the allegation and recommended sanctions if the student is determined to have committed a violation.

c. The hearing should be scheduled so as to allow the student a reasonable time to prepare a defense (within ten calendar days of being notified of the allegation by the department chair).

d. This hearing will involve the student, the department chair, the faculty member/administrator, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research (or Dean’s designee); all parties may invite others with pertinent information. The student and the faculty member/administrator must be given the opportunity to submit and review written, physical, and testimonial evidence, and to question witnesses.

e. The accused student may identify an advisor, who may be an attorney, to be present at the hearing. The advisor may only consult privately with the student.

f. The student may waive his/her right to a hearing in writing. If so, the sanction recommended by the person filing the referral will be imposed unless the sanction is suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree. Suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree must be implemented by the president’s designee

g. If the accused student receives proper notification of the hearing and fails to appear when the hearing has been scheduled, the hearing will be held in the student’s absence and the department chair will render a decision based upon information presented by the faculty member/administrator.

h. Following the hearing, the department chair will render a determination based on the information presented at the hearing. Within ten calendar days of the hearing, the department chair will forward a written report summarizing the hearing that includes the outcome, the factual basis for the determination reached, the sanction to be issued, and the appeal procedures. The original report is sent to the student with copies to the faculty member/administrator and Office of the Provost. The Office of the Provost will file the official documents with the Office of Student Conduct. If the outcome is for the student to withdraw from the program, it must also be stipulated that the student cannot reapply to any other program at IUP

i. In the event that a department chair cannot or will not fulfill the above role, or in the event that the person filing the referral is an administrator or department chair, the Provost/designee will determine the appropriate individual to fulfill the department chair’s role and inform the student and the faculty member/administrator filing charges within ten calendar days of receiving notification of the allegation.

j. If a prior academic violation for the student is on record, the case must be referred to the Academic Integrity Board (see section D, Multiple Violations). Otherwise, if there is no appeal, the recommended sanction will be imposed.. 

B. Academic Integrity Board (AIB): The AIB may be asked to hear appeals of cases filed at Option III: Resolution by Formal Adjudication. In addition, the AIB will hear all cases in which appeals to the chair’s decision are accepted by the  Provost/designee (see sections C.1. and C.2., Appeals). The AIB will also review sanctions in cases of multiple violations (see section D).

1. For graduate-level hearings and reviews, the AIB will be made up of four (4) faculty members, one of whom will chair the board, and two (2) graduate students. For undergraduate hearings and reviews the AIB will be made up of four (4) faculty members, one of whom will chair the board, and two (2) undergraduate students. A quorum requires the presence of four persons, at least one of whom must be a graduate student (for cases at the graduate level) or an undergraduate student (for cases at the undergraduate level). All members, including the chair, are voting members.

2. When an AIB hearing is called, the AIB will be convened by the Provost/designee. The accused student shall be notified of the time, date, and place of the hearing and the names of those AIB members scheduled to review his/her case. If the hearing is an appeal, this notification will also include details of the charges, including the time, date, and place of the alleged offense and the recommended sanction. If the hearing is a review of sanctions in a multiple violation case (see Section D), the notification should also indicate that more severe sanctions might be imposed. The hearing should be scheduled no sooner than ten calendar days from the date of notification to the student.

3. Prior to the hearing, a student appearing before an AIB may, with good cause, challenge any member on the board sitting in judgment of his/her particular case. When such a challenge is made, an alternate member will be appointed to the AIB. 

4. The AIB will review all material and hear all evidence pertinent to the case from the accused and all witnesses. Members of the AIB shall be free to ask relevant questions to clarify information or resulting issues.

5. The AIB will hear evidence appropriate to the nature of its review (see section C, Appeals).

6. The student shall have a fair and reasonable opportunity to answer, explain, and defend against information and witnesses’ statements presented at the hearing. The student shall also have the opportunity to submit written, physical, and testimonial evidence, and to call relevant witnesses on his/her behalf. 

7. The accused student may identify an advisor, who may be an attorney, to be present at the hearing. The advisor may only consult privately with the student.

8. After hearing all evidence, the AIB will privately make its decision based upon the evidence presented and within the scope of its review. A majority vote of the AIB shall be required for any decision. If the AIB finds that the student more likely than not committed the misconduct or infraction, and the student has not prior academic violation on record, it may accept, reduce (but not increase), or modify the recommended sanction. If the student does have a prior academic violation on record, the AIB may increase the recommended sanction (see section D, Multiple Violations).

9 If the student waives his/her right to a hearing in writing, or chooses not to appear at the AIB hearing, the case will be adjudicated based upon the evidence presented at the scheduled hearing.

10.All hearings are closed unless the student requests an open hearing in writing. The AIB chair has the authority to make the final decision regarding access of spectators at the hearing.

11.The AIB must submit a written report of the decision within ten calendar days to the Provost/designee, who will forward the decision to the involved parties.

C. Appeals: These appeal procedures apply to cases resolved through formal adjudication. Cases of academic integrity that are resolved through Informal Resolution or Documented Agreement cannot be appealed.

1. If, after receiving the department chair’s report on the outcome of the hearing, the faculty member/administrator or the student disagrees with the decision, the sanction, or both, he/she may appeal to the Provost/designee within ten calendar days of receiving the report. This appeal must be in writing and describe in detail the grounds for the appeal. These reasons may include the following:

a. Denial of a fair and reasonable hearing

b. New evidence (applies when there is an acceptable reason why the information was not presented at the original hearing)

c. Excessively harsh sanctions

2. The Provost/designee may deny the appeal or direct the appeal to be heard by an AIB within ten calendar days. All appeals involving sanctions of involuntary withdrawal from  one or more of IUP’s academic programs, suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree will be heard by an AIB.

3. Unless the recommended sanction is suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree, the decision of the AIB is final and will be implemented by the Provost/design

4. Suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree may be recommended by the AIB but can only be implemented by the President’s designee, who is responsible for verifying that due process was followed.

D. Multiple Violations:

1. Information about prior violations is not relevant to determining whether a student violated the policy in the current case. However, such information is pertinent in determining the appropriate sanction.

2. If a student is found in violation of academic integrity two or more times, all materials within the student’s past and present academic integrity files shall be used in determining appropriate sanctions. Students with multiple academic integrity violations of record may be subject to additional sanctions, including possible suspension or expulsion from the university.

3. For cases previously resolved by documented agreement or through formal adjudication at the department chair’s level, an AIB hearing will be scheduled. This hearing will review all information pertinent to the determination of an appropriate sanction but will not reconsider the issue of whether the policy violation occurred. After considering the severity of the current and prior violations, the AIB may determine that a more severe sanction is appropriate.

4. The AIB should request information on prior violations only after determining that a violation has occurred. Information on prior violations should be used in determining the appropriate sanction.

5. The AIB must submit a written report of the decision within ten calendar days of its decision to Provost/designee, who will forward the decision to the involved parties.

6. The student may appeal any new sanction to the Provost/designee. The Provost/designee may deny the appeal or, on the basis of denial of a fair and reasonable hearing, new evidence, or excessively harsh sanctions, direct the appeal to be heard by a second AIB.

E. Sanctions:

The following sanctions may be agreed upon by the student and faculty member/administrator through Informal Resolution or Documented Agreement. All grade reductions require the approval of the instructor of record. If the work is graded by a committee, a grade reduction requires the approval of the majority of the committee.

a. Single Grade Reduction: Reduction of grade or failure on project, examination, quiz, or other academic exercise on which the student is alleged to have cheated.

b. Course Grade Reduction: Reduction of course grade or failure in the course. If the violation involves a project spanning multiple courses (such as a dissertation or multiple semester internship), the grade reduction may apply to all courses involved.

c. Constructive or Educational Task: A task which requires the student to examine his/her dishonest behavior and which may benefit the student, campus, or community.

d. Other: Sanctions deemed appropriate and tailored to a specific violation as determined by the faculty member/administrator. Any reasonable sanction or combination of sanctions for a given violation may be agreed upon by the student and faculty member/administrator.

2.In addition to the above, the following sanctions may be imposed through formal adjudication.

Letter of Warning: A warning letter may be issued indicating that the student has been found in violation of an academic policy and that failure to comply with policies in the future may result in further disciplinary action to be handled as a second offense. The letter of warning will remain in effect for a period of time as specified by the individual or board hearing the case.

Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary probation, which is for a period of time specified by the individual or board hearing the case, is an indication that a student’s status at the university is seriously jeopardized. If the student is found in violation of another IUP policy during the probationary period, a more serious sanction will be levied, including possible involuntary withdrawal from one or more of IUP’s academic programs, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

Involuntary withdrawal from one or more of IUP’s academic programs: A student may be denied the right to participate in some segment of IUP’s programs. Such involuntary withdrawal might be imposed on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Rescission of a degree: A student may have his/her degree rescinded if found to have plagiarized or not to have conducted his/her own research on an undergraduate thesis, graduate thesis, or graduate dissertation.

Suspension: A student may be suspended from the university for a specified period of time, not to be less than the remainder of the current semester. Suspension requires that a student remove himself/herself from university premises, not attend classes or social activities, and not be present on university or Student Cooperative Association property during the period of suspension.

Expulsion: Expulsion may be considered under any of the following circumstances: when there is a very serious violation of the academic integrity policy, when a student is proven to have violated the academic integrity policy on more than one occasion, or when a student appears before the board after already having been suspended. Expulsion from the institution is permanent. Appeals to the sanction of expulsion must be submitted to the Office of the President. If necessary, the President will consult with legal counsel in these cases. Suspension, expulsion, and rescission of a degree can be recommended by a faculty member/administrator, department chair, and AIB but can be imposed only by the President’s designee for suspension, expulsion, and rescission of a degree; the designee is responsible for verifying that due process was followed.

Other: Further sanctions, including rescission of a graduate degree, may be recommended through written agreement approved and signed by the faculty member and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

F. Records and Recordkeeping:

Records of Informal Resolution. Although no official forms are filed at this level of resolution, it is strongly recommended that a faculty member/administrator and student who reach an informal agreement put the agreement in writing with a copy to each participant. This protects each party in the event of any future attempt at renegotiation.

Records of Resolution by Documented Agreement. Documented Agreement Resolutions are filed with the Office of Student Conduct. They are not considered formal disciplinary records until, and unless, the student is found in violation of this policy a second time. They are internal university records used for monitoring students for multiple violations only. If a second documented agreement form is filed or a student is found in violation of the policy through formal adjudication, the student will then have a formal disciplinary record which includes records of both violations. This formal record is maintained according to the IUP judicial system recordkeeping policies.

Records of Formal Adjudication. Records of academic integrity cases resolved through formal adjudication are filed with the Office of Student Conduct. They are maintained as formal disciplinary records in accordance with IUP judicial system recordkeeping policies. Records of cases involving suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree must be maintained for a minimum of seven years.

G. Operational Notes:

In cases where a violation is alleged at, or near, the end of the semester and resolution by informal resolution, documented agreement, or formal adjudication cannot be completed before grades are submitted, the faculty member should submit a designation of “Incomplete” (I) for the student. The “I” designation will remain on the student’s record until the case has been resolved. Once the case has been resolved, the “I” designation will be replaced with the appropriate grade.

If the violation is alleged during the semester when classes are in session, the accused student should continue attending all classes and continue to complete course requirements during the resolution of the academic integrity case.

If the student has withdrawn and has been found to violate the policy, another grade, including an F, may be placed on the transcript. If the student has withdrawn and has not been found to violate the policy, the “W” will remain on the transcript.

The ten-day requirement within this policy is a period of time intended to reasonably assure swift notification of an alleged violation and a swift response while allowing the student a reasonable opportunity to prepare a response. Either a faculty member/administrator or student may request an extension of time for good cause, which may be granted by the Provost or designee.

The university may withhold transcripts, grades, diplomas, or other official records pending the disposition of cases, if such action is reasonably necessary to preserve its ability to enforce its rules.

6. The Provost/designee may modify the procedural provisions of these rules by the issuance of written orders to deal with particular unusual procedural situations, so long as no order shall contradict the rules of the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education governing due process for students, and no such rule shall deny fundamental fairness to students by, for example, effectively constituting a denial of notice or opportunity to be heard

7. This policy will be reviewed by the Senate Academic Committee after five years.

The various forms described in this policy are available from the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, deans’ offices, or department offices. Questions concerning the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures can be directed to the Office of the Provost.

Approved by University Senate on December 3, 2013


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