Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures

  • IUP is committed to the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarly endeavors and behaviors; it means that all academic work should be the result of an individual’s own effort.

    Academic assignments help students learn and allow them to exhibit this learning. Grades are an assessment of the extent to which learning has been demonstrated in assignments. Therefore, academic work and grades should be the result of a student’s own understanding and effort. All members of the IUP community—including students, faculty, and staff—are responsible for maintaining academic integrity, which includes knowing what IUP’s academic integrity policies are and being able to identify academic misconduct. Academic misconduct includes any action which improperly impacts the assessment or representation of a student’s academic achievement. Academic misconduct may result in disciplinary action, including expulsion from the university.

    A. Violations

    Academic integrity violations can take many forms. Violations of IUP’s standards of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following broadly defined categories:

    1. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a type of fraud that involves stealing someone else’s work and lying about it. Using someone else’s words, ideas, or data as if it were one’s own work is plagiarism. Plagiarism applies to any type of source, whether published or unpublished, and to any type of assignment, whether written, verbal, or otherwise. Plagiarism can be avoided simply by acknowledging that certain material is the work of another, and then providing a citation that gives a reader the information necessary to find the source of the work. Any assignment submitted by a student that includes the words, ideas, or data of another must include complete, accurate, and specific references. Any verbatim statements must also include quotation marks.

    2. Fabrication: Fabrication means making something up to deceive or mislead someone. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of fictitious data, research, citations, or any other kind of information. Fabrication also includes making false claims to influence testing or grading, or to gain academic credit.

    3. Cheating: Cheating is an attempt to misrepresent one’s mastery of information or skills being assessed. Cheating takes many forms; it includes, but is not limited to, using (or attempting to use) unauthorized materials, assistance, information, devices, or study aids in any academic exercise. Cheating also includes, among other things, using the same paper or work more than once without authorization of the faculty member to whom the work is being submitted.

    4. Technological Misconduct: Computer dishonesty, as addressed by university computing policies, includes, but is 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; and using or installing or attempting to use or install software not properly licensed.

    5. Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty consists of any deceitful or unfair conduct relevant to a student’s participation in a course or any other academic exercise or function. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: tampering with grades, any action that unfairly impacts the assessment of one’s academic work, disrupting or interfering with the learning environment or the ability of others to complete academic assignments, intentionally evading IUP academic policies and procedures, or failure to comply with previously imposed sanctions for academic violations. Academic dishonesty also includes violations of student conduct policies, as related to the academic environment. A comprehensive discussion of IUP’s policies and student behavior expectations has been complied in the Source: A Student Policy Guide. Downloadable copies of the Source are available online at the Office of Student Conduct website.

    6. Facilitating Academic Integrity Violations: Facilitating academic integrity violations includes attempting to help another engage in an academic integrity violation.

    7. Classroom Misconduct: Conduct that significantly disrupts the learning process or is a threat to others.

    8. Out-of Classroom Misconduct: Behavior that is unethical or hazardous in IUP-sponsored professional experience activities, such as internship, clinical, student training, practicum, and service learning or other out-of-classroom experiences.

    9. Noncompliance: Noncompliant behavior includes failure to fulfill any sanction levied as a result of an academic integrity proceeding.

    B. Referrals for Alleged Violation

    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 faculty member or administrator.

    If, after reviewing the referral, the Office of the Provost determines the alleged behavior needs to be referred to another office, the Office of the Provost will share all pertinent information with the appropriate office.

    C. Conduct of Proceedings

    1. If charges are brought, an accused student shall have an opportunity to answer, explain, and defend themselves against the charges in accordance with the procedures below.

    2. The university shall have the burden of proof of establishing violations based on evidence to make a reasonable person believe a fact sought to be proved is more likely true than not.

    3. All formal records pertaining to academic integrity will remain confidential to the greatest extent possible.

    4. All references to days in this policy refer to calendar days.

    5. Sequential processing of an alleged academic integrity violation through the following resolution processes is not required.

    D. Resolution by Documented Agreement with the Faculty Member/Administrator

    1. If the faculty member/administrator does not believe that the violation is so severe that it warrants sanctions such as disciplinary probation, involuntary withdrawal from part of IUP’s academic or other programs, suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a conferred degree, the faculty member/administrator may seek to resolve the matter by Documented Agreement. (Note: If the faculty member/administrator does believe that the violation is so sever that it warrants sanctions such as disciplinary probation, involuntary withdrawal from part of IUP’s academic or other programs, suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a conferred degree, the faculty member/administrator may seek to resolve the matter directly through formal adjudication, such as Hearing by Department Chair or Hearing by AIB).

      The faculty member/administrator will schedule a timely formal conference with the student to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. This conference should be requested within ten (10) days of the observation or discovery of the alleged violation absent unusual circumstances. Absent unusual circumstances, a conference should be held within ten (10) days of request, an agreement should be reached within ten (10) days of conference, and if no agreement is reached within ten (10) days of conference, the alleged violation will be resolved through formal adjudication. If the violation pertains to work being judged or that has been judged by a committee such as a thesis or comprehensive examination, the conference must involve a majority of the committee.

    2. If an agreement is reached, a Documented Agreement Referral form available online at MyIUP must be completed and acknowledged in writing by all required parties within ten (10) days of the conference. Electronic copies of the form must be distributed to all signatories to the agreement and Office of the Provost. If the violation pertains to work being judged or that has been judged by a committee such as a thesis or comprehensive examination, the Documented Agreement Referral form must be agreed to by a majority of the committee and the student. In all other cases, the faculty member/administrator and student must acknowledge the agreement.

    3. By signing the Documented Agreement, the student waives any right to appeal the sanctions agreed upon and set forth in the Documented Agreement. If the student fails to fulfill the terms of the Documented Agreement, the faculty member/administrator may file an academic integrity referral against the student for noncompliance within ten (10) days of discovery of said failure.

    4. If the parties are unsuccessful at reaching a Documented Agreement, the faculty member/administrator/student will pursue formal adjudication. The student will have input as to the path for formal adjudication (i.e., Hearing by Department Chair or Hearing by AIB).

    E. Resolution by Formal Adjudication

    Formal adjudication will be pursued if:

    • The faculty member/administrator and student are unable to reach a Resolution by Documented Agreement;

    • The faculty member/administrator believes that the violation is so severe that it warrants a sanction that includes disciplinary probation, involuntary withdrawal from part of IUP’s academic or other programs, suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a conferred degree (Note: in this instance, a faculty member/administrator does not have to initiate resolution of the alleged violation first through Documented Agreement); and/or

    • A student desires formal adjudication and not a Documented Agreement to resolve the alleged academic integrity violation.

    A formal adjudication is initiated by the faculty member/administrator filing an Academic Integrity Referral form and may take the form of a hearing by the department chair and/or a hearing conducted by an Academic Integrity Board (AIB). If the student desires formal adjudication, the faculty member/administrator will initiate a formal adjudication by filling out an Academic Integrity Form indicating the student’s request and path for adjudication. If there is no indication of which formal adjudication path has been requested, the Office of the Provost will initiate discussion with the student regarding preferred path.

    1. Hearing by Department Chair

    1. The faculty member/administrator and the student may agree to have the matter adjudicated by a Hearing by Department Chair. The Academic Integrity Referral form should include a statement the parties agree to have the matter adjudicated by a Hearing by Department Chair and should be filed within ten (10) days of the parties’ failure to reach a resolution through Documented Agreement. A copy of the Academic Integrity Referral form will be sent to the referring party and the student.

    2. If the faculty member/administrator had decided to take the matter directly to a Hearing by Department Chair due to the seriousness of the alleged violations without first using the Documented Agreement process, the faculty member/administrator will complete the Academic Integrity Referral form and forward it to the department chair. A copy of the Academic Integrity Referral form will be sent to the referring party and the student.

    3. Despite the wishes of the referring party and the student, the matter may be referred directly to an AIB if:

      1. The department chair believes the circumstances and the severity of the alleged would result in a recommended sanction of suspension, expulsion or rescission of degree if true or if the department chair otherwise believes the violation warrants Hearing by AIB; or

      2. The department chair feels he/she is unable to provide an unbiased/impartial opportunity for a hearing.

    4. If the department chair elects to send the violation directly to the AIB, the department chair should forward the Academic Integrity Referral form to the Office of the Provost within ten (10) days of receiving the form from the faculty member/administrator.

    5. The department chair will schedule a hearing within ten (10) days of receipt of the referral absent extenuating circumstances. The student accused must be given at least three (3) days advance written notice of the hearing to allow the student a reasonable time to prepare a defense. The student may waive this notice requirement.

    6. 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 at the hearing.

    7. The student and faculty member/administrator have the right to bring an advisor to the hearing. Advisors may only consult privately with the faculty member/administrator or student.

    8. Following the hearing, the department chair will render a determination based on the information presented at the hearing. Within ten (10) days of the hearing, absent extenuating circumstances, the department chair will send a written report of the hearing to the Office of the Provost with copies to the faculty member/administrator and the student summarizing the outcome, the factual basis for the determination reached, and if a violation is found, recommending sanctions to be imposed and appeal procedures.

    9. If the sanctions include suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree, the matter will be referred to the provost/designee for review.

    10. The student has the right to appeal the department chair’s decision and/or sanctions through the Office of the Provost as outlined in the appeal procedure.

    2. Hearing by Academic Integrity Board

    1. A hearing before the AIB will occur if:

      1. The faculty member/administrator feels the alleged violation is egregious enough to warrant sanctions including suspension or expulsion.

      2. The faculty member/administrator and the student do not agree to have the matter adjudicated by a Hearing by Department Chair;

      3. The department chair refers the matter to an AIB without conducting a hearing; or

      4. The student has previous violations on record. In this case, the AIB will determine if additional sanctioning is warranted due to multiple academic integrity violations.

    2. The AIB will schedule a hearing within ten (10) days of receipt of the referral absent extenuating circumstances to allow the student a reasonable time to prepare a defense. The student accused must be given at least three (3) days advance written notice of the hearing to allow the student a reasonable time to prepare a defense. The student may waive this notice requirement.

    3. 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 at the hearing.

    4. The student and faculty member/administrator have the right to bring an advisor to the hearing or the review. Advisors may only consult privately with the faculty member/administrator or student.

    5. Following a hearing, the AIB will render a determination based on the information presented at the hearing. Within ten (10) days of the hearing, absent extenuating circumstances, the chair will send a written report of the hearing to the Office of the Provost with copies to the faculty member/administrator and the student summarizing the outcome, the factual basis for the determination reached, and if a violation is found, sanctions to be imposed and appeal procedures.

    6. If the sanctions include suspension, expulsion, or rescission of a degree, the matter will be referred to the provost/designee for review.

    7. The student has the right to appeal the AIB’s decision and/or sanctions.

    3. Composition of an AIB

    1. For undergraduate hearings and reviews, an AIB will be made up of four (4) faculty members and two (2) undergraduate students. All members, including the chair, are voting members.

    2. For graduate-level hearings and reviews involving undergraduate students taking graduate level courses, please refer to the Graduate School’s policy on AIB composition.

    3. For any case heard or reviewed, at least four AIB members must be available, at least one of whom must be a student, preferably an undergraduate student if the accused is an undergraduate student. A faculty member will chair all hearings and reviews.

    4. Selection of members to a specific AIB will avoid conflicts of interest with the student (e.g., AIB members being from the student’s department). A board member may recuse themselves or be recused upon the request of the accused student/referring party if there is a perceived conflict of interest.

    F. Sanctions

    1. Sanctions Imposed through Documented Agreement

    The following sanctions may be agreed upon by the student and faculty member/administrator through Documented Agreement and can be faculty/administrator imposed. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. Constructive or Educational Task: A task that requires students to examine their dishonest behavior and that may benefit the student, campus, or community.

    4. Letter of Reprimand: A reprimand 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 subsequent offense. The letter of reprimand will remain in effect for the period of time specified by the individual or board hearing the case.

    5. Other: Sanctions deemed appropriate and tailored to a specific violation as agreed to by the student and faculty member/administrator.  

    2. Sanctions Imposed through Formal Adjudication

    In addition to the above, the following sanctions may result from a Hearing by Department Chair and/or AIB.

    1. Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary probation, which is for the 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, which may include involuntary withdrawal from part of IUP’s academic or other programs, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

    2. Involuntary Withdrawal from Part of IUP’s Academic or Other Programs: A student may be denied the right to participate in some IUP program(s). Such involuntary withdrawal might be imposed on either a temporary or permanent basis.

    3. 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 students remove themselves from university premises, not attend classes or social activities, and not be present on university property (including residence halls) or Student Cooperative Association property during the period of suspension.

    4. 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.

    5. Rescission of a Degree: Students may have their degree rescinded if found to have plagiarized or not to have conducted their research on their thesis.

    6. Sanctions of expulsion and/or rescission of a degree can be recommended by a department chair or AIB but can only be imposed by the president/designee. A sanction of suspension can be imposed by the provost/designee.

    3. Previous Violations

    Information about prior violations will not be used to determine whether a student violated the policy in the current case. Information on prior violations will only be used in determining the appropriate sanction. Students with multiple academic integrity violations on record may be subject to additional sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the university. A student who has had previous violations on record will be heard by an AIB to determine if additional sanctioning is warranted.

    G. Appeal Procedures

    1. Written appeals of a department chair’s or AIB’s hearing decision or sanction may be filed by a student within ten (10) days of receiving the report and are limited to the following grounds:

      1. Denial of a fair and reasonable hearing (e.g., procedural errors that likely impacted hearing outcome)

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

      3. Excessively harsh sanctions.

    2. All appeals of expulsion or degree rescission must be submitted to the Office of the President. All other appeals must be submitted to the Office of the Provost.

    3. The ten (10)-day requirement may be waived where extenuating circumstances prevail and only if the grounds for appeal are met.

    4. The person submitting the appeal must include in the written appeal the reason(s) for the appeal, the supporting facts, and the requested solution. Appeals will not be accepted by third parties on behalf of the party appealing the decision. The appeal must include the signature of the person submitting the appeal. An appeal is not a rehearing of the matter and will not have merit simply because the person submitting the appeal disagrees with the outcome.

    5. In the case of an appeal of expulsion or degree rescission, the provost/designee, or the president/designee in the case of an appeal of expulsion or degree rescission, will issue a decision on all appeals from an AIB report or review within ten (10) days absent extenuating circumstances. The appeal may be sustained, denied, sanctions may be modified, or the matter may be referred for a new hearing.

    H. Operational Notes

    1. In cases where a violation is alleged at, or near, the end of the semester and resolution by Documented Agreement or Formal Adjudication cannot be completed before grades are submitted, the faculty member should submit a grade of “Incomplete” (I) for the student. The faculty member must initiate formal notification of an academic integrity violation to the student. The “I” grade will remain on the student’s record until the case has been resolved. Once the case has been resolved, the “I” grade will be replaced with the appropriate grade.

    2. 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 while the academic integrity case is pending.

    3. Conversion of a Withdrawal: Individual course withdrawals initiated by a student before resolution of an academic integrity case will not remain on the transcript if the student is found to have violated the policy and the resolution of the referral is the assignment of a grade. If the student has withdrawn and has been found to have violated this policy, another grade, including an “F,” may be placed on the transcript. If the student has withdrawn and has not been found to have violated this policy, the “W” will remain on the transcript.

    4. The 10-day timeframe within this policy is a period of time violation intended to reasonably ensure a swift response while allowing the student a reasonable opportunity to prepare a response. A faculty member/administrator, student, or provost/designee may request an extension of time for good cause (e.g., alleged violation occurring at the end of the semester or during summer or winter session/break); this extension may be granted by the provost/designee.

    5. The university may withhold transcripts, grades, and diplomas or take other appropriate actions necessary to preserve its ability to enforce its rules.

    Questions concerning the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures can be directed to the Office of the Provost. More information about Academic Integrity Procedures can be found online at the Office of the Provost website.