The Catholic University of America

Policy: Student Academic Dishonesty

The full text of this policy has been copied from the CUA Policies website.

I. Introduction
II. General Provisions
III. Categories of Academic Dishonesty

Skip to Procedures section below. 

I. Introduction

Academic honesty is one of the foundations of the educational mission and Catholic commitment of this University. Academic dishonesty, including such practices as cheating, plagiarism and fabrication, undermines the learning experience, and, as it involves fraud and deceit, is corrosive of the intellectual principles and is inconsistent with the ethical standards of this University. Academic dishonesty damages the sense of trust and community among students, faculty and administrators.

This policy sets forth the standards of honesty which student members of our academic community are expected to follow. The faculty is also bound to adhere to the strictest standards of academic honesty. All members of the academic community have an obligation to familiarize themselves with these standards and to conduct themselves in accordance with both their letter and their spirit. Individual schools in the University have committed themselves to implementing these standards and to educating faculty, staff and students on the importance of academic honesty and on the application of these standards in a variety of academic settings.

Accompanying this policy are procedures that set forth a system for enforcement of these standards, including the application of sanctions where violations have been found. Sanctions are necessary to demonstrate that the University treats violations of academic honesty seriously and will act aggressively, when necessary, to deter wrongdoing. The effectiveness of the enforcement scheme depends in large measure on the conscientious cooperation of members of faculty in the implementation of the standards. Faculty members are therefore charged with the responsibility of seeking to assure student compliance with the requirements and initiating enforcement proceedings where appropriate.

II. General Provisions

A. This policy applies to each school in the University and to all students enrolled in these schools. Individual schools (or departments) are initially responsible for handling individual cases of alleged academic dishonesty. A school (or department) may follow more elaborate procedures if it has its own established procedures for handling suspected cases of academic dishonesty or if required by its professional accrediting agency and particularly if required by the rules and practice of the particular professional discipline involved.

B. This policy supersedes all earlier and other statements on academic dishonesty published or appearing anywhere before its approval.

C. This policy applies to all academic conduct in the broadest sense, including submitted drafts and final coursework, research, comprehensive examinations and the preparation of theses or dissertations.

D. Sanctions for violations of this policy, which may include the revocation of a previously awarded degree, certificate or award, may be applied whenever a determination is made that a violation has taken place.

E. Confidentiality shall be observed in all proceedings under this policy, to the extent possible, except where otherwise specifically provided.

F. The faculty member is the individual who has initial responsibility for initiating the procedures provided in this policy. The term "faculty member" includes any individual or committee with responsibility for a class, project or activity, for example, a professor of a course, director of composition in the School of Arts and Sciences, a dissertation committee or the dean of a school. Other University employees, such as graduate assistants, are expected to bring any suspected cases of academic dishonesty to the attention of the responsible faculty member who will proceed in accordance with the procedures stated in this policy. The faculty member's dean shall maintain the case file containing the relevant documents.

G. The Office of the Provost will maintain a register, which will include a listing of incidents of academic dishonesty that have been reported by the school deans' designees in accordance with this policy and after all appeals and/or periods of appeal are over. The Register will be confidential and information contained therein will be made available only as authorized by this policy. Within five (5) years of a student's departure from the University, the entries in the Register shall be transferred to University Archives.

H. If information is received by a member of the University community alleging that a graduate of the University engaged in academic dishonesty at the time he or she was a registered student but the alleged dishonesty was discovered after graduation, the information shall be brought to the attention of the dean of the school where the graduate was matriculated, who shall determine the procedures to follow and the appropriate sanction.

III.  Categories of Academic Dishonesty

The following are the major categories of academic dishonesty:

A. Plagiarism is the act of presenting the work or methodology of another as if it were one's own. It includes quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing or utilizing the published work of others without proper acknowledgment, and, where appropriate, quotation marks. Most frequently, it involves the unacknowledged use of published books or articles in periodicals, magazines, newspapers and electronic media. However, any unacknowledged use of another's words, ideas or electronic processes constitutes plagiarism, including the use of papers written by other students, oral presentations, interviews, radio or TV broadcasts, any published or unpublished materials (including Web-based materials, letters, pamphlets, leaflets, notes or other electronic or print documents), and any unauthorized or inadequately credited use of foreign language, scientific and/or mathematical calculation and/or modeling programs or online services.

B. Improper use of one's own work is the unauthorized act of submitting work for a course that includes work done for previous courses and/or projects as though the work in question were newly done for the present course/project.

C. Fabrication is the act of artificially contriving or making up material, data or other information and submitting this as fact.

D. Cheating is the act of deceiving, which includes such acts as receiving or communicating or receiving information from another during an examination, looking at another's examination (during the exam), using notes when prohibited during examinations, using electronic equipment to receive or communicate information during examinations, using any unauthorized electronic equipment during examinations, obtaining information about the questions or answers for an examination prior to the administering of the examination or whatever else is deemed contrary to the rules of fairness, including special rules designated by the professor in the course.

E. Attempts to engage in any of the conduct described above or the facilitation of any of this conduct by another individual will be treated as conduct constituting academic dishonesty for purposes of this policy.

F. The preceding forms of academic dishonesty are stated in general terms. The individual schools (or departments) may deem it appropriate to supplement the present statement of policy with specific interpretations that relate its terms and provisions to the individual programs of the schools (or departments). In addition, the individual schools (or departments) are responsible for implementing programs to educate faculty, staff and students in the requirements of this policy and to answer any questions that may arise regarding specific interpretations of this policy.


Procedures: Student Academic Dishonesty

The full text of this policy has been copied from the CUA Policies website.

I. Enforcement Procedures
II. Sanctions
III. Appeals

a. Requests for review
b. Sanction imposed by a faculty member
c. Sanction imposed by a dean
d. Successful appeals

IV. University Appeal Procedures

a. University Academic Dishonesy Appeal Panel
b. Referral to the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee

Return to Policies section above.

I.      Enforcement Procedures

A.    When a faculty member suspects that an incident of academic dishonesty has occurred, the faculty member should communicate in writing and promptly arrange a conference with the student to discuss the matter. The faculty member may consult with the dean of the school and/or the chair of the department (where applicable) on the issues involved but will not discuss prior infractions of the student. At the conference, the faculty member will inform the student of his or her concerns, and the student will be given the opportunity to present his or her version of the facts. No counsel (e.g., parents/guardians, lawyers) will be present at this conference.

B.    Once an allegation of suspected academic dishonesty has been communicated to the student, the student may not withdraw from the course or academic project in question.

C.    After their conference, or if the student does not respond in a timely fashion to the offer to confer with the faculty member, the faculty member may conduct further investigation regarding the matter as the faculty member deems appropriate. On the basis of the facts, the faculty member will decide whether an act of academic dishonesty has taken place.

D.    If the faculty member decides that an act of academic dishonesty has taken place and imposes a sanction, the faculty member will make a written record of the disposition of the matter, including the facts on which he or she relied. The faculty member will retain a copy for the faculty member's file, and communicate the decision to the student. The faculty member will also report this decision to the designee of the dean of the school where the academic dishonesty occurred and to the chair of the department (in departmentalized schools). The dean's designee will report the decision to the dean of the school in which the student is matriculated (if different from that where the dishonesty took place) and to the office of the provost to be recorded in the Register after all appeals and/or periods of appeal are over.

E.    Upon receiving the faculty member's decision, the dean, in certain circumstances, may decide to increase the sanction. A decision to suspend or expel a student from the University may only be made by the dean of the school where the student is matriculated. This decision may be based on the existence of prior entries in the Register and/or other aggravating circumstances. The dean shall prepare a written decision, which states the dean's conclusions and the facts upon which the dean relied. The student shall be informed in writing in a timely fashion of the decision. A copy of the dean's written decision shall also be sent, as appropriate, to the faculty member, the chair of the department, and the dean of the school where the violation took place and to the Office of the Provost to be recorded in the Register after all appeals and/or periods of appeal are over.

F.    The case file concerning academic dishonesty shall be maintained by the dean in the school where the alleged academic dishonesty occurred and shall consist of any of the following documents that pertain to the matter: any and all documents containing the alleged academic dishonesty, other relevant documents submitted, correspondence, formal notes and narratives of the professor, department chair, and/or dean. The case file shall be maintained until the student's departure from the University, at which time the file shall be transferred to University Archives.

G.    If information is received by a member of the University community alleging that a graduate of the University engaged in academic dishonesty at the time graduate was a registered student but the alleged dishonesty was discovered after graduation, the information shall be brought to the attention of the dean of the school where the graduate was matriculated, and that dean shall determine the procedures to follow and the appropriate sanction.

II.     Sanctions

The availability and the imposition of meaningful sanctions communicate a message to the community that the University treats the standards of honesty set forth in this policy with the greatest seriousness and that infractions of these requirements will be pursued and punished.

The presumed sanction for undergraduate students for academic dishonesty will be failure for the course. There may be circumstances, however, where, perhaps because of an undergraduate student's past record, a more serious sanction, such as suspension or expulsion, would be appropriate.

In the context of graduate studies, the expectations for academic honesty are greater, and therefore the presumed sanction for dishonesty is likely to be more severe, e.g., expulsion.

When a graduate of the University is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty, revocation of a degree, certificate, or other recognition previously awarded may be considered as a possible sanction.

In the more unusual case, mitigating circumstances may exist that would warrant a lesser sanction than the presumed sanction.

III.    Appeals

A.    Requests for Review

1. A student may appeal a determination that the student committed an act of academic dishonesty by filing a request for a review of that finding. No appeal is permissible against the sanction only.

2. The request for review shall be filed within fifteen (15) business days of the written notification to the student of the sanction. The request for review shall be submitted in writing to the dean of the school where the incident of alleged academic dishonesty took place, and must specify with particularity the basis of the student's appeal.

3. If the student does not request a review within the specified time period the decision of the faculty member or of the dean of the school shall be final.

4. The office of the dean receiving the request for review will proceed in accordance with the provisions below.

B.    Sanction Imposed by a Faculty Member

1. Each school will establish an academic dishonesty appeals procedure that affords the student the opportunity to present the student's version of the facts to a School Academic Dishonesty Committee composed of faculty and students appointed by the dean of the school or the dean's designee. The burden of proof shall be on the student challenging a determination and that burden must be satisfied by the preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that a greater weight of the evidence is required in order to decide in favor of one side over the other, to determine whether a fact is true and/or to establish that an event occurred. The decision that a preponderance of the evidence exists must be based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth of accuracy, not on the amount of evidence available.

2. The dean or an associate or assistant dean designated by the dean shall evaluate the request for review. The dean or the dean's designee may affirm the faculty member's decision without the need for a hearing ifthe dean or the dean's designee deems the appeal to be frivolous or without merit, which shall be communicated in writing to the student. Otherwise the dean or the designated official shall refer the matter to the School Academic Dishonesty Committee to consider the appeal and to render a written decision in accordance with the procedures established by the school. The decision of the School Academic Dishonesty Committee will be final, and no further appeal will be permitted.

C.    Sanction Imposed by a dean

If the dean of the school in which the student is matriculated determines that the student's academic dishonesty warrants that the student be suspended or expelled, the student may file a written request for a review of the determination. Upon receiving the student's request for review, the dean of the school where the alleged academic dishonesty took place or the dean's designee will forward it to the dean of graduate studies or to the vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, as appropriate. The procedures for handling such requests by a vice provost are detailed herein.

D.    Successful Appeals

If the student is found not to have engaged in academic dishonesty, there will be no entry relating to the incident in the Register. If, on appeal, the determination of academic dishonesty is upheld but the sanction is modified, the Register entry will reflect that new sanction.

IV.     University Appeal Procedures

Upon receipt of an appeal of a decision made by a school dean, the vice provost and dean of graduate studies will have the options of:

1.   Affirming the dean's decision without the need for a hearing if the appeal is judged to be frivolous or without merit; or

2.   Referring the matter to the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee to hear the appeal.

In either case, the vice provost shall send a written notification to the student.

A.    University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel

To handle student appeals of dean's decisions in cases of academic dishonesty, the Academic Senate will appoint a University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel of five (5) faculty members, two (2) graduate students and two (2) undergraduate students. Faculty members on the panel will serve three (3) year terms, which will be staggered. Student members will ordinarily serve one (1) year terms, although they may be appointed for additional terms. One (1) of the faculty members will be appointed annually as chair, another as vice chair.

B.    Referral to the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee

If the appeal is referred, the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall render a final decision on the matter. The members of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee will be selected from the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel and shall be composed of two (2) faculty members and one (1) student or of three (3) faculty members if none of the student members of the panel are available. Either the chair or vice chair of the panel will be on the Committee and will serve as chair. All documentation, including the written determination and information from the Register in the office of provost shall be made available to members of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee.

C.    The Procedures for the operation of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall be as follows.

1.   The appeal committee shall provide that the student shall receive adequate and timely written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

2.   The appeal committee shall inform the student that the student shall have an opportunity to present the student's position through written memoranda, oral presentations, and witnesses. The Committee shall consider all requests for witnesses and shall invite only those that it deems can contribute relevant information to appear before it or to submit written testimony.

3.   The faculty member, department chair, or dean who made the initial allegation of academic dishonesty shall be invited to appear at the hearing. When suspension or expulsion has been imposed as a penalty, the dean who imposed that sanction will also be invited.

4.   A copy of all written material provided by the student in support of the student's appeal will be provided to the hearing board at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to the hearing.

5.   No persons other than the members of the appeal committee, the student, the faculty member, or any person that the appeal committee judges can contribute to assisting it in reaching a decision shall be admitted to any meeting of the appeal committee. Legal counsel shall not be admitted at any of the meetings of the appeal committee.

6.   A record shall be kept of the hearing. Formal evidentiary rules shall not be applicable to the hearing.

7.   The appeal committee shall issue a decision, which will be communicated in writing promptly to the student, the faculty member, the student's dean and the cognizant vice provost. That decision will be to:

a.   Affirm the determination of academic dishonesty and the imposed sanction; or

b.   Affirm the determination of academic dishonesty, but modify the imposed sanction; or

c.   Reject the determination of academic dishonesty and set aside any sanction.

8.   A brief statement of the reasons for the decision will also be sent to the cognizant vice provost, and a copy of that statement will be retained as part of the record of the hearing. If the appeal committee rejects the determination of academic dishonesty or modifies any sanction, the office of the provost will be notified and the record in the Register will be entered or modified as necessary.

D.    The decision of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall be final.