Academic Code of Honesty

I. Importance and Purpose of Code

The University seeks to educate students who have strong intellectual ambition, high ethical standards and dedication to the common good of society. Academic excellence requires not only talent and commitment but also moral integrity and a sense of honor. Integrity in intellectual activity is an indispensable prerequisite for membership in any academic community, precisely because the resultant trust makes possible the open dialog and sharing of information that are the core of successful academic community.

Plagiarizing papers and cheating on examinations are examples of violations of academic integrity. Academic dishonesty trivializes the students’ quest for knowledge and hinders professors from accurately assessing the individual talents and accomplishments of their students. To avoid these problems, to educate all scholars about the nature of academic dishonesty, and to promote a healthy academic community, The University of Scranton has implemented its Academic Code of Honesty and an on-line tutorial to support it.

An effective code must indicate unacceptable behavior and appropriate sanctions. Members of the University community who understand and appreciate the purpose of an institution of higher learning will rarely, if ever, be guilty of sanctionable offenses listed in the following sections.

As the University plans for the future, three key themes in our Liberal Arts characteristics and goals as a Jesuit Institution in the Catholic intellectual tradition address academic integrity. We seek to:

  • Impart the importance of gathering, evaluating, disseminating and applying information;
  • Provide learning experiences that include interactions and synthesis; and
  • Promote a lifelong commitment to learning and ethical decision-making.

To educate each student about the importance of academic integrity, the University has implemented an Academic Integrity Tutorial that will be taken by all First Year and Transfer students each summer before beginning classes. The purpose of this tutorial is to promote academic integrity by increasing students’ awareness of the issues and offering dilemmas/strategies to protect themselves from academic dishonesty situations. Faculty can use it as an educational resource to supplement their classroom discussions on academic integrity.

As new members of the University’s community of scholars, embrace your first steps toward a lifelong commitment to learning and the highest ethical standards. Welcome to the University of Scranton.

II. Student Behavior in Violation of Academic Honesty

The University has two codes of behavior; one for academic behavior (this document) and one for social behavior (Student Code of Conduct). This code addresses behavioral integrity in the academic work of the University. The latter deals with matters outside the context of academic courses.

The following conduct constitutes a violation of The University of Scranton Academic Code of Honesty.

A. Plagiarism

The handbook of the Modern Language Association describes plagiarism as “giving the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from someone else.”

Examples of plagiarism in paper writing include: direct quoting of any source material whether published or unpublished without giving proper credit through the use of quotation marks, footnotes and other customary means of identifying sources; paraphrasing material from books and articles, etc., without identifying and crediting sources; submitting papers written by another person or persons; offering false, fabricated or fictitious sources for papers, reports, or other assignments.

Examples of plagiarism in taking examinations include any attempt to do the following: 1. Look at another’s examination; 2. Communicate by any means with another student during the course of an examination regarding its content; 3. Use any unauthorized materials, such as notebooks, notes, textbooks, or other sources, not specifically allowed by the course professor for use during the examination period; or 4. Engage in any other activity for the purpose of seeking or offering aid during an examination. (By the term “examination” the code includes quizzes, hourly tests, midterms, finals, laboratory practicals, etc.)

Another kind of plagiarism consists of fabricating, falsifying or copying data to represent the results of laboratory work, field assignments or computer projects.

B. Duplicate Submission of the Same Work

Submitting the same work for more than one course is a violation unless all concerned professors give their consent in advance.

C. Collusion

Ordinary consultation of faculty, library staff, tutors or others is legitimate unless the instructor has imposed stricter limits for a particular assignment. Any cooperative effort is forbidden which results in the work or ideas of others being presented as one’s own.

D. False Information

Furnishing false information to the University - when professors, advisors, officials or offices have a right to accuracy - violates academic honesty. Instances would include but are not limited to misrepresenting activity outside of the classroom (reports on field work, etc.) or improperly seeking special consideration or privilege (postponement of an examination or assignment deadline, etc.).

E. Unauthorized Use of Computers

In the context of the completion of a course and/or assignments (contained within a course) the unauthorized use of computers or the University Computing System and related networks (e.g., the unauthorized use of software, access codes, computing accounts, electronic mail and files) constitutes a violation of this code (see The Student Computing Policy available from the University’s Information Resources Division for more detail).

F. Theft and Destruction of Property

Unauthorized removal, retention, mutilation or destruction of common property of the University is a code violation as such behavior relates to specific academic responsibility. Such property includes but is not limited to library books, the collections of the Library and the Media Resources Center, laboratory materials, computers and computer software, etc. Also prohibited is the theft, mutilation or destruction of a student’s academic work, including books, notes, computer programs, papers, reports, laboratory experiments, etc.

G. Unauthorized Possession

Possession, without authorization, of copies of tests, answer sheets or other materials, however obtained, that could interfere with fair, accurate testing violates this code.

H. Other University Codes and the Civil Law

The University’s Student Code of Conduct proscribes conduct that will often have a direct bearing on the ability of faculty and students to achieve their academic goals. Therefore, violation of the Student Code of Conduct will often result in a violation of academic integrity as well. For example, harassment, physical and verbal abuse, drunkenness, disturbance of the peace, etc. impair academic life. If a violation occurs which might be addressed by either code, the University will pursue action under either the Academic Code of Honesty or the Student Code of Conduct but not both.

If a question as to which code should be applied to a particular situation arises, the Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs will confer concerning the particular venue of the potential violation and reach a decision.

Students, in particular, should be aware that certain violations of honesty are also illegal and expose them to legal action by the University or others. Such acts include unauthorized copying, duplication, quotation or plagiarism of copyrighted materials and acts outlined above in sections E (computer use) and F (theft/destruction).

III. Faculty Responsibility to and for Academic Honesty

It is expected of the faculty of The University of Scranton that they will set a proper and effective tone for academic and intellectual inquiry. As role models, faculty should demonstrate characteristics which promote a sense of community within and among peers and the student body. At the heart of this community is a belief that academic honesty is derived from an appreciation for and adherence to moral integrity. Failures in the area of academic honesty strike at the heart of what is essential to the University community - the pursuit of truth.

Members of this University community, especially the faculty, should strive to guide the behavior of students through positive actions which clearly demonstrate that honesty and integrity are essential to the life of the University.

In light of these expectations the faculty should assess, accurately and effectively, the ability and achievements of their students. To do so, each faculty member should adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of this policy. Such adherence includes assessing and prosecuting to the fullest extent all violations of this code.

In order to carry out this policy properly, faculty are expected to:

  1. Familiarize themselves with this policy and its procedures;
  2. Familiarize themselves with statements on plagiarism and methods of insuring compliance;
  3. Remind their students of the general principles and requirements of this policy, giving specific attention to pedagogical and assessment criteria employed in their particular course. Unique requirements necessitate specific promulgation;
  4. Reflect on the necessity for fairness/equity in assignments and tests. Such reflection ought to be concretely reflected in all assessment of students;
  5. Secure tests and course materials so as to insure equal access for all;
  6. Pursue perceived violations of this code as part of their role in assessment of the student, in the pursuit of truth and in the formation of an academic community.

These expectations are enumerated to assist the faculty in establishing and sustaining an environment where academic and intellectual integrity are highly valued; these goals are pursued as a necessary component of the educational community. The manner in which inquiries into and discussion of infringements of this policy are pursued is important. All parties involved ought to remember that such inquiries and discussion, with colleagues or students, ought to be in pursuit of legitimate educational interests. Frivolity, curiosity and careless identification of parties involved are not consonant with such aims.

IV. Acceptance of  Responsibility

In accepting admission to The University of Scranton, students also accept responsibility for governing their own conduct in compliance with the Academic Code of Honesty.

V. Initial Action After Discovery of Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism on the part of a student in academic work or dishonest examination behavior will ordinarily result in the assignment of the grade of “F” by the instructor. The instructor should notify the student of the academic dishonesty and his or her action in response to it, such as a lowered grade for the assignment or course, within five days after action is taken. In addition, all instances of academic dishonesty must be reported to the chairperson of the department involved and to the student’s dean within three days of the notification of the student. Upon receiving such notification, the chairperson will distribute a copy of the Academic Code of Honesty to the student within seven days.

VI. Procedures in Cases of Violation of This Code

In order to provide a forum for the fair resolution of accusations of academic dishonesty, the following procedure has been developed and will be applied in all cases involving University of Scranton students.

A. Pre-Hearing Procedure

  1. In all cases, a sincere attempt should be made by the student to resolve the problem by discussion with his/her professor. If that discussion results in no change of grade, the student may request an informal meeting in the office of the dean of the course. Present at the meeting will be the dean, the student, a faculty advocate for the student if the student so chooses, and the faculty member.
  2. If the student is dissatisfied with the results of the informal procedures, he or she may, within two weeks of the informal meeting or within one month of the disputed grade award, make a written request to the dean of the course for a formal hearing. The student’s request must state why he or she feels falsely accused or the grade is undeserved and his/her attempts to resolve the matter.
  3. Upon the student’s request, a hearing board will be constituted to review the evidence to determine if academic dishonesty has occurred and if the sanction imposed was fair. If the dean of the course is not the dean of the student, the dean of the course will advise the dean of the student of the impending hearing.

B. Hearing Board

  1. Training will be made available by the Provost/Academic Vice President for those faculty and students interested in serving on hearing boards, and for those faculty who wish to be chosen as student advocates.
  2. The hearing board will be appointed by the dean of the course.1 The hearing board will consist of two tenured faculty members and one student from the department in which the alleged academic dishonesty took place (or a student from the same school if there are no majors in the department) and one tenured faculty member and one student from outside the department of the course. In certain departments, tenured associates may be used.2 A faculty member on the committee will serve as chairperson.
  3. The chairperson of the hearing board receives all requests for hearings from the department, sets the calendar, notifies all board members and involved parties of the dates and time of hearings and informs students by written notice of the recommendations of the board.

C. Hearing Procedure

  1. After receiving a request for a hearing, the chairperson of the hearing board shall establish a date and time for the hearing and notify the student and professor involved and the other members of the board in writing. The student will receive written notice of any charges of academic dishonesty to be considered.
  2. If practicable, the hearing will be held within two weeks of the receipt of the request for a hearing.
  3. The hearing will be private and all persons present at the hearing will consider all information presented to be confidential. If, however, the student disseminates information disclosed during the hearing, the student’s interest in the confidentiality of the hearing will be deemed waived.
  4. Both the student and the faculty member involved may request assistance in presenting their cases at the hearing by any member of the University community other than an attorney. If the student used a faculty advocate for an informal meeting in the dean’s office, the same advocate should be used for the hearing. The individual must inform the chairperson of the hearing board of the names of his/her representative and any witnesses before the hearing date.
  5. Individuals appearing before the hearing board have the responsibility of presenting truthful information, and the board in reaching its decision will evaluate the credibility of the witnesses.
  6. Presentation of evidence will be made only during the hearing. The board may address questions to any party or witness. Any party may present witnesses or other evidence. The conduct of the hearing is informal, and the board is not bound by rules of evidence or court procedures. Matters of procedure will be decided by the chairperson of the hearing board.
  7. After the hearing board decides whether academic dishonesty has occurred, but before the hearing board makes its decision as to sanction, the chairperson will contact the dean of the student to find out whether the student has been involved in other academic dishonesty incidents.
  8. All decisions of the board will be determined by a majority vote of the members present. The student, the faculty member involved, and the dean of the student will be informed in writing by the chairperson of the hearing board of the board’s decision within two weeks of the hearing.

D. Appeal

The student may appeal the decision of the hearing board in writing to the dean of the student, or the dean’s designee, within thirty days of notice of the hearing board’s decision.3

The dean or designee may approve, modify, or reverse the decision of the board and will notify the student of his/her decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal if practicable. In those cases where the appeal was heard by the dean’s designee, the student may have a final appeal to the dean if a request in writing is made within 30 days of the designee’s decision. The dean will ensure that the sanctions imposed are carried out. The decision of the dean is final in all cases except expulsion. The sanction of expulsion may be imposed only by the Provost/Academic Vice President upon recommendation of the dean.

E. Repeated Violations

In cases of repeated violations of the Academic Code of Honesty by the same student, the dean of the student may impose additional sanctions. The student may appeal the imposition of additional sanctions to the Provost/Academic Vice President, who may approve, modify, or reverse the decision of the dean and will notify the student of his/her decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal if practicable. The Provost/Academic Vice President will ensure that the sanctions imposed are carried out. The decision of the Provost/Academic Vice President is final in all cases.

2 Tenured associates are tenured faculty members from another department who fulfill certain departmental functions for departments with fewer than four full-time tenured faculty members.

If an informal meeting took place in the office of the student’s dean of the course, and that dean is the same as the student’s dean, the student has the option of appealing the decision of the hearing board to the Provost/Academic Vice President rather than to the dean of the student.

Excerpted from The University of Scranton Student Handbook, 2016-2017