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Policies and Procedures

Students who have been found guilty of academic dishonesty and, as a consequence, have been assigned a Q grade may not graduate with University honors. Requests for exceptions to this policy for students with majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Journalism, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Stony Brook Southampton are reviewed by the University's Academic Integrity Officer. No exceptions will be made for students who have one or more permanent Q grades on their academic record. No exceptions will be made for students graduating with majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The following guidelines govern academic dishonesty for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the School of Business (COB), School of Journalism (SOJ), and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SOMAS). CEAS uses its Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals (CEAS – CASA)

Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Dishonesty

Intellectual honesty is a cornerstone of all academic and scholarly work. Therefore, the faculty view any form of academic dishonesty as a very serious matter. The AJC and CEAS-CASA are responsible for the establishment of general guidelines for dealing with academic dishonesty in the colleges and for the consideration of individual complaints as outlined below. Further information regarding functions of the committees is available from the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Undergraduate Student Office in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

  • Definition
    Academic dishonesty includes any act that is designed to obtain fraudulently, either for oneself or for someone else, academic credit, grades, or other recognition that is not properly earned or that adversely affects another's grade. The following represents examples of this and does not constitute an exhaustive list:
    • Cheating on exams or assignments by the use of books, electronic devices, notes, or other aids when these are not permitted, or by copying from another student.
    • Collusion: two or more students helping one another on an exam or assignment when it is not permitted.
    • Ringers: taking an exam for someone else, or permitting someone else to take one's exam.
    • Submitting the same paper in more than one course without permission of the instructors.
    • Plagiarizing: copying someone else's writing or paraphrasing it too closely, even if it constitutes only some of your written assignment, without proper citation, even instructor notes & presentation slides.
    • Falsifying documents or records related to credit, grades, status (e.g., adds and drops, P/NC grading, transcripts), or other academic matters.
    • Altering an exam or paper after it has been graded in order to request a grade change.
    • Stealing, concealing, destroying, or inappropriately modifying classroom or other instructional material, such as posted exams, library materials, laboratory supplies, or computer programs.
    • Preventing relevant material from being subjected to academic evaluation.
    • Presenting fabricated excuses for missed assignments or tests.
    • Unauthorized clicker use: using someone else's clicker, falsifying attendance roster, signing in for someone.
  • Electronic Devices
    Electronic communication devices, including cellular phones, beepers, speakers, calculators and headphones must be secured in a closed container (and not, for example, worn on a belt or around the neck) and must be turned off (and not, for example, simply set on vibration mode) during any examination. This policy shall be announced before each examination. Note: even if a student does not answer a ringing cell phone during an exam, it can be considered academic dishonesty for not having it turned off.

Procedures for Filing an Accusation of Academic Dishonesty

  • Any member of the academic community may bring forward an accusation of academic dishonesty to the appropriate college judiciary committee. The accusation should be submitted in writing within two weeks of the discovery of the alleged offense. When it is not possible for the accusation to be made within the two-week period, justification for the lateness should be included in the filing documentation. Instructors who suspect academic dishonesty must report their suspicions to the appropriate judiciary committee; they should not assign a penalty without also informing the committee. Instructors may wish to consult with the hearing officer before assigning penalties.

    When the Judiciary Committee receives an accusation, each student is notified by email and instructed to make an appointment to come in and discuss the accusation.  A copy of the accusation and the proposed penalty will be given to all parties named in the report of dishonesty. Those parties accused will have two weeks from the date of notification to inform the committee whether or not they intend to appeal the accusation.
  • Penalties for Academic Dishonesty in Course Work
    A student who is found guilty of a first offense will have an academic dishonesty guilty notation on their record and will typically be given a Q grade for the course, signifying that he or she has committed an act of academic dishonesty. The Q is computed in the student's GPA as an F. Except where the Judiciary Committee specifies otherwise; the Q grade is removed and replaced with the earned grade including any penalty assigned by the instructor and the AJC when the student completes a non-credit academic integrity course (called “the Q course”).

    An F for the course is considered to be an appropriate penalty grade for an act of academic dishonesty, though a more lenient or more severe penalty may be recommended under certain circumstances. For example, where premeditation or conspiracy (e.g., use of ringers or electronic devices) is involved, penalties such as suspension or expulsion may be considered. The minimum penalty is typically a zero on the assignment in question. In all cases a written report of the offense and the action taken by the instructor must be forwarded to the relevant Judiciary Committee in order that students may be formally notified of the charges and of the mechanism of appeal, and so that students who have been charged with academic dishonesty more than once can be identified. A course for which a penalty grade has been assigned cannot be dropped or taken Pass/No Credit.
  • The Q Course
    The Q course meets for 1 hour per week for 10 weeks during the fall and spring semesters. Space is limited, so students are encouraged to register at least one month before the start date for the course. You may find out more about the Q course or register for it by calling the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office at 632-7080.
  • Multiple Offenses
    If a student is found to have committed two or more acts of academic dishonesty, the AJC or CEAS-CASA will consider recommending a penalty in addition to those already established for the separate offenses. The penalties for a second offense include suspension or permanent expulsion from the University, a permanent notation on the student's academic record of academic dishonesty, and a permanent Q grade for all courses for which the student has committed acts of academic dishonesty.
  • Appeals and Hearings
    • Appeals of Academic Dishonesty Accusations
      A student accused of academic dishonesty may appeal the accusation to the relevant judiciary committee. An accusation that is not appealed will be rendered as a finding of academic dishonesty. By appealing the accusation, the student asserts that he or she did not violate university policy concerning academic dishonesty.  Students may not appeal the instructor's penalty. Students may not appeal/request exceptions for having a Q grade on their record or taking the Q course.

      All appeals must be presented in writing not later than two weeks after notification of the accusation. On receiving an appeal, the hearing officer will inform the instructor or department and schedule a hearing, to be held as soon as possible after receipt of the student's appeal. On receiving an appeal, the hearing officer will ensure that an "I" is entered on the student's record until the matter is adjudicated.

      Students who challenge an accusation for a course that is in progress should continue attending the class and completing coursework. Any student who is granted a hearing and is found not guilty will receive his or her earned grade in the course.

      A student who is granted a hearing and is found guilty will receive penalties as described above. These penalties may differ from the penalty recommended by the reporting instructor. In cases where students do not appeal, the recommended penalty is applied, with very few exceptions. NOTE: A student who is found guilty and is determined to have presented false evidence or false testimony at the hearing may have a second accusation of dishonesty brought against him or her by the hearing board, which would be associated with multiple, and more serious, penalties. NOTE ALSO: Students who are found guilty of academic dishonesty must take the university’s Q Course no later than the next academic semester.
    • Hearing Boards
      A hearing board will consist of a hearing officer, at least two faculty and/or professional staff members and/or teaching assistants, and two undergraduate students. In the College of Arts and Sciences a faculty member or professional staff member will normally serve as hearing officer. In the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the CASA chair will usually serve as hearing officer.

      Academic dishonesty hearing boards are normally drawn by the Judiciary Committee from its own members, but may also include faculty and staff who have volunteered to serve on hearing boards. In cases where the hearing officer is affiliated with the department from which an accusation arises, he or she will not serve as a voting member of the hearing board but will be replaced by another faculty or staff member.
    • Evidence
      Students may be found guilty of academic dishonesty on the basis of direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, or a combination of the two. This may include, for example, any of the following: a dramatic change in writing style, possession of accessible notes, devices, or similarly prohibited material during an exam, observed communication between students during an exam, or unusual similarity among exams, papers, or other work. The standard of evidence used by the Hearing Board is “clear and convincing.”
    • The Hearing
      The appellant will be given an opportunity to address the hearing board. The appellant may bring an academic advisor or witness.  Advisors may counsel their advisees during the hearing but do not have privilege of the floor. The hearing officer must be notified of the intention to bring advisors or witnesses no later than two working days prior to the hearing.

      The board may call its own witnesses and introduce pertinent information to the hearing. The board may bring an advisor, who may remain during the entire hearing. The accuser and the appellant may ask each other questions, as well as ask questions of each other's witnesses.

      When two or more students are accused of collusion in an academic dishonesty case, each will have the opportunity if they request it to meet with the board independently of the other and the other's advisors and witnesses.

      The hearing officer may dismiss any participant who exhibits disruptive behavior during the hearing. The board will attempt to reach a decision on the basis of the evidence before it regardless of the presence or absence of the persons concerned, their witnesses, or their advisors. In cases where reasonable notice of absence for cause has been given (at least 24 hours), the hearing will be postponed and rescheduled as soon as possible.

      Hearings normally proceed as follows:
        • The person(s) reporting the act of academic dishonesty makes a statement summarizing the case. Evidence may be presented at this point to support the charge. This statement cannot be interrupted by questions or challenges.
        • The accused student then makes a statement responding to the accusation. The student may present evidence at this point supporting his or her innocence. The student's statement cannot be interrupted by questions or challenges. If the hearing concerns multiple students accused of collaborative cheating, all accused students will be present for the instructor's statement. Each will make a separate response statement with the other accused students not present. If a statement by any of the students implicates any of the others, that student will be informed so that he or she can respond.
        • The members of the hearing board may ask questions of any of those present, including witnesses. Witnesses will normally not be present for the initial statements and will be called in to the hearing room only after initial statements are presented and the hearing board's initial questions are answered. Their presence will normally be permitted only during their testimony. Either party may call witnesses.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the board will make a decision of "guilty" or "not guilty." All decisions will be made by majority of the members present (including the hearing officer). The individual votes and tally are not divulged.

Although there is substantial variance, hearings normally are completed in about an hour. Students and instructors will be notified by email the outcome of the hearing.

    • Appeal of Committee Action
      The accused or the accuser of a course within the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, School of Journalism, or the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences may appeal the board's finding to the Assistant Provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Appeals must be based on new evidence and/or errors in procedure or conduct on the part of the hearing board. This new appeal must be presented within one week of the original hearing board's decision. Instructions for appealing are included in the letter addressed to you containing the decision by the hearing board.
    • Completion of Cases
      Once a charge has been initiated, the hearing or review procedures prescribed by these rules will be completed whether or not the complainant or student remains associated with the university.
    • Confidentiality
      All committee records of findings of academic dishonesty are confidential and are accessible only to the committee, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the dean of the Marine Sciences Research Center, the dean of the College of Business/director of the Harriman School and their designees, pre-professional committees whose request for such information have been honored by the Judiciary Committee, and to others specifically granted such access by the student(s) named in the case. The Q grade and any relevant notation, however, are accessible to anyone with access to the student's transcript for the period during which they appear on the transcript. Generally, both the Q grade and notation are temporary and students can remove both from their transcript by taking the Q course.

      In a case where the committee itself determines a penalty, this penalty may include a specific request that a statement of the committee's finding be entered in the student's permanent academic record.

      All Academic Judiciary mail will be addressed to students at the email address on record in the Registrar's Office.

How Students Can Protect Themselves

  • Prepare thoroughly for examinations and assignments.
  • Take the initiative to prevent other students from copying exams or assignments (for example, by shielding answers during exams and not lending assignments to other students unless specifically granted permission by the instructor).
  • Check the syllabus for a section dealing with academic dishonesty for each course. There may be requirements specific to the course.
  • Avoid looking in the direction of other students' papers during exams.
  • Use a recognized handbook for instruction on citing source materials in papers. Consult with individual faculty members or academic departments when in doubt.
  • Use the services of the Writing Center for assistance in preparing papers.
  • Discourage dishonesty among other students.
  • Refuse to assist students who cheat.
  • Do not sit near students with whom you have studied.
  • Do not sit near roommates or friends.
  • Many cases of plagiarism involve students improperly using Internet sources. If you quote an Internet source, you must cite the URL for that source in your bibliography. Copying (or closely paraphrasing text) text or figures from a website without citing it and placing it in quotation marks is plagiarism. It is no different from doing the same thing with a printed source. Professing ignorance of this rule will not be accepted as a legitimate basis for appealing an accusation of academic dishonesty.
  • Do not sign attendance roster for someone else.
  • Do not use someone else's clicker.
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