Slippery Rock University's Academic Integrity Policy
At SRU, the quality of the education provided is contingent upon the quality and character of members of the community. With this in mind, students, organizations, management, and faculty are expected to uphold the high standards of academic integrity. According to SRU's student handbook, academic integrity refers to “the adherence to agreed upon moral and ethical principles when engaging in academic of scholarly pursuits.” Basically, students are expected refrain from prohibited acts of academic misconduct or dishonesty in their completion of academic works at this institution.
So, what are the dishonest actions that are outright condemned at SRU? The student handbook provides a lengthy list of common examples.
- Buying, selling, or trading term papers, projects, or other assignments
- Plagiarizing and/or submitting the work of another student as your own
- Fabricating or falsifying information or citations
- Possessing unauthorized examinations
- Tampering with the academic work of another person
- Any attempts to falsify an assigned grade on an examination, report, or program in a grade book, document, or any other record
- Willingly giving or receiving unauthorized or unacknowledged assistance on an assignment or examination
- Any attempted, or actual computer program theft, or the illegal use of software
- Ghost-taking an exam in place of a student or having another person take an exam in your place
- Submitting work that has been previously used without the permission of the instructors involved
- Facilitation dishonest acts of others pertaining to academic work
- Using or attempting to use any unauthorized book, notes, or assistance etc.
It's important to note that this list should not be construed as either exhaustive or restrictive in regard to the parameters of filing potential charges. Acts that can be reasonably considered academically dishonest in any capacity that are not included on this list may also result in charges.
SRU has a brief section labeled “corrective discipline” that dictates the steps an institution will take in the event academic misconduct occurs. This method of resolution is relatively lenient in comparison to other schools.
Developing a remediation plan and behavioral goals
If an instructor has suspicions that a student is partaking in behavior that constitutes academic misconduct, the first step would be to confront the said student, identify their behavior and clarify that it is inappropriate. This notification, whether it be via email in person, should occur before the initial filing of charges. After the issue has been identified and acknowledged by a student, the development of a remediation plan and behavioral goals should ensue. These goals are personalized and would obviously depend on the form of academic misconduct that was committed. For example, a plan may outline that a student will make sure all sources are cited before turning in another assignment, or it could serve as a pact between a student and instructor that the incident will not happen again. Whatever the contents of a plan may contain, these goals should be tangible and easily accessed if necessary.
Developing a means of assessing the student's accomplishment of the established goals
Throughout the remaining duration of a course, an instructor will undoubtedly assess a student's ability to maintain the plan that was set in motion. Let's say a couple of student unauthorizedly collaborated on an assignment, and the plan established was for said students to refrain from doing so again. An assessment of this goal would be for an instructor to review the work submitted from students after the incident by comparing their works and locating obvious similarities. If no further suspicions are held by an instructor for the remainder of a course, actions may cease at this stage of the process.
Identifying student sanctions to be put in place if the student does not meet goals
In the event that a goal is not met, instructors are encouraged to identify recommended sanctions. Usually, instructors have limited options for imposed sanctions that rarely exceed the parameters of the course. An instructor, for example, would not be able to impose a sanction of an academic suspension. If he or she feels as if this sanction is necessary, he or she will refer the case to the Academic Integrity Committee for further evaluation. An instructor can, however, recommend sanctions like a resubmission, a reduced grade, a failing grade for the assignment, or a failing grade for the entire course.
Filing an Academic Integrity Incident Report
After a student is notified, a goal has been set, the goal was not met, and there exists a recommended sanction, the official charges are set to be filed. The only thing left for an instructor to do is to file an academic integrity incident report. Once this report is filed, sanctions will be imposed (if they are at course level). For more severe sanctions, the Academic Integrity Committee will conduct an investigation and determine an appropriate sanction for the action committed.
Fortunately, accused students are afforded the right to appeal a determination and/or sanction. An appeal is essentially a request for a school to reconsider its decision. In order for an appeal to be granted, it must be based on reasonable grounds. Mere dissatisfaction with a case outcome or sanction isn't enough. SRU students have 10 working days from the final determination to file an appeal.
Pennsylvania Student Defense Attorney
Although the above provided you with the core terms, definitions, and examples of academic misconduct and its penalties in your student handbook, it's highly recommended that you read it yourself. A well-informed student is a student who is set for success. In addition to being informed, retaining a student defense attorney is another privilege that will maximize your likelihood of success. For over 15 years, Joseph D. Lento has provided counsel to students who have been in your predicament, and he's helped them overcome their circumstances. He can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.