Founded in 1947 and situated in the heart of LA, California State University - Los Angeles enjoys its status as the premier comprehensive public university in the city. A university cannot achieve or maintain such a reputation without high standards of academic honesty and integrity. Cal State LA expects all students, faculty, and staff to live up to those standards.
Academic Honesty and Integrity Are Essential
If an institution of higher learning has a tarnished history of academic honesty, it will harm its reputation. Any graduate school or potential employee will be less impressed by an applicant from a university with a less-than-stellar reputation. All graduates, even those who always conducted themselves honestly, will suffer. When faculty cannot fully trust the student body, this can diminish the effectiveness of teaching. A professor will be less motivated to provide creative and inspiring course material to students who may be cheating. Cal State LA will investigate any acts that may be academic misconduct and punish any student the institution finds guilty.
Cal State LA Definitions of Academic Misconduct
The Cal State LA handbook clearly states that the fundamental values of honesty and integrity cannot be compromised in the quest for truth and knowledge. The chapter further goes on to define academic misconduct. These examples represent those acts, but the list is not all-inclusive.
The university defines cheating as using dishonest means to obtain or attempt to obtain academic credit. Specific examples include:
- Copying the work of another student.
- Using signals to give or receive answers.
- Obtaining, possessing, or reviewing any unauthorized copy of an exam.
- Using any unauthorized material such as textbooks, notebooks, or digital content during an exam.
- Possessing crib notes at the time and place of an exam.
- Using pretenses to secure an excused absence to avoid taking an exam at the scheduled time.
- Seeking unauthorized assistance in answering questions on a take-home exam.
- Changing the answer on a test that has been graded and claiming it was marked wrong incorrectly.
- Attempting to bribe a professor for an unearned grade.
2. Assignments and Coursework
- Claiming authorship of any work copied in whole or in part from another.
- Obtaining and submitting work from a source of unauthorized materials.
- Submitting someone else's work as one's own.
- Submitting the same work to two or more professors for credit without permission.
- Falsifying, creating, or changing data used in submitted work.
- Creating false references in a bibliography.
Cal State LA defines plagiarism as using the works, ideas, or words of another as one's own without proper citation. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to use proper citations for the ideas, data, concepts, or conclusions of others.
- Failing to use quotation marks around direct quotes of others.
- Paraphrasing the ideas of another without quotation marks or proper citation.
- Synthesizing an assignment by taking parts from several works and submitting it as one's own.
- Present other scholarly works of another such as musical compositions, drawings, computer programs, or any work of art as one's own.
The university defines misrepresentation as providing false academic information to a faculty member, university official, or campus office. This includes letters of recommendation, transcripts, and hours of attendance. Taking an exam for another person or allowing someone to substitute for you is also an act of misrepresentation. Misrepresenting the authorship of submitted work is also academic misconduct.
Helping another student in performing any act of cheating, plagiarism, or misrepresentation listed above is also academic misconduct.
Steps Taken Upon Suspicion of Academic Dishonesty
A faculty member who suspects a student of academic dishonesty has the responsibility to consider the evidence and be sure that it is reasonable enough to pursue action against the accused. Sufficient evidence includes, but is not limited to:
- Documentation showing the source of text which the student has represented as their own work without proper citation.
- A noticeable difference in the student's writing style compared to previous work.
- Testimony from others who witnessed the student committing the act.
- A professor witnessing first-hand the student committing the act.
- An admission from the accused.
- Sufficient similarity between the work of two students to raise suspicion.
A faculty member will discuss the suspicion and evidence with their department/division chair, dean, or school director before speaking with the student. A conference will be scheduled in which the student will be informed of the accusation, the evidence, and the proposed consequences.
The Student Disputes the Claim
If the student disputes the claim of academic misconduct they will be allowed to respond verbally or in writing within 10 days of the conference. At this point, the faculty member will consider the evidence and the response of the student. If the preponderance of the evidence supports a charge of academic dishonesty, the faculty member will file a report with the Student Conduct Administrator.
Formal Appeal Process
An appealing student must initiate the formal appeal process by the end of the academic term. The student files the appeal with the provost and the University Academic Appeals Board will review it. Within 20 days, the board will determine if a hearing is warranted.
The board will appoint a Hearing Committee from its membership. The committee will hear from witnesses and the accused. The accused student may be represented by an advisor. The committee will determine whether or not the student committed the act. If the committee upholds the accusation, the punishment shall be determined and handed out.
Consequences of Academic Misconduct
Punishments for academic misconduct are generally severe. Failure of the exam in question and the entire course is common. Suspension or expulsion are also frequent. These sanctions become part of a student's record, and in the case of a suspension, the student will have a gap in their academic history to explain.
If you have been accused of academic misconduct, don't take on the intimidating investigation and hearing process alone. You need an attorney-advisor with the experience to represent you effectively. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will fight for you as he has for students for years across the United States. Don't let a mistake or poor decision committed in the heat of the moment destroy your academic career.