Thomas Green Clemson founded Clemson University as “a high seminary of learning.” In keeping with his vision, the institution holds its students, faculty, and staff to a high standard of honesty and integrity. As clearly explained in the undergraduate academic integrity statement, Clemson has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of academic misconduct, including cheating, plagiarism, lying, or stealing. These high standards allow Clemson to enjoy its place as one of the nation's finest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning.
The Importance of Academic Integrity
If a university does not uphold academic integrity amongst undergraduates, its reputation will suffer. No graduate school or potential future employer will value a degree earned at that institution. That would amount to the loss of a competitive edge moving on. If academic honesty is called into question, professors could lose trust in the entire student body. This can harm the quality of their teaching, even to honest students. No university can afford to allow academic misconduct to go on unchecked.
Examples of Academic Misconduct
Clemson considers any violation of the undergraduate academic integrity statement academic misconduct and will investigate and punish those found guilty. Assisting another student in using dishonesty to complete coursework is also considered misconduct. The two most common forms of academic dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism.
Cheating is the act of answering questions on any quiz, exam, or test by using means other than one's knowledge of the course materials. It includes, but is not limited to:
- Use of a notebook, textbook, or source of written information without authorization during a test.
- Use of cheat sheets, hidden notes, or notes written on clothing or skin to answer questions during a test.
- Use of the internet and any form of technology, such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, to look up answers during a test.
- Copying another student's work or allowing another student to copy yours.
- Acquiring an answer key or any information about the test beforehand without authorization.
- Use of a calculator without permission.
- Taking an exam for someone else or allowing someone to take one for you.
- Giving or receiving assistance to or from another student without the permission of the professor.
Plagiarism involves using the words and ideas of others and presenting them as one's own without proper citation. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Using someone else's work, published or unpublished, and presenting it as one's own to complete an assignment.
- When completing an academic exercise, using work created in whole or in part by another person.
- Allowing another person to edit or revise work that you turn in to complete an assignment.
- Use of a direct or indirect quotation of another person without placing the words in quotation marks and properly citing the source.
- Use of the words of another without citation by alternating the order or the language used.
The Academic Integrity Committee
A 20-member academic integrity committee has the power to hear all cases of alleged academic misconduct. The composition of the committee is as follows:
- Ten members are tenured faculty, two from each of the five colleges. Their respective college faculties elect the members who serve on the committee for staggered two-term periods. Terms begin late registration, fall semester.
- Ten others are members of the undergraduate student body, two from each college. The student body president nominates potential committee members through an application. In the spring semester, the student senate interviews and approves committee members for two years. Any student must have a 3.0 or better GPA and have completed at least 30 hours by the end of the spring semester.
- Four standing boards make up the committee. Two faculty members, two students, and a chairperson make up each board that rotates convening cases on a weekly basis.
- The membership of the committee elects the chairpersons.
- The Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Services conducts training sessions with each new committee member. The Associate Dean also serves as the administrative coordinator of the Academic Integrity Committee.
Academic Misconduct Procedures
- If a faculty member believes evidence exists of a student committing academic misconduct, they make a formal charge of academic dishonesty in writing. The faculty member lists the details of the alleged incident and presents it to the Associate Dean of Academic Services. Though not mandated, the faculty member may also notify the student in question of the charge privately. A student may bring evidence of academic misconduct to a faculty member's attention.
- Upon receiving the charge, the Associate Dean notifies the accused student privately and provides them with a copy of the charge.
- Once the Associate Dean has notified the student, they will convene an Academic Integrity Committee board within 14 calendar days. The board considers the accused innocent until proven guilty.
- The board hears from both sides. The faculty member presents the evidence, and the student has the opportunity to rebuff.
- The board then decides as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. There is no appeal process for a student found guilty.
Should the board find the student guilty, the Associate Dean will notify them immediately. For a first offense, the faculty member who brought the case to the committee shall determine the penalty. The student receives an F for a course grade. Should the offense not be the first, the university suspends the student for one or more semesters and may expel the student outright.
Academic Misconduct Consequences
Failing the course in question will harm that student's GPA which will limit future educational and professional opportunities. Other effects could also be devastating. Suspension and expulsion are possible, and either would severely damage the student's reputation and academic career. Pursuing further education and a job would become difficult with that stain on their record.
Hire an Attorney as an Academic Misconduct Advisor
The potential penalties for academic misconduct can be severe and long-lasting. But you don't have to fight that battle alone. You have the right to representation and should have an attorney experienced in academic misconduct cases. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill and experience to help you win your case. He has successfully represented hundreds of students across the United States and he will fight for you every step of the way.