Yale University Academic Integrity Advisor

Academic Integrity holds an esteemed place in the Yale University community, which prides itself on being devoted to the creation, preservation, and the exchange of knowledge. For this reason, the institution emphasizes the importance of students learning how to properly acknowledge the contributions of others in their own academic endeavors, and to properly document their reliance on others' thinking. 

We're all inspired by something. Very few scholars had the luxury of having original ideas, and even the greatest scholars used their predecessors' achievements as a foundation for their work. It is when students fail to acknowledge the contributions of others, or engage in an unauthorized method to complete academic work that Yale students begin to cross into “academic dishonesty” territory. 

Regardless of whether you intentionally engaged in academic dishonesty or not, the consequences of doing so at Yale are harsh, to say the least. Students found guilty of such allegations have learned (the hard way) that the repercussions imposed by the institution will not only affect a student's college career, but can affect their professional life down the line as well. 

In this article, we'll address how Yale handles allegations of academic dishonesty and why you need a student defense attorney to assist you throughout the disciplinary process.

How Does Yale Define “Academic Dishonesty?”

Essentially, any behavior that doesn't align with Yale University's academic integrity regulations is considered academic dishonesty. But that definition includes a pretty broad range of actions. Here are a few examples of actions, provided by Yale's Code of Conduct, that constitute academic dishonesty.

Multiple Submission

Students are not authorized to submit the same paper, or substantially the same paper, in more than one course. If topics for two courses happen to coincide, a student must first get the written permission from both instructors before either combining work on two papers or revising an earlier paper for submission to a new course. Refusing to take any of these steps before submitting a submission is a breach of academic integrity.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the use of someone else's work, ideas, or words if they were one's own. If one uses a source for a paper, one must acknowledge it. What is considered a source varies vastly depending on the assignment, but the list certainly includes readings, lectures, websites, conversations, interviews, and other students' papers. Every academic discipline has its own methods for acknowledging and properly citing sources. Instructors should be clear in their instructions of which conventions students are to use. To remain plagiarism-free, students should practice citing everything that was borrowed from others - whether it be data, opinions, questions, ideas, or phrasing. This is an obligation whether the sources are published or unpublished.

Some forms of plagiarism are more egregious than others. Submission of an entire paper prepared by someone else is an especially serious form of plagiarism, and is grounds for the imposition of a serious penalty, including expulsion from the University. 

Cheating on Examinations

Copying answers from other students or referring to notes, books, laptop computers, cellular phones, or other electronic devices without written permission is cheating. It is also cheating to change answers on a returned examination and then request re-grading, or to obtain answers from another student who may have taken the test at another time.

Instructors are to make rules clear when issuing take-home examinations, and students are to obey this instruction thoroughly. If a student is confused about guidelines, he or she is responsible for seeking explicit clarification from the instructor. 

Problem Sets and Ungraded Written Assignments

Many instructors assign work that allows students to practice and develop skills in a low-stakes format, less formal than a paper and often ungraded. Collaboration with other students is a common practice in many courses, but students are expected to ask instructors for a written explanation of what kinds of collaboration are appropriate.

Laboratory Exercises

Laboratory exercises are constructed around the goal to make observations and then to process these observations. There are three forms of dishonesty that can occur with this form of assignment:

  1. Falsification of data: this is also known as “dry-labbing.” This occurs when one constructs observations out of one's head or borrows observations from others as if they were one's own genuine data. In the professional world, the falsification of data results in excommunication from the community of scientists. In undergraduate work, the comparable sanction is suspension. 
  2. Cooperating in treatment of data: In some cases, students are given a common set of data for each of them to analyze and document the results. In these scenarios, it's tempting for students to get together and divide the work. Students are to assume that this type of cooperation is strictly forbidden unless explicitly permitted by the instructor. If all else fails, students are encouraged to ask if cooperation is permitted once an assignment is made.
  3. Borrowing or purchase of material: Submission of material, such as a chemical product, that a student does not obtain from actually performing the assigned experiment is a flagrant act of cheating. Purchasing the product in the marketplace, "borrowing some product" from a classmate, or obtaining a sample surreptitiously from another laboratory all constitute serious offenses. In the preparation of products by synthesis, using "excess starting materials" to promote a better yield of products is also cheating.

Yale University's Procedure for Resolving Cases of Academic Dishonesty

Students accused of academic infractions will endure the following disciplinary phases:

Initiation of Allegation

Any allegation of academic dishonesty will be directed to the dean of the school in which the respondents holds or held appointments. The dean will then determine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that the allegation is sufficiently credible, and if true, would constitute academic dishonesty. 

If it is determined that there are reasonable grounds for such allegations, the Inquiry Committee will be appointed to examine the allegation.

Inquiry

The Inquiry Committee will interview the instructor and respondent to further understand the allegations and to come up with a determination. Normally within 60 days after receiving charges, the committee will prepare a written report for the dean setting forth its conclusions and the evidentiary basis for those conclusions. 

Investigation

The Investigation Committee is responsible for doing the work to prove that academic dishonesty did, in fact, occur. This means impounding any materials which the committee believes are relevant, hearing the testimony of both sides, and assessing evidence submitted by both sides. An investigation usually lasts no longer than 120 days.

Report of Investigation

Upon completion of its investigation, the Investigation Committee will prepare a written report consisting of the following three parts:

  1. A summary of the substance of the documents, the testimony, and other forms of evidence which the Investigation Committee relied upon in reaching its conclusion
  2. A statement of the Committee's findings of fact and the conclusions it has drawn from those facts
  3. The Committee's recommendation, if any, as to what actions the Dean should undertake.

Appeal

Any person accused of academic misconduct who believes that the allegation was improperly reviewed, may appeal in writing to the provost.

Any appeal shall be delivered to the provost by the date that is 30 calendar days after the date of the dean's notice to the respondent. Additional time may be provided by the provost in his or her discretion, and only upon prompt application and for compelling reasons.

In considering such an appeal, the provost will limit his or her review to determining whether appropriate procedures and standards were applied.

Academic Integrity Attorney for Yale University Students

An academic misconduct violation can jeopardize the academic and professional goals you or your college student have set. If you value the investment you've made into your education and your professional future, contacting a skilled student defense attorney is a must. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students who've acquired serious academic misconduct charges recover from these allegations, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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