The Catholic University of America

Archived 6/14/06

I. Introduction

II. Definitions
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III. Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty is an act of deliberate deceit in the fulfillment of a student's obligations to the academic community. It includes, but is not limited to, the failure to observe rules of fairness in taking exams or writing papers, plagiarism, fabrication and cheating.

  1. Plagiarism is the act of presenting the work of another as if it were one's own. It includes quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing or utilizing the published work of others without proper acknowledgment. Most frequently, it involves the unacknowledged use of published books or articles in periodicals, magazines and newspapers. However, any unacknowledged use of another's ideas constitutes plagiarism, including the use of papers written by other students, interviews, radio or TV broadcasts, and any published or unpublished materials (e.g., letters, pamphlets, leaflets, notes or documents). For a more detailed discussion of plagiarism, see Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference, Fifth Edition ( Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003), pp. 419-422.*

  1. The improper use of one's own work is the act of submitting work for a course which includes research done for previous projects and courses in a way intended to give the impression that the research in question was newly done for the present course.

  1. Fabrication is the act of artificially contriving or making up material, data or other information and submitting this as fact.

  2. Cheating is the act of deceiving, which includes such acts as looking at another's exam (during the exam), using notes when prohibited during exams, using electronic equipment to communicate information during exams, or whatever else is deemed contrary to the rules of fairness, including special rules designated by the professor in the course.

  3. Facilitation of academic dishonesty is the act of attempting to help someone engage in plagiarism, fabrication, cheating or any other type of academic dishonesty.

*Replaces Kate L. Turabian, Students' Guide for Writing College Papers, Third Edition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 49-55 (4:59-73).

Punitive Action

Any incident of academic dishonesty will be reported to the relevant dean for appropriate action. In addition to a faculty member's determination about academic dishonesty as it relates to his/her course, Any incident of academic dishonesty will be reported to the relevant dean for appropriate and further action. In addition, faculty members may refer students to the Office of the Dean of Students for further adjudication.


~Adopted by the Academic Senate ("Clarification of Academic Dishonesty, Absenteeism, Administration of Exams"), May 10, 1990

IV. Academic Honesty

In University Announcements, the aims of the university are clearly stated with regard to the importance of respect for the truth. "The Catholic University of America is a community of scholars, both faculty and students, set apart to discover, preserve and impart truth in all its forms." (CUA Student Handbook, 1989-990, p. 6). The process of discovering and disseminating truth is both an individual and a community activity. While each member of the community works on his or her individual tasks, each conducts that research in the light of the findings of others. If each member had to check all the findings of colleagues for fabrications and distortions, the research and publication process would be slowed down considerably. The communal pursuit of truth is possible only if there is reasonable confidence that all members are honestly reporting the results of their investigations. When that confidence in the honesty of colleagues is shaken, the pursuit of truth is seriously impaired, and if it is ever lost entirely, the community is destroyed. Students must remember that as apprentice scholars they are a vital part of the community and that what they do affects the entire group. It is for this reason, then, that academic dishonesty in all its forms can neither be tolerated nor condoned. To do so would ultimately destroy the university.


- Adopted by the Academic Senate, May 10, 1990

V. Unethical Practices

A student who is involved in unethical practices in connection with any work required for a course may receive a grade of F (Failure) for the course. The same rule is applicable to comprehensive examinations. Further penalties may be imposed in accordance with specific circumstances.

It is strictly prohibited, as an unethical practice, to submit as one's own work term papers, research, or professional papers or dissertations in which material provided by a professional research agency or by other persons is utilized. A graduate student who receives such assistance or engages in other unethical practices in the research or writing of a thesis or dissertation shall be liable to expulsion from the university upon proper hearing by the department or school and dean.

Note: The operative words in the preceding regulation are "as one's own work." Whether the material comes from a professional research agency or a ghost writer or simply is plagiarized, its submission as one's own work is unethical. On the other hand, if due acknowledgment is given, for example, to statistical or printed sources, the practice is ethical. It then will be for the faculty to judge, by contemporary standards, whether there is sufficient original work to justify accepting the paper or dissertation.