The Catholic University of America

Archived 8/6/13

 

Student Academic Dishonesty Procedures

I. Enforcement Procedures

A. When a faculty member suspects that an incident of academic dishonesty has occurred, he or she should communicate in writing and promptly arrange a conference with the student to discuss the matter. The faculty member may consult with the dean of the school and/or the chair of the department (where applicable) on the issues involved but will not discuss prior infractions of the student. At the conference, the faculty member will inform the student of his or her concerns, and the student will be given the opportunity to present his or her version of the facts. No counsel (e.g., parents/guardians, lawyers) will be present at this conference.

B. Once an allegation of suspected academic dishonesty has been communicated to the student, the student may not withdraw from the course or academic project in question.

C. After their conference, or if the student does not respond in a timely fashion to the offer to confer with the faculty member, the faculty member may conduct further investigation regarding the matter as he or she deems appropriate. On the basis of the facts, he or she will decide whether an act of academic dishonesty has taken place.

D. If the faculty member decides that an act of academic dishonesty has taken place and imposes a sanction, he or she will make a written record of the disposition of the matter, including the facts on which he or she relied. He or she will retain a copy for his or her file, and communicate his or her decision to the student. He or she will also report this decision to the designee of the dean of the school where the academic dishonesty occurred and to the chair of the department (in departmentalized schools). The dean's designee will report the decision to the dean of the school in which the student is matriculated (if different from that where the dishonesty took place) and to the provost's office to be recorded in the Register after all appeals and/or periods of appeal are over.

E. Upon receiving the faculty member's decision, the dean, in certain circumstances, may decide to increase the sanction. A decision to suspend or expel a student from the university may only be made by the dean of the school where the student is matriculated. This decision may be based on the existence of prior entries in the Register and/or other aggravating circumstances. The dean shall prepare a written decision, which states his or her conclusions and the facts upon which he or she relied. The student shall be informed in writing in a timely fashion of the decision. A copy of the dean's written decision shall also be sent, as appropriate, to the faculty member, the chair of the department, and the dean of the school where the violation took place and to the Office of the Provost to be recorded in the Register after all appeals and/or periods of appeal are over.

F. The case file concerning academic dishonesty shall be maintained by the dean in the school where the alleged academic dishonesty occurred and shall consist of any of the following documents that pertain to the matter: any and all documents containing the alleged academic dishonesty, other relevant documents submitted, correspondence, formal notes and narratives of the professor, department chair, and/or dean. The case file shall be maintained until the student's departure from the university, at which time the file shall be transferred to university Archives.

G. If information is received by a member of the university community alleging that a graduate of the university engaged in academic dishonesty at the time he or she was a registered student but the alleged dishonesty was discovered after graduation, the information shall be brought to the attention of the dean of the school where the graduate was matriculated, who shall determine the procedures to follow and the appropriate sanction.

II. Sanctions
The availability and the imposition of meaningful sanctions communicate a message to the community that the university treats the standards of honesty set forth in this policy with the greatest seriousness and that infractions of these requirements will be pursued and punished.

The presumed sanction for undergraduate students for academic dishonesty will be failure for the course. There may be circumstances, however, where, perhaps because of an undergraduate student's past record, a more serious sanction, such as suspension or expulsion, would be appropriate.

In the context of graduate studies, the expectations for academic honesty are greater, and therefore the presumed sanction for dishonesty is likely to be more severe, e.g., expulsion.

When a graduate of the university is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty, revocation of a degree, certificate, or other recognition previously awarded may be considered as a possible sanction.

In the more unusual case, mitigating circumstances may exist that would warrant a lesser sanction than the presumed sanction.

III. Appeals

A. Requests for Review

1.
A student may appeal a determination that he or she committed an act of academic dishonesty by filing a request for a review of that finding. No appeal is permissible against the sanction only.

2. The request for review shall be filed within 15 business days of the written notification to the student of the sanction. The request for review shall be submitted in writing to the dean of the school where the incident of alleged academic dishonesty took place, and must specify with particularity the basis of the student's appeal.

3. If the student does not request a review within the specified time period the decision of the faculty member or of the dean of the school shall be final.

4. The office of the dean receiving the request for review will proceed in accordance with the provisions below.

B. Sanction Imposed by a Faculty Member

1.
Each school will establish an academic dishonesty appeals procedure that affords the student the opportunity to present his or her version of the facts to a School Academic Dishonesty Committee composed of faculty and students appointed by the dean of the school or his or her designee. The burden of proof shall be on the student challenging a determination and that burden must be satisfied by the preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that a greater weight of the evidence is required in order to decide in favor of one side over the other, to determine whether a fact is true and/or to establish that an event occurred. The decision that a preponderance of the evidence exists must be based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth of accuracy, not on the amount of evidence available.

2. The dean or an associate or assistant dean designated by the dean shall evaluate the request for review. He or she may affirm the faculty member's decision without the need for a hearing if he or she deems the appeal to be frivolous or without merit, which shall be communicated in writing to the student. Otherwise the dean or the designated official shall refer the matter to the School Academic Dishonesty Committee to consider the appeal and to render a written decision in accordance with the procedures established by the school. The decision of the School Academic Dishonesty Committee will be final, and no further appeal will be permitted.

C. Sanction Imposed by a dean

If the dean of the school in which the student is matriculated determines that the student's academic dishonesty warrants that the student be suspended or expelled, the student may file a written request for a review of the determination. Upon receiving the student's request for review, the dean of the school where the alleged academic dishonesty took place or his or her designee will forward it to the dean of graduate studies or to the vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, as appropriate. The procedures for handling such requests by a vice provost are detailed herein.

D. Successful Appeals

If the student is found not to have engaged in academic dishonesty, there will be no entry relating to the incident in the Register. If, on appeal, the determination of academic dishonesty is upheld but the sanction is modified, the Register entry will reflect that new sanction.

IV. University Appeal Procedures

A. University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel
To handle student appeals of dean's decisions in cases of academic dishonesty, the Academic Senate will appoint a University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel of five faculty members, two graduate students and two undergraduate students. Faculty members on the panel will serve three-year terms, which will be staggered. Student members will ordinarily serve one-year terms, although they may be appointed for additional terms. One of the faculty members will be appointed annually as chair, another as vice chair. Upon receipt of an appeal, the administering vice provost will have available to him or her the options of:

1. Affirming the dean's decision without the need for a hearing if the appeal is judged to be frivolous or without merit; or

2. Convening a University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee to hear the appeal.

In either case, the vice provost shall send a written notification to the student.

B. If the appeal is referred, the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall render a final decision on the matter. The members of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee will be selected from the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Panel and shall be composed of two faculty members and one student or of three faculty members if none of the student members of the panel are available. Either the chair or vice chair of the panel will be on the Committee and will serve as chair. All documentation, including the written determination and information from the Register in the provost's office shall be made available to members of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee.

C. The Procedures for the operation of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall be as follows.

1. The appeal committee shall provide that the student shall receive adequate and timely written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

2. The appeal committee shall inform the student that he or she shall have an opportunity to present his or her position through written memoranda, oral presentations, and witnesses. The Committee shall consider all requests for witnesses and shall invite only those that it deems can contribute relevant information to appear before it or to submit written testimony.

3. The faculty member, department chair, or dean who made the initial allegation of academic dishonesty shall be invited to appear at the hearing. When suspension or expulsion has been imposed as a penalty, the dean who imposed that sanction will also be invited.

4. A copy of all written material provided by the student in support of his or her appeal will be provided to the hearing board at least 72 hours prior to the hearing.

5. No persons other than the members of the appeal committee, the student, the faculty member, or any person that the appeal committee judges can contribute to assisting it in reaching a decision shall be admitted to any meeting of the appeal committee. Legal counsel shall not be admitted at any of the meetings of the appeal committee.

6. A record shall be kept of the hearing. Formal evidentiary rules shall not be applicable to the hearing.

7. The appeal committee shall issue a decision, which will be communicated in writing promptly to the student, the faculty member, the student's dean and the cognizant vice provost. That decision will be to

a. Affirm the determination of academic dishonesty and the imposed sanction; or

b. Affirm the determination of academic dishonesty, but modify the imposed sanction; or

c. Reject the determination of academic dishonesty and set aside any sanction.

8. A brief statement of the reasons for the decision will also be sent to the cognizant vice provost, and a copy of that statement will be retained as part of the record of the hearing. If the appeal committee rejects the determination of academic dishonesty or modifies any sanction, the Office of the Provost will be notified and the record in the Register will be entered or modified as necessary.

D. The decision of the University Academic Dishonesty Appeal Committee shall be final.