Academic Honesty Policy

Purpose

The search for truth and the dissemination of knowledge are the central missions of a university. Benedictine University pursues these missions in an environment guided by our Roman Catholic tradition and our Benedictine heritage. Integrity and honesty are therefore expected of all University students. Actions such as cheating, plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, forgery, falsification, destruction, multiple submission, solicitation, and misrepresentation are violations of these expectations and constitute unacceptable behavior in the University community.

Student's Responsibility

Though there is no formal honor code at Benedictine University, students are expected to exhibit academic honesty at all times. Violations against academic honesty are always serious and may result in sanctions that could have profound long-term effects. The final responsibility for understanding the Academic Honesty Policy of the institution, as well as the specific policies for individual courses normally found in syllabi, rests with students. If any doubt exists about what constitutes academic dishonesty, students have the responsibility to talk to the faculty member. Students should expect the members of their class to be academically honest. If students believe one or more members of the class have been deceitful to gain academic advantage in the class, students should feel comfortable to approach the faculty member of the course without prejudice. A student has the right to appeal a sanction. In all instances, the appeal process begins with the faculty member of the course. Details concerning the appeals process are given below. Written documentation must accompany an appeal explaining why the student finds the decisions made by the faculty member unsatisfactory.

Responsibility and Authority of the Faculty

In the classroom, faculty members are responsible for establishing an environment that promotes honest and ethical behavior. Faculty members will utilize the course syllabus as a vehicle for informing students about the Academic Honesty Policy. Faculty members should also explain course-specific rules and consequences, which will be included in the syllabus. Emphasis should be placed on educating students on proper academic techniques for work, study, authorship, and test taking.

Violations

The following actions are viewed as violations of the Academic Honesty Policy. Beyond these specific violations, any action expressly forbidden in a course syllabus will be treated as a violation of this policy. The syllabus for a course will detail specific actions encouraged, permitted, and forbidden in that course. Discussions between faculty members and students on this topic are healthy and encouraged.

  • Cheating - using or providing unauthorized materials, information, study aids in an academic exercise, or copying from other students
  • Plagiarism - in an academic exercise, adopting, reproducing, or representing the ideas or statements of another as one's own, without proper acknowledgment
  • Collusion - working together with another on an academic exercise when that is not permitted
  • Fabrication - using made-up information or sources in an academic exercise
  • Forgery - knowingly using another person's signature in an academic exercise, or on any academic document
  • Falsification - altering or misrepresenting information related to academic research or assignments, internships, clinical experiences, portfolios and other academic records
  • Destruction - knowingly removing, destroying, or concealing academic materials belonging to the University, faculty, staff or student
  • Multiple submission - using previously completed work to meet a requirement of a course, or using the same paper or project in more than one course, without permission from the faculty member(s) teaching the course(s)
  • Solicitation - asking another to assist in an act of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, forgery or destruction related to an academic exercise, document or record, or offering to do so for another
  • Misrepresentation - knowingly altering or misstating facts for the purpose of gaining an extension of time or deadline related to an academic assignment or to influence an appeal related to a grade, course withdrawal, waiver or academic standing

Reporting and Communicating

  1. If a faculty member believes that academic dishonesty has occurred, he/she will first document the actions or behaviors constituting the violation (see item 3 of Reporting and Communicating). The faculty member will discuss the incident with the student as soon as possible after the incident has been discovered. The faculty member will inform the student of any penalty (see item 2 of Reporting and Communicating) that will be assessed at this time. In the absence of an appeal by the student, the faculty member will report the incident to the Provost.

    If a student wishes to appeal (see First Appeal below), the student will have seven business days after being informed of a sanction to provide a written explanation to the faculty member supporting the student's case as to why a penalty should not be assessed. In addition, the student will contact the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* and request that he/she mediate the conflict. If the sanction is not removed, the incident will be reported (along with any comments of the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean*) by the faculty member to the Provost's office. The student can appeal (see Final Appeal below). The student may request guidance in the appeals process from the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean*.

  2. The faculty member will assign one or more of the following sanctions:
    • A private verbal and/or written warning may be given to the student, with no other penalty imposed. These actions need not be reported to the Provost.
    • The student may be asked to complete a new assignment or test, and the incident will be reported in writing to the Provost as indicated in item 1 of Reporting and Communicating.
    • A reduction in the grade or score (partial or complete) will be given for the assignment or test that the faculty member deemed to be indicative of a violation and the incident will be reported in writing to the Provost as indicated in item 1 of Reporting and Communicating.
    • A grade of "F" may be assigned for the course. Such an action will be reported in writing to the Provost as indicated in item 1 of Reporting and Communicating.
    • Beyond the course sanctions listed above, a recommendation may be made to the Provost requesting further action (see items 2 and 6 of Responsibilities of the Provost).
  3. The faculty member will record, in writing, the following:
    • The violation, including time, date, place and circumstances,
    • Why the faculty member believes the action was dishonest,
    • The names and statements of any supporting witnesses,
    • All original documents (course syllabus, tests, reports, diskettes, etc.), and
    • Any other notes, supporting documentation, and other relevant materials.

    This record, signed and dated by the faculty member, will be prepared within three business days of the faculty member's final discussion with the student. The record of the incident will be forwarded to the Provost. The faculty member should not keep copies of any forwarded records for his/her own files.

  4. Other Benedictine University students, who are not part of the faculty member's particular class, but who are detected helping someone commit academic dishonesty in that class will be subject to the same  standards and, to the extent possible, the same sanctions, and the incident will also be reported to the Provost.

Responsibilities of the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean*

  1. The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* will be informed of academic honesty violations by department faculty though the identities of the students involved shall not be revealed. Of course, a student may voluntarily reveal him or herself to the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* as part of the appeals process (See item 1 of Reporting and Communicating).
  2. The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* will act as a mediator when a student disagrees with a sanction imposed by a faculty member for an academic honesty violation:
    • The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* will advise faculty regarding the fair treatment of students who are accused of an academic honesty violation. The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* can agree with a faculty member's sanction or he/she can recommend that a faculty alter a sanction given to a student. Though a Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* cannot overrule or otherwise change a faculty sanction, he/she may add his/her comments to any report sent to the Provost.
    • The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* will work with the accused student to ensure that he/she understands the Academic Honesty Policy of the University and the appeals process contained therein.
    • At all times the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* should ensure that both the student and the faculty member are treated respectfully and fairly.

Responsibilities of the Provost

  1. The Provost is responsible for maintaining confidential records concerning academic dishonesty of students enrolled in the University. All letters reporting faculty-imposed academic penalties for academic misconduct will be included in these files (see Records).
  2. The Provost will be responsible for identifying all incidents which represent repeated offenses by a student and may impose a University sanction because of repeat offenses.
  3. Upon the creation of a student record, the Provost will inform, in writing, the student, his/her academic advisor(s), and the faculty member who reported the incident, of the existence of the record established pursuant to the terms of this Policy. It is expected the advisor will counsel the student as to the seriousness of this matter and potential consequences.
  4. The Provost may impose University sanctions. Sanctions imposed by the Provost are final unless the student requests a hearing within seven business days of notification.
  5. The Provost is required to notify the student of the appeal process and to provide the student a copy of this policy or explicitly refer the student to it.
  6. The Provost may also assign further University sanctions as follows:
    • The student may be denied honorary recognitions granted by the University.
    • The student may be denied institutional financial aid and/or scholarships from Benedictine University.
    • The student may be ruled immediately ineligible for NCAA athletic competition or other extra curricular activities.
    • The student may be suspended from the University.
    • The student may be expelled from the University.
  7. In those situations where a University sanction is imposed and the student requests a hearing in writing, the Provost will arrange a meeting of the Academic Appeals Board.

Appeals

First Appeal: When a student accused of academic dishonesty wishes to contest an action by a faculty member, the student, within a seven business day period after learning the faculty member sanctions, may send a written explanation to the faculty member describing why sanctions should not be imposed. In addition, the student will contact the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* who oversees the program in which the academic dishonesty has been reported. The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* shall work with both the faculty member and the student to attempt to facilitate a resolution. The mediation process will be carried out in a timely manner, normally seven business days. If a sanction remains in place at the end of the mediation process, the faculty member will formally inform the student by e-mail (or registered mail). A report of the incident will be sent to the Provost. The Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* may add his/her comments to the report. In addition, the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean* will notify the student of the appeal process and provide the student a copy of this Policy or explicitly refer the student to it. (* If the accusing faculty member is the Department Chair/Program Director/Associate Dean, then the Dean of the College will act as mediator.)

Final Appeal: Upon receipt of a report of an academic honesty violation, the Provost will review the case and decide whether or not to impose University sanctions (see items 2, 4, and 6 of Responsibilities of the Provost). The Provost will contact the student as described in item 3 of Responsibilities of the Provost. If a student wishes to appeal the decision of a faculty member or appeal a University sanction imposed by the Provost, the student will have seven business days (after receiving notice from the Provost by certified mail) to write a letter to the Provost requesting a hearing before the Academic Appeals Board. In addition, the Provost will notify the student of the appeal process (see item 5, Responsibilities of the Provost). Within seven business days of the receipt of the request for appeal, the Provost will convene the Academic Appeals Board to hear from all concerned parties in an appropriate setting.

Composition of the Academic Appeals Board

The Academic Appeals Board will consist of three regular, elected faculty (with one alternate) and two student representatives appointed by the Provost (with one alternate). The five members will have the right to vote, with the Provost in the role as a non-voting convener. If the student requesting the appeal is in an adult program, at least one member of the faculty will be affiliated with an adult program and at least one student representative will be enrolled in an adult program. If the student requesting the appeal is in a graduate program, at least one member of the faculty will be affiliated with a graduate program and one student will be enrolled in a graduate program.

Procedures of the Academic Appeals Board

The chairperson will be elected by the membership of the board. The chairperson will gather all of the relevant material available pertaining to the case at hand and distribute it to the members. In addition, the chair will contact all of the parties involved in the case and arrange for a date and time for them to meet (in person or by teleconference) with the Academic Appeals Board. All voting members of the Academic Appeals Board will ordinarily attend the hearing(s). Participants called before the committee will testify one at a time and alone. No one outside of the members of the Appeals Board shall view the proceedings. The student requesting the appeal shall testify first followed by the instructor involved. Finally, any witnesses to the incident shall testify. Once testimony is taken from the involved parties, the Appeals Board may recall any or all of the participants in order to clarify or resolve conflicting testimony. The committee may also call new witnesses after considering the accumulated testimony. Every effort will be made by all parties to keep the proceedings confidential. The Academic Appeals Board has the authority to confirm the original sanction, reduce the sanction, or increase the sanction. Within seven business days of the decision by the Academic Appeals Board, the student who requested the appeal will be notified in writing by certified mail of the decision of the Board. In addition, the faculty member who imposed the original sanction will be notified. The decision of the Academic Appeals Board is final. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the timeline of the appeals process.

Records

Any violation of the Academic Honesty Policy that is reported to the Provost initiates the creation of a student record related to the violation. This record is considered a confidential educational record subject to provisions of applicable state and federal laws, and is available only to authorized personnel.

The student record comprises the following: the initial reporting document (see Reporting and Communicating), any correspondence with the student initiated either by the student accused of a violation or by the Provost related to the incident, and any decisions by the Academic Appeals Board. If the student is involved in multiple instances of academic dishonesty, the record shall contain all relevant information pertaining to each violation as stated above.

Procedures Pertaining to Access and Use of Student Records

All requests to view a student record will be channeled directly to the Provost. The following are considered the only valid requests to view a student record:

  • Student: A student has the right to view his/her own documentation related to a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy under reasonable conditions identified by the Provost. The student may not remove the record from the Provost's office.
  • Institutional boards: A Benedictine University body vested with the duty of generating student recommendations for professional or graduate education on behalf of the University as a whole, for academic honors, scholarships, or for a department thereof, may ask the student to complete the Academic Honesty File Access form (appendix 2) to allow full access to the student's records.
  • Academic Appeals Board: The Academic Appeals Board may view a student's record as a part of its role in the appellate process as defined in this policy.
  • Faculty/Academic Staff: Benedictine University faculty and academic staff may view a student record in the Provost's Office if the student provides written consent. Under these circumstances, the student will be given the opportunity to complete the Academic Honesty File Access form in appendix 2.

Maintenance of Records

The student record will be handled in a confidential manner and kept in a secure place in the Provost's Office for a period of six years from the student's last term of enrollment, after which time it will be destroyed pursuant to the University's procedure related to students' permanent files.

Appendix 1: Timeline for Appeals Process:
Download .PDF

Appendix 2: Academic Honesty File Access Form:
Download .DOC Form

Appendix 3: Academic Honesty Violation Form:
Download .DOC Form

Office of the Provost
Benedictine University

Maria de la Cámara, Ph.D.
Acting Provost

Colleen Hanna
Executive Assistant

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Email: channa@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6240
Fax: (630) 829-6369