WPU Academic Integrity Policy

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity refers to the values of being honest and ethical in one’s academic work. Its opposite is academic dishonesty. The following are some but not necessarily all of the examples of behaviors that constitute academic dishonesty: Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. The following are some examples of cheating, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

• Copying from another person or entity during an examination or allowing another to copy your work.

• Unauthorized collaboration on a take home assignment or examination.

• Using notes during a closed book examination.

• Taking an examination for someone else or asking or allowing another to take an examination for you.

• Changing a graded exam and returning it for more credit.

• Submitting substantial portions of the same paper to more than one course without consulting with each instructor.

• Preparing answers or writing notes in a blue book (exam booklet) before an examination.

• Allowing others to research and write assigned papers or do assigned projects, including use of commercial term paper services.

• Giving assistance to acts of academic misconduct/dishonesty.

• Fabricating data (all or in part).

• Submitting someone else’s work as your own, including artificial intelligence.

• Unauthorized use during an examination of any electronic devices such as cell phones, computers or other technologies to retrieve or send information.

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

• Copying another’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.

• Presenting another’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.

• Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the sources.

• Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.

Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the Internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

Obtaining Unfair Advantage is any activity that intentionally or unintentionally gives a student an unfair advantage in the student’s academic work over another student.

The following are some examples of obtaining an unfair advantage, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

• Stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining advance access to examination materials.

• Depriving other students of access to library materials by stealing, destroying, defacing, or concealing them.

• Retaining, using or circulating examination materials, which clearly indicate that they should be returned at the end of the exam.

• Intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student’s work.

Falsification of Records and Official Documents.

The following are some examples of falsification, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

• Forging signatures of authorization.

• Falsifying information on an official academic record.

• Falsifying information on an official document such as a grade report, letter of permission, drop/add form, I.D. card or other college document

What happens when a student is suspected of Academic Dishonesty?

Although any violation of academic integrity is a serious matter, it may be helpful to those responsible for enforcement of the policy to consider for each specific violation a hierarchy of severity of penalty. The disciplinary process is intended to be formative and thus penalties may vary according to severity of the incident. The following provides guidance when considering the enforcement process and the application of specific penalties.

Level I – Informal Process The first step in any alleged case of academic dishonesty will be for the faculty member to inform the student of the allegation and that steps will be taken to resolve the issue. Faculty will refer the student to the Academic Integrity Policy on the university website. Syllabi should refer students to this policy. A faculty member who has sufficient reason to believe a violation may have occurred on any work submitted for a grade must attempt to discuss this matter with the student as quickly as possible after the discovery of a possible violation. In discussing this matter with the student, the faculty member will present relevant evidence and argument supporting an academic integrity violation charge. If the student admits to the violation, the faculty member will determine a reasonable sanction. The professor has a range of sanctions in this step within the boundaries of the course, which are included on the course syllabus in which the dishonesty occurred.

Possible sanctions at this level might include but are not limited to:

• verbal and written reprimand

• an appropriate additional assignment

• lowering the grade on the assignment in which the dishonesty occurred

• failure for the course If the student accepts the sanctions and the infraction is resolved, the faculty member will fill out the Level I Academic Integrity Violation and Resolution form using the University’s electronic conduct reporting system, Maxient,* provide a copy to the student, and the incident is then closed. The faculty member, therefore, is required to fully document any actions involved in the integrity incident as well as the conversation and transaction with the student within 10 business days of the meeting with the student. Students who dispute the fairness of the sanction may appeal the decision of the faculty member and seek redress through Level II, the formal process. In addition, for sanctions such as lowering course grade or failing the student for the course, faculty must follow Level II as outlined below.

Level II Formal Process Level II resolution, when called for per the above begins with the faculty member’s filing of the Level II Academic Integrity Violation and Resolution Form. Within 5 business days of receiving their copy of the filed Level II Form, the student must notify the department chairperson of their appeal of that sanction, presenting a dated, written statement of appeal describing the specific basis for the appeal. All appeals must be stated in writing. The chair will schedule a meeting with the student to be held within 10 business days at which time the student may present any materials supporting their case for appeal of the previous outcome. The department chairperson will discuss the evidence with the student and try to resolve the issue. The department chair will submit electronically a Level II Academic Integrity Violation and Resolution Form documenting the incident’s facts and resolution, and penalty if one is issued, with copy to the student. If the issue is not resolved with the chairperson, and the student has new evidence with which to advance their appeal, and/or feels the severity of the sanction does not align with the academic dishonesty violation, the student must present a written request and statement to the dean of that college within 5 business days of the meeting with the chair and request discussion of their appeal. The student then proceeds in the same manner, presenting his or her case material as well as results of their appeal to the faculty member and the chair. The dean of the college in which the course is housed will add their Level II Academic Integrity Violation Resolution Report documenting the incident’s facts and resolution, and sanction if one is issued, with copy to the student. The dean of the college in which the course is housed will make the final determination of the appeal and the process ends here unless the dean recommends suspension or dismissal of the student from the university.

Level III – Formal Process When Dean Recommends Dismissal from the University Level III is required when the dean recommends that the student be suspended or dismissed from enrollment at William Paterson University. In these cases, within 5 business days the dean will refer the matter to the Student Conduct Office and the University Hearing Board will be convened to determine the outcome. Allegations and all documents (including prior offenses) involved in the incident will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for adjudication by the University Hearing Board. The University Hearing Board is the only body with the authority to suspend or expel students from William Paterson University. Refer to the Student Code of Conduct for further details: https://www.wpunj.edu/student-conduct/student-handbook/the-student-code-of-conduct.html *The University utilizes an electronic central system for monitoring, managing, and resolving student disciplinary matters at the University, including academic ones called Maxient, also utilized by the Office of Student Conduct. The Provost’s Office monitors the academic integrity portion of this system.