- Principle of Academic Integrity
Purpose and Scope
Definitions of Academic Integrity Violations
University-Wide Responsibility to Report Academic Integrity Violations
Procedures for Responding to a Suspected Academic Integrity Violation
Appeals of Decisions Reached by the faculty Member
University Committee on Academic Integrity (UCAI)
Academic Integrity Board (AIB)
Academic Integrity Appeal Board (AIAB)
Procedures for the AIB and the AIAB
Appeals of Decisions Reached by the Academic Integrity Board and Academic Integrity
I. Principle of Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is a cornerstone value of the intellectual community at East Carolina University. Academic integrity ensures that students derive optimal benefit from their educational experience and their pursuit of knowledge. Violating the principle of academic integrity damages the reputation of the university and undermines its educational mission. Without the assurance of integrity in academic work, including research, degrees from the university lose value, and the world beyond campus (graduate schools, employers, colleagues, neighbors, etc.) learns that it cannot trust credits or a diploma earned at ECU. For these reasons, academic integrity is required of every ECU student.
Maintaining the academic integrity of ECU is the responsibility of all members of the academic community. Faculty should ensure that submitted work accurately reflects the abilities of the individual student. Toward this end, faculty should—through both example and explicit instruction—instill in students a desire to maintain the university's standards of academic integrity and provide students with strategies that they can use to avoid intentional or accidental violation of the academic integrity policy.
II. Purpose and Scope
This document sets forth procedures to be followed for suspected academic integrity violations at ECU. It also details possible penalties for violations. Additional penalties for academic integrity violations may be established by academic departments, programs, colleges, and schools. Any such additional penalties must be established democratically by the faculty in a means compatible with school or college policies and/or unit codes.
In addition to the penalties outlined below, individual units may have additional ethical and behavioral expectations of their students, particularly at the graduate level, including expectations for the conduct of research, and may take corrective action according to their regulations or rules.
ECU's policy on research misconduct, as elaborated by the Division of Research and Graduate Studies (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/rgs/Research-Policies.cfm), is necessary to ensure university compliance with this UNC system policy as well as with state and federal laws. All faculty, staff and students should be familiar with it. The procedures for reporting, investigating and determining penalties in cases of academic integrity violations shall not supersede procedures for reporting, investigating and determining penalties for research misconduct.
A. Definitions of academic integrity violations
An academic integrity violation is defined as any activity that exhibits dishonesty in the educational process or that compromises the academic honor of the university. Examples of academic integrity violations include, but are not limited to, the following:
Cheating - Unauthorized aid or assistance or the giving or receiving of unfair advantage on any form of academic work.
Some examples of cheating (note that this is not an exhaustive list): Copying from another student's paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz or examination; using books, notes or other devices when these are not authorized; improperly obtaining tests or examinations; collaborating on academic work without authorization and/or without truthful disclosure of the extent of that collaboration; allowing or directing a substitute to take an examination.
Plagiarism - Copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and adopting the same as one's own original work.
Some examples of plagiarism (note that this is not an exhaustive list): Submitting a paper that has been purchased or downloaded from an essay-writing service; directly quoting, word for word, from any source, including online sources, without indicating that the material comes directly from that source; omitting a citation to a source when paraphrasing or summarizing another's work; submitting a paper written by another person as one's own work.
Falsification/Fabrication - The statement of any untruth, either spoken or written, regarding any circumstances related to academic work. This includes any untrue statements made with regard to a suspected academic integrity violation.
Some examples of falsification/fabrication (note that this is not an exhaustive list): making up data, research results, experimental procedures, internship or practicum experiences, or otherwise claiming academic-related experience that one has not actually had; inventing or submitting deceptive citations for the sources of one's information; submitting a false excuse for absence from class or other academic obligation.
Multiple submission - The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work for credit more than once without authorization from the faculty member who receives the later submission.
Some examples of multiple submission (note that this is not an exhaustive list): Submitting the same essay for credit in two courses without first receiving written permission; making minor revisions to an assignment that has already received credit in a course and submitting it in another class as if it were new work.
Violation assistance - Knowingly helping or attempting to help someone else in an act that constitutes an academic integrity violation.
Some examples of violation assistance (note that this is not an exhaustive list): Knowingly allowing another to copy answers during an examination or quiz; distributing test questions or examination materials without permission from the faculty member teaching the course; writing an essay, or substantial portions thereof, for another student to submit as his or her own work; taking an examination or test for another student.
Violation attempts - Attempting any act that, if completed, would constitute an academic integrity violation as defined herein. In other words, it does not matter if a student succeeds in carrying out any of the above violations—the fact that a violation was attempted is itself a violation of academic integrity.
The University of North Carolina Policy on Research Conduct defines research misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting the results.” More specifically,
Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. The research record is the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from the research inquiry and includes, but is not limited to research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, books, dissertations, and journal articles.
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
Because academic integrity violations are unfair to honest students and because they damage the reputation of the entire university, ignoring academically dishonest behavior is almost as problematic as actively participating in a violation.
- Faculty Member Responsibility
If a faculty member suspects that a student has violated the academic integrity policy in a manner severe enough to merit a grade reduction or other substantial academic penalty, he or she should, as a matter of academic duty, follow the procedures outlined below, making sure that the OSRR is aware of students who might be endangering the integrity of the university. Faculty are strongly encouraged to include a statement regarding this policy in their syllabi because it puts students on notice of the faculty member's policy and it alerts students to the importance of academic integrity to the ECU community. Sample policy language is available from the OSRR.
In some instances, a faculty member may deem it best to approach a potential matter involving academic dishonesty as a learning opportunity. In such cases, a faculty member may require that a student complete additional work in order to better understand the severe nature of academic dishonesty and to learn ways of avoiding future infractions. If at any point, however, the faculty member determines that a grade reduction or other substantial academic penalty is merited in the case, either as a result of the initial infraction or as a result of a student not sufficiently completing the additional work agreed to, she or he must follow the process outlined below, including reporting the situation to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) for its review and handling.
- Student Responsibility
Students are also expected to promote academic integrity in the ECU community, both by upholding it in their own work and by taking the responsibility to report any suspected violations. A student knowing of circumstances in which an academic integrity violation may have occurred or is likely to occur should bring this knowledge to the attention of a faculty member or the OSRR.
- University Community Member Responsibility
All other university community members are also expected to promote academic integrity in the ECU community, both by upholding it in their own work and by taking the responsibility to report any suspected violations. A university community member knowing of circumstances in which an academic integrity violation may have occurred or is likely to occur should bring this knowledge to the attention of a faculty member or the OSRR.
- OSRR Responsibility
When a suspected violation is reported to the OSRR, the office will, if applicable, first discuss the suspected violation with the faculty member(s) in charge of the course(s) involved. The OSRR, in consultation with the faculty member(s), will follow the procedures outlined in this policy.
C. Procedures for responding to a suspected academic integrity violation
These procedures apply to all students. If face-to-face meetings are not possible, alternative arrangements will be made as appropriate. Procedural guidelines for working with distance education students on issues of academic integrity are available from the OSRR.
For undergraduate students, if a suspected academic integrity violation occurs outside of a specific course, the case will be referred directly to the University Committee on Academic Integrity for an Academic Integrity Board hearing (see “University Committee on Academic Integrity” below).
For graduate students, if a suspected academic integrity violation occurs outside of a specific course, the case will be referred to the student's Faculty Advisor who will serve in the role of the faculty member in the steps that follow. In the event that no Faculty Advisor can be identified, the Graduate Program Director will serve in the role of the faculty member in the process outlined below.
In the case of a suspected violation reported directly to OSRR for which an instructor of record can be identified, that office will first consult with the faculty member(s) in charge of the course(s) affected. The faculty member will determine if he or she wishes to pursue an academic penalty for the student in her or his course. Following this consultation, if the suspected violation involves multiple students, the OSRR may decide to pursue additional academic penalties outside of that course by taking the case to the University Committee on Academic Integrity for an Academic Integrity Board (AIB) hearing (see below).
In the procedures outlined below, “faculty member” refers to the faculty member in charge of the course, or, in cases in which the suspected academic integrity violation occurs outside of a specific course at the graduate level, to the student's Faculty Advisor or Graduate Program Director.
Except where calendar day is specified, the word “day” in these procedures means any day except Saturday, Sunday, or an institutional holiday; in computing any period of time, the day on which notice is received is not counted, but the last day of the period being computed is counted.
Under documented, exceptional circumstances (e.g., the instructor of the course or the student involved will be traveling or otherwise unavailable for an extended period of time at some point during the steps described below), reasonable adjustments may be made as needed to the stipulated deadlines.
- Faculty member notifies student in writing of suspected violation and requests a meeting. When a faculty member believes an academic integrity violation has occurred in his or her class, the faculty member must request--in writing and sent by some method with evidence of dispatch (e.g., email from the faculty member's official ECU email account to the student's official ECU email account; hand-delivered letter accompanied by a brief form that the student signs to indicate the note was delivered; receipt-request postal mail)--that the student meet with him or her to discuss the suspected violation. This written notice must be sent to the student(s) involved within 7 calendar days of the time the suspected violation comes to the attention of the faculty member.
In the event that the violation is discovered or the notification sent during a time when classes are not being held, the 7 calendar days will be counted starting with the next day classes are held.
*Note that a student may not withdraw from a course while a suspected academic integrity violation is being investigated.
In the event that a faculty member discovers a suspected violation at a time immediately after which he or she will no longer be under contract with the university, the instructor should refer the case, including all evidence related to the suspected violation, to the University Committee on Academic Integrity for an Academic Integrity Board hearing. The AIB will review the evidence submitted through its normal hearing procedures and impose an appropriate academic penalty if a violation is found.
In all cases, a faculty member should not penalize the student's grade or impose any other substantial academic penalty unless and until it is determined, following the procedures below, that a violation has occurred.
- Student responds to notification.
- Upon delivery of the written notification from the faculty member, the student has 7 calendar days to contact the faculty member and schedule a meeting day and time. If the student fails to respond to faculty notification within 7 calendar days, the student will forfeit the opportunity to present his or her understanding of the situation to the faculty member.
- In the event of the student's lack of response, the faculty member may find the student responsible for the violation and may impose sanctions as outlined below. In this case, the faculty member will complete an Academic Integrity Violation Form (AIV form) and submit it to the OSRR within 18 calendar days of the date on which the notice of a suspected violation was sent to the student. The OSRR will notify the student, in writing, of the faculty member's decision and penalty within 7 calendar days of receiving the AIV form.
In the event that the student involved in the violation is a graduate student or is in a degree program that has additional penalties for or policies regarding academic integrity violations, the OSRR will also submit a copy of the AIV form to the appropriate program administrator. The AIV form will be kept for 8 years in the OSRR, unless the student has been suspended or expelled, in which case the disciplinary record is kept permanently.
- Initial meeting occurs.
- Scheduling-Theinitialmeetingbetweenthefacultymemberandthestudentsuspectedof an academic integrity violation should be held within 18 calendar days of the time that the suspected violation has come to the attention of the faculty member.
- Nonparticipatingobserver(s)-Thestudentandthefacultymembermayeachhavea nonparticipating observer at the initial meeting. The faculty member's nonparticipating observer should be another faculty member from the department. The chair of the department should be notified of the meeting. The student may select a faculty member or student who is not involved in the suspected violation. The observer(s) is/are to watch the procedures impartially and take careful notes for reference in the event of an appeal of the decision made by the faculty member (see Appeals of Decisions, below).
- Meeting procedures - At the meeting, the faculty member will explain the reasons for his or her suspicion of an academic integrity violation. The student will be given the opportunity to respond and to explain any circumstances that he or she believes the faculty member needs to consider with regard to the situation.
- Faculty member determines outcomes of the initial meeting.
One of the following outcomes of the initial meeting will be communicated to the student within 10 calendar days of the meeting:
No violation found - nopenalty
If the faculty member believes that no violation occurred, he or she will impose no penalty.
He or she will notify the student in writing of this decision, and no AIV form will be submitted to the OSRR.
Violation found—academic penalty assigned by faculty member.
If the faculty member believes there has been a violation, he or she will assign an appropriate academic penalty, including, for instance, reducing the grade on the assignment or reducing the course grade. The faculty member's penalty can be as severe as failure for the course and a grade of "XF" recorded on the student's transcript to indicate that failure in the course was the result of an academic integrity violation. The "X" designation must remain on the student's transcript for at least one year and will be removed from the official transcript after one year only if the student has completed the academic integrity training module and obtained the approval of the Director of the OSRR. The approval of the Director of the OSRR must be obtained through the submission of a formal written request for removal of the "X" designation. Courses in which a student receives a grade of "XF" are not eligible for grade replacement even if the "X" is removed from the official transcript with the approval of the Director of the OSRR. In all cases, courses for which a student receives an "XF" will be factored into the student's GPA, even if the "X" is removed from the official transcript and the course is retaken.
The faculty member will impose an academic penalty by completing an Academic Integrity Violation Form (AIV form, available from the OSRR). The completed AIV form will be submitted by the faculty member to the OSRR within 10calendar days after the initial meeting. The OSRR will notify the student, in writing, of the faculty member's decision and penalty within 7 calendar days of receiving the AIV form.
In the event that the student involved in the violation is a graduate student or is in a degree program that has additional penalties for or policies regarding academic integrity violations, the OSRR will also submit a copy of the AIV form to the appropriate program administrator.
The AIV form will be kept for 8 years in the OSRR, unless the student has been suspended or expelled, in which case the disciplinary record is kept permanently.
Violation found - severe enough for referral to University Committee on Academic Integrity (UCAI, see below) for an Academic Integrity Board (AIB) hearing.
If the faculty member believes that a failing grade in the course alone is inadequate disciplinary action given the severity of the violation, he or she may recommend to the OSRR that the case be forwarded to the UCAI to pursue further action (see below). The OSRR will inform the student of the referral to the UCAI within 7 calendar days of receiving the faculty member's recommendation. Note that the role of the AIB hearing in this case is not to review the faculty member's assignment of an academic penalty but to determine if additional sanctions should be assigned.
Students with repeated violations - If, upon receiving an AIV form from a faculty member, the OSRR discovers that the student has prior academic integrity violations in his or her file, the case will be referred to the UCAI for an AIB hearing to consider more severe academic penalties. If a student is suspended or expelled as a result of an academic integrity violation, a record of the penalty will be kept permanently in the student's file.
Violations involving multiple students - The OSRR will receive all reports of violations involving multiple students (for example, paper mills or cheating rings). Faculty members, students, and community members should, in all cases, report suspected violations involving multiple students to the OSRR. In the event that the OSRR receives credible reports of multi-student violations, that office reserves the right to refer the case to the University Committee on Academic Integrity for an AIB hearing.
D. Appeals of Decisions Reached by the Faculty Member
Conditions for Appeal
If a faculty member imposes a grade penalty or other substantial academic penalty for a first violation of the academic integrity policy, the student may only appeal the decision to the
Academic Integrity Appeal Board (AIAB, see below) if one of the following applies:
A student may appeal a faculty member's imposition of a penalty even if the faculty member has not properly followed the steps outlined above. In such a case, the faculty member should, upon receiving notice that a student has appealed an academic penalty imposed as a result an academic integrity violation, fill out the AIV form indicating the violation and the academic penalty imposed, submit the form to the OSRR, and participate in the appeal process as outlined below.
Process for Appeals
Students wishing to appeal a faculty member's imposition of a penalty for an academic integrity violation must complete the "Academic Integrity Violation Appeal Form," available from the OSRR. Upon receipt of the completed appeal form, a three-member panel, consisting of one administrator from the OSRR, and one trained student and one trained faculty member from the University Committee on Academic Integrity (UCAI, see below), will review the appeal request to determine if it is appropriate to forward to the Academic Integrity Appeal Board (AIAB, see below). The student and faculty member participating in this panel will not be eligible to participate in any subsequent hearing of the AIAB. If the three-member panel determines that there is no clear basis for appeal in the student's request, it will report this finding to the student, who may, if desired, revise his or her appeal request and submit it for reconsideration. Request for appeal through the "Academic Integrity Violation Appeal Form" may only be revised and resubmitted once for each academic integrity case. If a student's request for an appeal is found to be without sufficient basis for a second time, the faculty member's initial academic penalty shall stand and no other avenues of appeal may be pursued
Time limit on Appeals
A student wishing to appe/al an academic integrity penalty must submit the "Academic Integrity Violation Appeal Form" to the OSRR within 7 calendar days after receiving notification of the decision made by the faculty member. Failure to do so will result in the faculty member's initial academic penalty being the final, and no further appeal will be possible.
E. University Committee on Academic Integrity (UCAI) Composition/Membership
Facultymembers-Sixteen faculty members, at least six of whom should have graduate faculty status, elected for three-year staggered terms by the Faculty Senate.
Student members–Sixteen students, at least six of whom should be graduate students, elected by and from among the members of the Student Conduct Board. These students shall serve for a year and may be reelected for one additional year.
The Director of the OSRR, or designee, shall serve as administrative officer of the committee, but shall not participate in hearings.
F. Academic Integrity Board (AIB)
When a case is referred directly to the UCAI (for example, in the case of repeat violations, multi- student violations, or suspected violations at the undergraduate level that occur outside of a specific
course), a panel of five UCAI members—three faculty members and two students—will be selected to serve as the AIB for the case. If the case involves possible violations by a graduate student, every attempt should be made to ensure that all three faculty members on the board have graduate faculty status, but in all cases at least two of the three faculty members must have graduate faculty status. In cases involving possible violations by graduate students, the student members of the board must be graduate students. The AIB is charged with determining whether a student has violated this policy and, if appropriate, assigning sanctions. The AIB will select a chair from among its faculty membership. All members of the AIB may vote on the selection of a chair.
G. Academic Integrity Appeal Board (AIAB)
In the case of appeals of decisions made by a faculty member or by the AIB, a panel of five UCAI members—three faculty members and two students—will be selected to serve as the AIAB. In the case of appeals to decisions reached by the AIB, the UCAI members hearing the appeal should not have ruled on the initial case. If the appeal involves possible violations by a graduate student, every attempt should be made to ensure that all three faculty members on the appeal board have graduate faculty status, but in all cases at least two of the three faculty members must have graduate faculty status. In cases involving possible violations by graduate students, the student members of the appeal board must be graduate students. The AIAB will select a chair from among its faculty membership. All members of the AIAB may vote on the selection of a chair.
Individuals coming before either the AIB or the AIAB may challenge the participation of any panel member due to his/her previous knowledge, experience, belief, or emotion that would influence decision making either positively or negatively. The challenging party will be asked to provide specific reasons for the challenge. The Chair of the UCAI along with the Director of the OSRR, or designee, will determine whether the identified panel member should be removed. If the removal of a panel member results in less than five panel members being able to serve, parties will be given the option to continue with the existing panel or to reschedule the hearing for review by a full panel.
I. Procedures for the AIB and the AIAB
The Director of the OSRR, or designee, will notify the parties involved of a meeting of the AIB or the AIAB (whichever board is appropriate) within 10 calendar days of receiving an appeal that has been forwarded by the three-member appeal review panel or notice of a case that requires an AIB hearing. The faculty member (if appropriate), the student, witnesses, Student Advisors, and the Student Case Presenter (see below) shall be provided not less than 10 calendar days' notification of the date, time, and place of the meeting. Appropriate waivers of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) must be obtained prior to any hearing. f a grade for the student in the course must be submitted, the faculty member shall record a grade of incomplete, pending a decision by the board.
Those who may be present at a hearing include
The student, who has the right to be accompanied by a Student Advisor
The faculty member, who has the right to be accompanied by a Student Advisor
A Student Case Presenter, who gives an extensive and detailed summary of the case and presents materials relevant to the case
The Director of the OSRR (nonparticipating)
Witnesses for the faculty member or student
- Any other person called by the chair
Attorneys are not permitted to participate unless the student is facing pending criminal charges stemming from the incident in question. In such situations, the attorney may only advise his/her client. The attorney is not permitted to ask questions or present information. The student will assume all responsibility for attorney fees.
Should the student or the faculty member (if appropriate) fail to appear without prior approval of the administrative officer, the AIB or AIAB will proceed with an absentia hearing.
Detailed procedures for AIB and AIAB hearings are available from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
A majority of the appropriate board will decide the issue. The chair will vote only in the case of a tie.
The Director of the OSRR, or designee, will serve as administrative officer and is responsible for maintaining accurate and complete records of the proceedings.
The Director of the OSRR, or designee, will notify each party in writing, and by some method with evidence of receipt (e.g., hand delivery letter or via receipt-request postal mail), of the decision of the board within 10 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing.
In the event that the student involved in the violation is a graduate student or is in a degree program that has additional penalties for or policies regarding academic integrity violations, the OSRR will also submit a copy of the AIV form to the appropriate program administrator.
Possible Actions by the AIB and AIAB
- Determination that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the charge or charges. In the case of
an appeal of a decision reached by a faculty member, the academic penalty imposed by the faculty member will be removed. When this action is taken, in order to protect both the student and the faculty member, continuation in the class(es) and other related issues must be resolved by the unit administrator in consultation with the student and the faculty member. If the department chair is involved in the case, the dean will resolve any issues. In the event that the faculty member or student wishes to appeal the unit administrator's decision, final authority rests with the dean. Any special arrangements for continuation in the course (e.g., switching the student into another section of the course for the remainder of the semester, arrangements for outside assessment/grading of student work, etc.) must be agreed to in writing and kept by the dean, unit administrator, and student for 8 years.
- Determination that the evidence is sufficient to support the charge or charges. The board's actions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Sustain, following a student appeal, the academic penalty imposed by the faculty member or the AIB.
- Issue, following a student appeal, a revised academic penalty if the initial penalty is deemed too severe for the violation. This action may only be taken in cases in which specific penalties for specific violations are not clearly stated in the course syllabus. In all cases in which there is sufficient evidence to support the charges and the specific penalties for violations are clearly stated in the course syllabus, those penalties will be upheld.
- Recommend, in cases where a suspected violation has been directly referred to the AIB, that the faculty member(s) involved assign a failing grade for the course or some portion thereof.
- Recommend that the Provost, in accordance with policies and procedures of the UNC policy manual, impose disciplinary suspension from the University for a designated period of time.
- Recommend that the Chancellor, in accordance with policies and procedures oft he UNC policy manual, impose expulsion from the University. The academic transcript records the expulsion permanently.
- Recommend to appropriate offices or units that a degree be revoked should a violation be discovered after graduation.
- Recommend to appropriate offices or units that the student be removed from employment as a graduate assistant.
- Recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from his or her graduate program.
- Recommend to appropriate offices or units that the student be required to attend a period of counseling with a member of the university staff or a counseling professional of the student's choice and at the student's expense. It will be the responsibility of the student to provide evidence to the OSRR of having fulfilled this requirement.
- Recommend to appropriate offices or units that the student be prohibited from officially representing the university in any capacity (as a member of an athletic team, as a member of a campus organization or group, etc.)
- Assign, and ensure the completion of, an educational task.
J. Appeals of decisions reached by the Academic Integrity Board and Academic Integrity Appeal Board
The student may appeal an original decision of AIB to the AIAB following the “Process for Appeals” explained above.
With the exception of cases in which a student is being expelled from the university, the decisions of the AIAB are final, and no other avenues of appeal may be pursued. If the student is being expelled from the university, s/he has a right to appeal the decision to the Chancellor, the East Carolina University Board of Trustees, and finally to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
K. Annual Reports
At the end of each academic year, the University Committee on Academic Integrity shall prepare a report that summarizes its work. This annual report shall be submitted early in the fall semester to the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association Legislature, and the Academic Council.