Academic Integrity Code

I. Preamble

Absolute academic integrity is expected of all students and faculty members of Alfred State. Students must in no way misrepresent their work, fraudulently or unfairly advance their academic status, or in any way help other students commit acts of academic dishonesty, and faculty members must fairly evaluate academic work. This code defines rights and responsibilities relating to academic integrity and outlines the procedure for dealing with allegations of academic misconduct. It also outlines the procedure for student academic grievances against faculty members. This code shall be communicated to the college community by being included in the faculty handbook, the college website, and student and faculty orientation information. The college website contains the most current version of the policies and procedures governing the college's academic integrity code.

II. Responsibility

A. Students' Responsibility

1. Students are responsible for the academic work they submit (including papers, examinations, lab reports, etc.), and that work should be completed honestly and according to the requirements and restrictions for academic work in each course. Following is a list of some representative examples of academic misconduct, though it is not comprehensive:

  • Plagiarism: the representation of someone else's words, ideas, or work as one's own. This includes quoting, paraphrasing, or condensing another's work within one's own without giving proper attribution, or purchasing or receiving another's work and submitting it as one's own. When quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing, students must identify the extent to which a source has been used and must cite with precision. This applies not only to written work, but also computer programs, architectural and other designs, photography, video, art, and other media.
  • Dishonesty in Examinations: unauthorized use of notes, study aids, electronic or other equipment during an examination; unauthorized possession of examinations; copying or looking at another individual's examination; taking or passing information to another student during an examination; taking an exam for another student; allowing another student to take one's examination.
  • Fabrication of Data: unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation during an academic exercise; inventing data for a laboratory exercise or report.
  • Inappropriate Assistance: unauthorized use of any study aids, equipment, tutoring, or another's work during an academic exercise; unauthorized collaboration on projects, homework, take-home examinations, or other work. Students are responsible for clarifying with instructors what forms of collaboration or assistance are acceptable for each assignment.

2. Students shall not knowingly assist others in acts of academic misconduct.

3. Students shall refrain from any action that would violate the basic principles of this code, in fact or intent.

4. Students knowing of a violation of the code that has occurred, or is likely to occur, are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the responsible faculty member.

B. Faculty Responsibility

  1. Faculty members shall develop and maintain an academic atmosphere conducive to the spirit of free inquiry together with academic integrity, and they shall evaluate student work with fairness and consistency.
  2. Faculty members shall inform the students of special regulations applying to academic integrity in the work in each course. They shall make clear to what extent collaborative work or the exchange of aid or information is acceptable.
  3. Faculty members who feel a student is drifting into questionable practices shall try, by constructive admonishment, to improve the student's understanding of academic responsibility.
  4. The faculty reserves the right to take instructive measures in addressing student performance as it relates to violations of academic integrity. For instance, faculty may choose to counsel a student, write a written warning, fail the student on the assignment or the course, or enter a letter grade reduction on the assignment or the course as a result of an infraction.
  5. Faculty members, in cases where a student violation of the academic integrity code has occurred and where punitive action is considered or has taken place, shall inform the chair of the academic integrity committee and the course department chair in writing. If the complainant is not the instructor of the course where the alleged violation occurred, a copy of the written complaint must additionally be submitted to the instructor of that course.
  6. Multiple offenses: A copy of this decision will be centrally stored with the chair of the academic integrity committee. When the chair determines that a student has been reported for a second or third violation, that complaint will be referred to a hearing panel for a decision.

III. Committee for Academic Integrity

There shall be a student-faculty committee vested with responsibility for action in support of the principles stated in this code. The committee has the responsibility for developing policy and procedures which will encourage and maintain a climate of academic integrity in the college community. This committee is also responsible for reviewing and recommending revisions for the improvement of the academic integrity code and the student academic grievance procedure to the Faculty Senate.

A. Responsibilities

  1. Members of the committee will serve as the hearing panel for adjudicating complaints of academic dishonesty forwarded by an instructor or academic chair. It will make its recommendations to the vice president for Academic Affairs.
  2. Members of the committee (who did not serve on the hearing panel) will be selected to serve as the appellate board for written appeals submitted by student charged with a violation of academic dishonesty and found responsible.
  3. Members of the committee will also serve as the hearing panel for adjudicating student grievances against faculty members. It will make its recommendations to the vice president for Academic Affairs.
  4. The chair of the committee will serve as the non-voting chair of the hearing panels, draft the recommendations of the hearing committee and send it out to the necessary parties, maintain the repository for violations of the code and call hearings for second and third violations, train new members in the hearing procedures, and serve as liaison between the committee and the college.

B. Organization

  1. The committee for academic integrity shall be elected by the faculty and shall consist of twelve members of the teaching faculty (4 from SMET, 4 from SAS, and 4 from SAP) and six students (2 from SMET, 2 from SAS, and 2 from SAP recommended by the Student Senate and approved by the vice president for Academic Affairs). The committee chair shall be a member of the faculty and is elected by majority vote by the faculty committee members. Members of the committee must attend a session organized by the chair on rendering disciplinary decisions, due process, and procedural issues prior to serving on a hearing panel or appellate board. Hearing panels and appellate boards shall be formed out of members of the committee.
  2. Terms for faculty and the committee chair will be three years. Terms for students will be one year. Terms are renewable.
  3. In addition, the vice president for Academic Affairs, the vice president for Student Affairs, and the designated dean shall be ex officio members of the committee.
  4. The committee chair shall serve as non-voting chair of the hearing panels and appellate boards and shall be responsible for convening hearings (and appellate boards), ensuring fair process throughout the hearing and appeal processes, drafting recommendations of the panels, and forwarding those recommendations to the appropriate parties.

IV. Procedures For Academic Integrity Hearings

An academic integrity hearing shall be called as a result of a violation if i) it is requested by a faculty member to adjudicate a student's alleged violation of the code, ii) the accused student disputes the charge, or iii) the violation is the student's second or third. This hearing will be called within ten (10) college calendar days of the committee chair's receipt of the report of the violation or the notice of the student's dispute. (A "college calendar day" is understood to be any day the college is in session—excluding, thereby, recesses and vacations.) The following procedures outline the composition of hearing panels for incidents of academic dishonesty, the rights of students accused of violations of academic dishonesty, the hearing process, definitions and decision-making procedures for sanctions, and the appeal procedures.

A. Hearing Composition

  1. The committee chair shall form a hearing panel comprised of five members: three faculty (one member from each school) and two students (at least one from the school where the complaint occurred). The committee chair shall serve as non-voting chair.
  2. Each member shall have one vote.
  3. The chair of the hearing panel/appellate board shall maintain written records of the hearing and final findings of the body. Deliberations in rendering disciplinary decisions (whether at the hearing level or appellate level) are private and confidential and, as such, no written records will be maintained of these proceedings.

B. Notice of Complaint and Rights of Students Accused

  1. The complainant and the student charged with a violation of academic dishonesty shall receive (by registered letter or other verifiable means), at least two days in advance, written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing and confidential copies of all background materials which are being furnished to hearing board. The notice shall include a statement of the student's rights, including
  • The right to be accompanied by a faculty or staff member of the college community to serve as "adviser." Adviser is permitted to advise the student in the organization of his/her thoughts and presentation of materials and can advise the student directly in the hearing. (Adviser may not address the hearing board or any other individuals providing testimony and may not respond to any questions for the respondent. Advisers may be present at hearings only. Members of the press and attorneys are prohibited from serving as advisers).
  • The right to be present when charges and evidence are presented to the committee, to present an explanation of his/her situation or behavior at the hearing, and to ask individuals to present information on his/her behalf.
  • The right to present witnesses on questions of fact.
  • The right to receive prompt written notice of the hearing board's/appellate board's decisions/ recommendations.
  • The right of access to copies of the records of the proceedings of the hearing.

2. All other principals in the matter shall appear when requested to give testimony and/or answer questions of the committee.
3. Should the student charged fail to appear at the scheduled time and place, the hearing will be held in his/her absence and the hearing panel will render a decision.

C. Order of Business for Academic Integrity Hearings

Unless otherwise determined by the chair of the hearing panel, the hearing will generally follow the order described below:

  1. Members of the hearing panel introduce themselves and ask all present to do the same.
  2. The panel chair briefly reviews the hearing procedures as outlined here.
  3. The charges are read by the chair.
  4. The complainant will first present his/her testimony. Members of the hearing panel may question the complainant at any point during this presentation. The respondent will have the opportunity to question the complainant after these statements have concluded.
  5. When the complainant has finished, the complainant's incident witnesses will each present statements, with the hearing panel and the respondent permitted to ask questions.
  6. When the complainant has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present, the respondent will be given the opportunity to present his/her testimony and incident witnesses' testimony as in 4) and 5) above. Again, both the hearing panel and the complainant will be permitted to question the respondent and his/her incident witnesses. Character witnesses are not permitted at any disciplinary hearing. Respondents may elect to submit written character references for the hearing panel to review as a part of their deliberations.
  7. When the respondent has produced the evidence he/she wishes to present, the hearing panel may ask further questions of either party or recall witnesses. The hearing panel may call brief recesses at any time to discuss the proceedings, and may ask further questions upon return from any such recess.
  8. The chair may also call witnesses, including expert witnesses from the college staff, to aid the hearing panel in its consideration of the case.
  9. When the hearing panel's questions have concluded, the chair should inform the respondent that a written decision will be sent to him/her. The hearing will then be adjourned. The members of the panel will meet in executive session to deliberate and to render a decision. Decisions are rendered by majority vote.
  10. The panel chair will forward the panel's recommendations to the vice president for Academic Affairs within three (3) college calendar days, with copy to the parties involved in the grievance:
  • the student
  • the faculty member
  • faculty dean and department chair
  • student dean and department chair
  • student's adviser
  • other individuals deemed appropriate

11. The vice president's decision, rendered within seven (7) college calendar days following receipt of the recommendation, shall be transmitted to all parties involved.

D. Description of Sanctions for Hearing Panels

Hearing panels may recommend that the vice president for Academic Affairs impose one of the following sanctions for violations of academic dishonesty:

  1. Academic Integrity Warning: An official written notification to the student that includes a warning that further violations of the academic integrity code will result in a more severe sanction.
  2. Grade Reduction in the Course: Student receives a grade reduction in the course upon completion of course work at the end of the term.
  3. Academic Integrity Probation: Student is placed on a disciplinary status in which future violations of the code will result in his/her suspension or dismissal from the college.
  4. Special Failing Grade: Student receives a special grade of “F#” that indicates a failure due to academic dishonesty. In some cases, students may be allowed to convert the F# grade to a standard F grade with the successful completion of an education program.* Students with an "F#" on their transcripts may not serve as officers of any recognized student organization, nor represent the college in any varsity sports, student contests, or arts performances. Only the vice president for academic affairs may assign this grade.
  5. Suspension: Suspension prohibits the student from attending Alfred State and from being present on college property for the duration of the sanction, which shall occur for a minimum of the remainder of a semester and up to an indefinite period of time (determined by when the student has successfully completed all the terms and special conditions outlined in the disciplinary decision). An explanatory notation will be included on the student's transcript. If required by the sanction, students who have been suspended must petition for re-enrollment through the vice president of Academic Affairs or designee. Additional conditions for readmission may be specified.

    *Education program: Students receiving sanctions ranging from academic integrity warning to suspension may also be required to participate in an education program. Education programs are recommended by the hearing panels, assigned by the vice president for academic affairs, and overseen by the academic integrity committee chair or designee and the department chair of the course in which the dishonesty took place. Assignments can include a requirement for a student to attend a workshop, seminar, or course on an issue related to academic integrity; complete a community service project; or present a paper on a topic related to academic integrity.

  6. Expulsion: Expulsion prohibits the student from attending Alfred State and from entering the college property. Expulsion will be permanently noted on the student's official education record. A decision of expulsion terminates the person's status as an enrolled student with no opportunity for reinstatement.g. An expelled student may not enter onto any part of the campus without specific authorization from the vice president for Academic Affairs. Persons who reside on campus shall remove their belongings from their place of residence within 72 hours of notice that the penalty of expulsion has been rendered.

E. Hearing Panels' Range of Sanctions

In a desire for hearing panels to hold repeat offenders to a higher standard of behavior, the following sanctions will be applied to first, second and third offenses.

    1. First Offense: Penalties may range from academic integrity warning to suspension. In cases associated with a criminal act, a sanction of expulsion may be imposed.
    2. Second Offense: Penalties may range from special failing grade to expulsion.
    3. Third Offense: Expulsion.

F. Appeals of Decisions

Students sanctioned by the vice president, based on recommendations of the hearing panel, may, under circumstances described below, appeal the decision to an appellate board of the academic integrity committee. Appellate boards shall be comprised of two faculty members (one from the school where the complaint was lodged) and one student from the committee.

To initiate an appeal, the student must submit a written request for an appeal within five (5) business days of the vice president's decision. The college can only accept appeals from the respondent. It cannot accept appeals from third parties (e.g., parents, faculty, staff, and friends). The request must be submitted to the chair of the hearing panel, and the chair shall convene a three-member appellate board of the committee. This board shall be comprised of members of the committee who did not hear the original case.

The appellate board will review the facts of the case and the merits of the appeal. The chair of the appellate board will notify the student in writing of the decision of the appellate board within three (3) college calendar days of the appellate hearing, and the final decision will be rendered by the vice president for Academic Affairs within five (5) college calendar days subsequent the receipt of that recommendation. This action shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.

Appellate boards do not rehear cases heard before the original hearing board. They will meet privately to determine if any of the appeal criteria noted below is applicable. Appellate boards do not meet with the complainant or the student charged, but they may ask the non-voting chair to further fact-find if deemed necessary.

The scope of the appeal shall be limited to the following:

(a) Question of Fact: Students may appeal on "questions of fact" by introducing new evidence that would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Evidence that comes forward that was not previously known by the accused shall be considered new evidence. Evidence that was withheld by a student shall not constitute a question of fact, nor is it to be considered upon appeal.

(b) Question of Procedure: Appeals will be considered on the basis of "questions of procedure" by demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established in this document were breached and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.

(c) Severity of Sanction: Students may appeal the "severity of sanction" that has been imposed by presenting a statement explaining why they feel the penalty is too severe.

If the appellate board determines that a question of fact or procedural violation has occurred that significantly influenced the decision of the hearing panel, they can determine that the case must be reheard. If they find the sanction too severe, they may choose to recommend reducing the original sanction. If no just cause is demonstrated to exist, the chair of the appellate board shall notify the student in writing of why the appeal was denied.

G. Confidentiality

All discussions that occur in hearings and in private deliberations are considered part of the student's educational record (FERPA) and, as such, these records shall remain confidential and shall only be released to "need to know" parties (as determined by the chair of the hearing panel) and to external entities with the student's written consent. "Need to know" parties (e.g., the academic department chair) are required to notify students if they "re-disclose" these records to other members of the college.

V. Procedures For Student Academic Grievances

These procedures are intended to provide the student with a just and efficient method for investigation and recommendation of resolution of an academic grievance concerning a faculty member. An academic grievance shall include, but not be restricted to, a complaint by a student that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or inequitable application of the regulations by the instructor or the department chair.

A. Steps for Resolving an Academic Grievance:

  1. Step 1: The student initiating the complaint shall contact the professor involved and attempt to resolve the grievance within 14 college calendar days from the date on which the student first had knowledge of, or reasonably should have known of, the occurrence of the inequity or injustice. The professor shall respond to the student regarding the concern within seven college calendar days. (A "college calendar day" is understood to be any day the college is in session—excluding, thereby, recesses and vacations.)
  2. Step 2: If the student is not satisfied with the response of the professor at Step 1, he/she may appeal the Step 1 response within 14 college calendar days after the receipt of the response. A Step 2 appeal is made to the course department chair. The complaint must be submitted in writing, must clearly and concisely state the facts that initiated the complaint, and must also recommend a resolution of the grievance. A written response is to be made by the chair within seven college calendar days. The chair is to provide copies of the appeal and response to the faculty member involved and to the chair of the academic integrity committee. If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved by this action, the student may proceed to Step 3.
  3. Step 3: If the response from the department chair does not resolve the grievance, the student may appeal in writing to the academic integrity committee chair within 14 college calendar days following the response from the department chair. The committee shall schedule a student academic grievance hearing within 10 college calendar days of the receipt of the appeal and inform the student and professor involved of its recommendation within 14 college calendar days of the hearing. The committee recommendations shall be forwarded to the vice president for academic affairs (or designated representative) for review and action. Notification of the vice president's action shall occur within seven (7) college calendar days of the committee's recommendation.
  4. Alternate Step 3: In instances where the choice of courses for the coming semester depends on the outcome of a grievance, a step three hearing may be scheduled for the period of time between semesters, if both parties agree. When classes are not in session, the grievance may be heard at step three by a group composed of the vice president for academic affairs and one faculty member and one student from the academic integrity committee, if available. The hearing will be conducted in the usual manner with both parties present. The resolution will be the decision of the vice president for academic affairs. There is no further appeal of the decision of the vice president for Academic Affairs.

B. Procedures for Student Academic Grievance Hearings

Procedures for student academic grievance hearings are the same as those described under Section IV, Procedures for Academic Integrity Hearings. 

*Last updated and approved by Faculty Senate on May 21, 2013 to become effective as of the Fall 2013 semester.