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Academic Honesty Policy

Approved by Academic Policy Committee 9.12.18

Introduction

MMC fosters an academic community; students and faculty work together to create a learning experience that imparts knowledge and forms character – the hallmarks of a university culture. To achieve this, the College adheres to a policy of Academic Honesty – one that teaches students to complete tasks in a thoughtful, honest manner so as to breed a positive ideal of self-knowledge within each student. It is through this quality that students understand their true capabilities. This policy instructs students to honor their colleagues by producing work that is based on their own capabilities so fellow students receive their equal consideration in the eyes of their professor. Honest work—on the computer or in writing—is important in the development of the academic character. MMC desires for each student to finish each course, each program, with a developed sense of self, a pride in the integrity of their own work toward their own level of achievement; this will create a true community of dedicated, life-long learners.
 

Categories of Academic Dishonesty:

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, collusion, and willful misrepresentation. 

  1. Plagiarism means to present as one’s own the work of someone else, or the attempt “to blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source” (Council of Writing Program Administrators, January 2003, http://wpacouncil.org/node/9 ). Examples of plagiarism include:  submitting work copied in part or whole from other students; submitting work copied in whole or part without proper attribution from the Internet, books, or articles; submitting work in part or whole purchased from or prepared by another person. Students can avoid the risk of plagiarism by clearly attributing and indicating the source of any idea or wording that they did not invent. 
  2. Cheating means doing something to gain an unfair advantage over other students. Examples of cheating include:  using or attempting to use unauthorized notes or technology during an exam; copying from another student during an exam or in an assignment when not explicitly permitted to do so; repurposing an assignment from one class in part or whole for another class.
  3. Collusion means collaborating with another person in an unauthorized fashion. Examples of collusion include: allowing another student to look at or copy your work; preparing an assignment for another student to submit as their own; allowing another person to do one’s work.
  4. Willful Misrepresentation means intending to deceive. Examples of willful misrepresentation include: fabricating data; forging records or official documents; and lying about reasons for absence or late work in order to gain accommodation.

 

Notifying the Student

Faculty who suspect academic dishonesty must contact the student and offer a discussion (in person or via phone or email) about their concern within ten business days of detecting the academic dishonesty. The student is allowed at least five business days to respond. In cases where the faculty member concludes, as a result of this discussion, that there is not, in fact, evidence of academic dishonesty, no further action is required on the part of the faculty member. If the student does not reply or fails to be available for such a discussion, the faculty member will proceed with a report.
 

Reporting the Student:

All faculty (including part-time and full-time) must report all cases of academic dishonesty to Academic Affairs using the MMC website no matter how they choose to resolve the case. Faculty should identify cases of academic dishonesty as soon as possible but no later than within a month of the incident.
 

Sanctions

In the case of academic dishonesty, the instructor has the authority to, but is not obligated to, fail the student for either or both the assignment and the course; however, the penalty should be proportionate to the severity of the offense. In consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the instructor may also recommend other disciplinary action in accordance with college policy. However, in all cases, whether such action is taken or not, violations of the policy will be recorded in an Academic Integrity file maintained by Academic Affairs. Students with serious or multiple violations may be subject to additional sanctions, as determined by the Academic Review Committee.

Please Note: Students found in violation of the Academic Honesty Policy will not be permitted to drop the course. If a student is found in violation of policy and the faculty member or Academic Review Committee sanctions an “F” grade for the class, the student’s transcript will reflect a letter grade of “F” If a student should process a withdrawal form (including a medical withdrawal) while the case is pending, the grade will be changed to an “F” grade.
 

The Academic Integrity File:

When faculty report violations, each report goes into a central Academic Integrity file. Each reported student will receive written notification that a report will be placed in the file; the student’s academic advisor will be copied on this notification. The file will be placed under limited access and housed within Academic Affairs. Under most circumstances, only the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Dean of Students, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will have access to the file. Information about individual cases will be made available to the Academic Review Committee on an as-needed basis. Records in the file are subject to FERPA guidelines.

Academic Affairs will take the following actions when notices are placed in the file:

1st violation: Students will be sent a written notice requiring that they have an in-person meeting with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within thirty days. Students who do not respond to a request for a meeting will have a hold placed on their record until such meeting takes place.  If the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines that a first violation is particularly egregious, they may refer the incident to the Academic Review Committee for consideration.

2nd or greater violation: Students will be sent a written notice requiring that their case has been referred to the Academic Review Committee. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will explain the process to the student.  The Associate Dean will then schedule a hearing by the Academic Review Committee and communicate the logistics to the student.
 

Academic Review Committee

The Academic Review Committee will convene under the following circumstances:

  1. When a student is cited for a second or greater instance of academic dishonesty with the placement of a notice in the Academic Integrity file, the case will automatically be referred to the Academic Review Committee for review within sixty business days of the placement of such notice.
  2. When a student is referred by the Associate Dean for a particularly egregious first violation, the Academic Review Committee will hold a hearing within sixty business days of the placement of notice.
  3. Students may request a hearing of the Academic Review Committee to appeal a notice being placed in the Academic Integrity file.
     

Academic Review Committee Membership

The Academic Review Committee consists of five voting members of the faculty. An alternate member will be appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs if a committee member needs to recuse him/herself due to conflict of interest or is not available for a deliberation. In each case, all members participating in this process are expected to maintain the highest level of discretion and confidentiality regarding all proceedings and findings.

Process for Appeals

  1. A student may request a hearing with the Academic Review Committee within thirty business days (as determined by the date on the notification letter) of a notice being placed in the Academic Integrity File.
  2. The Chair of the Academic Review Committee must schedule a hearing within sixty business days after receiving a student’s request for an appeal. The hearing itself must take place prior to the end of the following semester. All efforts should be made to guarantee that the hearings take place in a timely manner.

The Academic Review Committee has the following responsibilities:

  1. Determine whether the parties acted according to the College’s policies regarding academic dishonesty;
  2. Decide whether the allegations of academic dishonesty are warranted;
  3. Decide whether the grade penalty and/or disciplinary action were warranted and proportional to the offense;
  4. Consider a number of resolutions including but not limited to:
  • clearing the student;
  • issuing a written warning;
  • mandating remedial academic counseling re. ethics or academic integrity;
  • requiring an assigned project related to academic integrity or ethics;
  • dismissal from the College Honors Program;
  • denial of access to internships or independent studies;
  • loss of scholarship support from the College;
  • withholding honors or awards;
  • suspending the student for one or more semesters, with the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs;
  • permanently expelling the student, with the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Academic Review Committee will arrive at its findings by simple majority, using the preponderance of evidence (more probable than not) standard. The Associate Dean will inform the interested parties of the decision within thirty business days of the hearing. All decisions made by the Academic Review Committee are final.

In some cases, students are notified of a decision made by the Academic Review Committee that subsequent violations will result in either their immediate suspension or dismissal from the College. Upon receipt of any report of subsequent violations, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will review the report, consult with the Chair of the Academic Review Committee (or designee) and the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty, and if all are in agreement, the Associate Dean will notify the student of their suspension/dismissal. Any differences of opinion among the Associate Dean, ARC Chair, and VPAA will result in a hearing by the Academic Review Committee prior to the administration of sanctions.

The following Rules and Procedures will apply to the Academic Review Committee:

  1. Any member of the Academic Review Committee who has a conflict of interest with the case in question must recuse him/herself from the case.
  2. The student will be informed by the Chair of the Academic Review Committee of his/her right to provide any evidence at the hearing.
  3. The student will be allowed, but not required, to attend the hearing, and to bring one support person (a faculty member, staff member, or another student from the College) to the hearing. The Chair of the Academic Review Committee must be informed of that intention within seventy-two hours prior to the hearing. The support person does not have the right to speak or ask questions.
  4. Final decisions will be recorded in the Academic Integrity file.