Responsibilities | Offenses | Penalties | Procedures | Record of Academic Misconduct
Academic misconduct is behaviour that erodes the basis of mutual trust on which scholarly exchanges commonly rest, undermines the university's exercise of its responsibility to evaluate students' academic achievements, or restricts the university's ability to accomplish its learning objectives.
The university takes a serious view of academic misconduct and will severely penalize students, faculty, and staff who are found guilty of offenses associated with academic dishonesty, misrepresentation of personal performance, restrictions of equal opportunities for access to scholarly resources, and damage to the integrity of scholarly exchanges. The Senate of the university has adopted a number of policies that govern such offenses, including: the Student Academic Misconduct Policy, the Research Misconduct Policy, and the Student Rights and Responsibilities Regulations. These policies will be strictly enforced.
It is the responsibility of University of Guelph students, faculty and staff to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent such offenses from occurring. Furthermore, all members of the community, students, faculty and staff have the specific responsibility of initiating appropriate action in all instances where academic misconduct is believed to have taken place. This responsibility includes giving due consideration to the deterrent effect of reporting such offenses when they do occur, making one's disapproval of such behaviour obvious, and helping to ensure that the university community does nothing to encourage or facilitate academic misconduct.
University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the university's policy on student academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of creating an environment that discourages misconduct.
Academic Misconduct is broadly understood to mean offences against the academic integrity of the learning environment. This would include, but is not limited to, the following examples:
Note: Many of these offences could also be viewed as a violation of the Research Misconduct Policy, or the Student Rights and Responsibilities Regulations. Students may also, therefore, be subject to procedures and penalties outlined in these policies.
- Academic Dishonesty
- Copying from or using prohibited material, including, but not limited to, documentary, electronic or other aids not approved by the instructor, in an assignment or examination.
- Copying another person's answer(s) to an examination question.
- Improper academic practices - this includes the falsification, fabrication or misrepresentation of material, including research results, that is part of academic evaluation, the learning process, or scholarly exchange. This offence would include the reference to resources that are known to not exist or the listing of others who have not contributed to the work.
- Plagiarism - in the sense of misrepresenting the work of others as one's own. Plagiarism specifically can be understood as: the act of copying, reproducing or paraphrasing significant portions of someone else's published or unpublished material, and representing these as one's own thinking by not acknowledging the appropriate source or by the failure to use appropriate quotation marks. These materials include: literary compositions and phrasing, performance compositions, chemical compounds, art works, laboratory reports, research results, calculations and the results of calculations, diagrams, constructions, and computer reports or software. Students have the responsibility to learn and use the conventions of documentation, and, if in any doubt, are encouraged to consult with the instructor of the course, the academic adviser, or the department chair/director for clarification. Instructors have the responsibility of advising students in writing of any significant individual interpretations of plagiarism or of any aspects concerning paraphrasing limits or referencing formats unique to the instruction, the discipline, or the course material.
- Misrepresentation of Personal Performance
- Submitting false, fraudulent or purchased assignments, research, or credentials; or the falsifying or withholding of records, transcripts, or other academic documents.
- Impersonation - involves having someone impersonate onself, either in person or electronically, in class, in an examination, or in connection with any type of course assignment or material or availing oneself of the results of such impersonation. Both the impersonator and the individual impersonated (if aware of the impersonation) are subject to a penalty. In this context, plagiarism is simply another form of impersonation that misrepresents personal performance.
- Submitting a false medical or compassionate certificate, or presenting other such documentation under false pretenses.
- Improperly obtaining, through theft, bribery, collusion or otherwise, access to privileged information, or examination paper or set of questions.
- Submitting the same coursework, research, or assignment for credit on more than one occasion without the prior written permission of the instructors in all of the courses involved.
- The above provisions [2(a)-(e)] are institutional requirements that apply to all graduate and undergraduate courses, and to the presentation of all work, including graduate theses, submitted for academic evaluation and undergraduate or graduate credit. In addition to these provisions, an instructor may require that other constraints apply in the context of a particular course. Such constraints may include, but are not necessarily restricted to, for example, a ban on the use of writing or editorial services, or the use of a research survey service. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the instructor in charge of the course to inform the students of these additional constraints in writing on the course outline, and it is the responsibility of the student in the course to abide by these constraints.
- Damage to the Integrity of Scholarly Exchanges
- Altering, destroying, hiding, or generally restricting access to academic materials intended for general use.
- The unauthorized removal, destruction, or theft of library and other university academic resources.
- Inappropriate distribution of restricted material.
- obstructing the academic activities of others. This involves interfering with the scholarly activities of another or altering or falsifying the work of others, in order to harass or gain unfair academic advantage. This includes, but is not limited to, interfering or tampering with experimental data, with a human or animal subject, with a written or other creation (e.g,, a painting, sculpture, film), with a chemical used for research, or with any other object of study.
- Aiding or abetting academic misconduct. Knowingly aiding or abetting anyone in committing any form of academic misconduct is itself academic misconduct. This may include, but is not limited to offering essays or other assignments with the intention that these works be subsequently submitted for assessment.
If a student is found guilty of academic misconduct, one or more of the following penalties may be assessed:
Note: The guidelines that deans consider when determining the appropriate penalty are available on request from any dean.
- Requirement for submission of a new piece of work; partial or total loss of marks on the exam/assignment; partial or total loss of marks for the course in which the offence occurred;
- An official warning that the penalty for a subsequent offence will be either suspension from the university for a period of up to two years or expulsion;
- Suspension from the university for a period of either one or two years. A student who wishes to be considered for readmission after this period must make an application that will be judged on the basis of eligibility to continue;
- A recommendation for expulsion from the university. A student who has been expelled from the University of Guelph is not eligible for readmission to the university for at least five years. A student who wishes to be considered for readmission must petition the president to have the expulsion status removed. The president will form a hearing committee to review the case for lifting the admission restriction. If the committee decides to remove the expulsion status, the student who wishes to be considered for readmission must then make an application that will be judged on the basis of eligibility to continue. If the committee decides to leave the expulsion status in place, the student must wait at least another two years before submitting a new petition.
- A recommendation for revocation/rescinding of a degree. A person who is found guilty of academic misconduct after having been approved for graduation, or after having a degree conferred, may have the degree rescinded or revoked.
Detection and Documentation
Response to Academic Misconduct
The responsibility for preventing and detecting academic misconduct in an examination lies with the invigilators, although they may make use of reports from others to assist them in detection.
In cases of suspected impersonation, the chief invigilator shall require the student concerned to remain after the examination until the student is satisfactorily identified. In other cases of suspected academic misconduct, the chief invigilator shall allow the student to complete the examination, but may take action by either:
In any case, the chief invigilator shall give a full report, together with any confiscated material, to the instructor-in-charge of the course if the instructor is not the chief invigilator. In instances of open learning courses, the material will be submitted to the director of Open Learning. This documentation is used in consultation with the chair/director when preparing a formal complaint.
- requesting that the student complete the examination in another location or setting when it is deemed that such action will cause the least disruption to those taking the examination; or
- confiscating the suspect material and requesting that the student make contact with the instructor once the examination period is over.
- Term Assignments, Including Research and Thesis Work.
The responsibility for detecting academic misconduct on term assignments, etc., lies with the person responsible for evaluation and discussion of the student's work (marker), although that person may make use of reports from others to assist in detection. Where academic misconduct is suspected, the marker:
In any case, the marker shall give a full report in writing together with any confiscated material to the instructor-in-charge of the course, or to the adviser of the student's work, if the instructor/adviser is not the marker. This documentation is used in consultation with the chair/director when preparing a formal complaint.
- shall retain possession of suspect material; and
- may seek to interview the student to allay suspicion or to confirm it.
- Cases Outside the Domain of Examinations or Assignments.
The responsibility for detecting academic misconduct in the context of an academic environment that is not part of the formal examination or assignment process must rest with the entire university community. Where academic misconduct is suspected, but where it is unclear whether it is directly related to a specific course, or where the specific course is unknown, those with knowledge of an offence should attempt to contact either the chair of the student's department, the student's program counsellor, or the student's college dean. If the suspected offence appears to be related to a specific course, then the instructor of the course should be contacted.
- Suspected Academic Misconduct
Where there is evidence of suspected academic misconduct associated with a specific course, the instructor-in-charge of the course should consult with the chair/director to help determine whether the offence and the associated evidence/documentation merit a formal complaint. At this stage, the student is likely to be interviewed, but there is no obligation to do so.
When it is determined that a formal complaint is appropriate, the chair/director shall make the complaint in writing to the dean of the college offering the course. The complaint shall include copies of all relevant material including a description of the method of evaluation as described in the course outline. The dean of the college offering the course will take the initiative in determining whether to proceed with a complaint.
The complaint shall refer to how the offence is or is not directly related to the assessment format (for example, "plagiarism on the 50-per-cent term assignment".) If the formal complaint involves a final examination or final assignment, the grade submission for the student shall be delayed.
In those cases where the suspected misconduct is not directly related to a specific course, the complaint may be made directly to the dean of the student's college.
- Formal Complaint Procedures for Academic Misconduct
The responsibility in all cases for deciding whether to process the formal complaint, deem a student guilty or not, and for determining any penalty lies jointly with the dean of the college offering the course and with the dean of the student's college (or the director of Open Learning, where appropriate), acting in consultation with the provost and vice-president (academic), and where appropriate, the dean of Graduate Studies.
The dean of the college offering the course shall contact Undergraduate Program Services or the dean of Graduate Studies to ascertain if any record of previous academic offenses exist. Either dean concerned may seek further information concerning any reported incident from the instructor or from any other person involved.
Should the dean(s) decide that the evidence/documentation or the offence does not merit any further action on behalf of the formal complaint, the dean(s) will return the formal complaint to its source and indicate the reasons for the return. A formal complaint not processed as an accusation of academic misconduct by the dean(s) has no official status as an accusation and no record of the complaint shall be maintained.
Once the decision is made to process the formal complaint as an accusation of academic misconduct, the dean of the college offering the course shall interview the student, unless the student is unavailable or unwilling.
The dean(s) may, after the appropriate inquiry and a guilty verdict, impose one or more of the penalties previously listed. The penalty is assessed by the dean(s) concerned (acting jointly) in consultation with the provost and vice-president (academic), and where appropriate, the dean of Graduate Studies.
If the student is deemed not guilty by the dean(s), no penalties will be assessed, no record of the suspected offence or formal complaint will be kept, and all parties will be informed of the final decision by the dean(s).
- Penalty Assessment for Academic Misconduct
- Cases where expulsion is not recommended
- The dean of the college offering the course shall inform the student in writing whether he/she has been found guilty, what penalty if any has been assessed, and of his/her right to appeals.
- The dean shall also notify the instructor, the instructor's chair, Undergraduate Program Services, the dean of the student's college, the dean of Graduate Studies, and the provost and vice-president (academic).
- The penalty assessed shall stand unless the student appeals within 15 calendar days of notification.
- The student may appeal against the dean's finding of guilt or the assessed penalty. The appeal procedure is described in the Regulations of the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
- Cases where expulsion is recommended
- The dean of the college offering the course shall inform the student in writing and forward the matter to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions for disposition.
- At that time the student may request a hearing of the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
- If a hearing is not requested, the Senate Committee on Student Petitions will conduct a review and subsequently notify those individuals involved with the case.
- Cases where revocation/rescinding of a degree is recommended
- The dean of the student's (or former student's) college or the director of Open Learning shall inform the student in writing and forward the matter to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions for disposition.
- At that time the student (or former student) may request a hearing of the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
- If a hearing is not requested, the Senate Committee on Student Petitions will conduct a review and make a recommendation to a closed session of Senate, and will subsequently notify the individuals involved with the case.
- Appeal Process
If a student is charged with academic misconduct resulting in the dean's assignment of a penalty that consists of the loss of marks only, the student has the right to appeal first to the dean of his or her college. This right need not be exercised, and the student may appeal such a penalty directly to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
If a mark-only appeal is not submitted to the dean within 15 calendar days of receipt of the notification, the mark penalty as assessed shall stand unless it is appealed directly to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions and changed as a result of such an appeal.
If the student is charged with academic misconduct, the student may submit a petition to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions. When there is no appeal of a mark penalty made to the dean, or when the penalties go beyond mark penalties, then the submission of a petition is to be made within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the initial penalty assessment. In the case of a mark only penalty, this petition may be made within 15 calendar days of receipt of an appeal decision by the dean. At the time of submitting the petition, the student may request a hearing for the next scheduled meeting of the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
A review by the Senate Committee on Student Petitions involves an examination of all relevant documents to determine the appropriateness of a dean's finding of guilt or of the assessed penalty. In the case where a petition is received after the 15 day limit and a mark penalty is the only penalty assigned, the committee will seek to determine whether the penalty was first appealed to the dean. The procedures for conducting a review and for holding a hearing are set out in the Regulations of the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
Following a review or hearing, the Senate Committee on Student Petitions may take one or more of the following courses of action:
- confirm a finding of guilt;
- reverse a finding of guilt (in which case no penalty shall apply);
- confirm a penalty;
- assess a different penalty.
Record Of Academic
Undergraduate Program Services, or the dean of Graduate Studies, shall place in the student's file a record of all academic misconduct for which the student is penalized. This record shall be expunged from the student's file upon graduation, or completion of a certificate or diploma for open learners. Students who do not graduate from the University of Guelph or another university may submit an appeal to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions to have the record expunged no sooner than 5 years after the date of last registration. Students who have graduated at another accredited university may submit verification of graduation to Undergraduate Program Services, Office of Registrarial Services, and have their record expunged. The record for expulsion is permanent, unless removed by petition to the president.
Access to the record of academic misconduct will be limited to those involved in processing appeals and those involved in processing additional complaints against the student. It is normally assumed that the penalties for repeat offenders will be more severe than those assigned for first offenses.