Student Academic Honesty
Academic honesty is essential to the intellectual health of the university and the ideals of education.
Academic Honesty Policy
SUNY Plattsburgh expects students to be honest and to conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their relationship with the college (e.g., application, transfer evaluation, academic progress review, and credit and non-credit bearing experiences, including regular course work, independent studies, internships, practica, student teaching, and interactions with faculty, staff, and students). Academic dishonesty adversely affects the educational function of the college and undermines the integrity of its programs.
Dishonest conduct includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, forgery, and alteration of records, along with any lying, deceit, bribery, coercion, or intimidation for the purpose of influencing a grade or for any other academic gain. Submitting one's work originally completed for a different class is also dishonest unless the current instructor has agreed in advance to accept such a resubmission or reuse of academic work.
Action against a student determined to have violated the academic honesty policy can range from a reduction of the grade on an assignment, through failure of a course, to suspension or even dismissal from the academic program, the department, or the college. A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be afforded due process through the College Judicial System.
Adopted by the Faculty Senate, April 13, 2004. Approved by the President, June 6, 2004. Amended November 4, 2008.
Procedures for Addressing Suspected Academic Dishonesty
Visit the https://my.plattsburgh.edu/ portal to submit a Faculty Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty Transmittal Form. (Log in required, the form is in the faculty tab.)
Alleged violations of the Plattsburgh State student academic honesty policy, including allegations of cheating and plagiarism, will be referred to the College Judicial System for documentation and/or adjudication in order to:
- Protect students’ due process rights;
- Allow records to be kept in a central place;
- Discourage and, when necessary sanction repeat offenders;
- Ensure enhanced communication/correspondence;
- Allow detailed follow-up.
Responsibilities of the Student
- Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are offenses against all students that cloud distinction between the student who does his/her work well and the student who takes advantage of others for academic gain, and it lessens the value of degrees granted by the college. Students have an obligation to themselves and to their fellow students to uphold the integrity of their institution by not participating either directly or indirectly in acts of cheating. A student who aids another in academic dishonesty shares the responsibility of the offense.
- A student who has been accused of academic dishonesty and wishes to dispute the charges or the sanction specified by the instructor must do so through the procedures detailed below.
- A separate academic grievance cannot be filed by a student on the basis of an instructor’s allegation of academic dishonesty or specification of sanction.
Responsibilities of the Instructor
- In order to fairly evaluate the achievements of students, instructors must ensure that work submitted by students honestly represents their own efforts. Instructors must therefore take steps to prevent cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty by making clear to students what cheating is and, if cheating does occur, to discourage repetition. Faculty who assign or encourage group work must be especially clear about which assignments are to be completed by a group and which must be completed individually.
- Instructors who believe that academic dishonesty has occurred should proceed in accordance
with the following:
- students are presumed not responsible until responsibility is established (through the procedures detailed below);
- students must be treated fairly, humanely and professionally; they should not be publicly accused or embarrassed; and
- students must be afforded due process.
- Complete the online Faculty Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty Transmittal Form available on the faculty member’s MyPlattsburgh portal page, under the “Faculty Services” tab, in the “Student Information” section.
The procedures detailed below seek to provide for due process in determining responsibility and in assigning sanction and discouraging repetition of any offense.
The following procedures must be followed when cheating of any nature is suspected.
A. First Level — Informal Review
- Notification and Acknowledgment:
Upon identifying an incident of suspected cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty, an instructor shall:
- Attempt to make direct contact with the student as soon as possible but within no more than five business days whether or not classes are in session (excluding weekends and holidays) to (a) notify the student of the allegation that Academic Dishonesty may have occurred; (b) set up an appointment for an initial discussion; and (c) direct the student to a copy of the college’s Student Academic Honesty Policy and these Procedures for Addressing Suspected Academic Dishonesty. A reasonable effort should be made to secure direct contact with the student, e.g. phone calls to local or home numbers, email messages (with a 24-hour period return receipt requested to confirm student’s receipt of email), and/or a registered correspondence or letter, using the contact information on file in the Registrar’s Office and available through the college’s on-line directory. Documentation of all attempts to contact the student must be retained by the instructor and will become a matter of record.
- Refrain from assigning grades until a substantive discussion occurs. If such a discussion cannot occur prior to grade submission deadlines, an incomplete grade (I) should be given, and the student should be informed of such.
- Behave professionally toward the student refraining from intimidation or inflammatory, accusatory dialog relative to the allegations. If either party is unable to meet within five business days (excluding weekends and holidays) after receipt of notification, both parties must mutually agree (without undue pressure by either party) to an alternative schedule. Such an agreement and schedule must be documented and become a matter of record.
- Initial Discussion:
The initial discussion between instructor and student should occur, if possible, on a face-to-face basis. Should either party be uncomfortable at the prospect of such an initial meeting, a mutually-agreed-upon third party may be invited to attend.
The initial discussion must address, but is not limited to:
- a succinct description of the suspected violation(s) to ensure that the student is fully informed of all concerns;
- substantive indications of the suspected academic dishonesty (e.g., the existence of witnesses to the incident and/or proof such as copies of papers and referenced plagiarized sources, exams, crib sheets, etc.);
- an explanation that the student has three business days (excluding weekends and holidays) to admit or deny responsibility to the instructor for the alleged offense;
- an explanation that a denial of suspected academic dishonesty by the student or a desire by the faculty member to seek a more severe sanction than failure for the course will result in referral of the case to the Dean of Students for adjudication through the college Judicial System (see Second level Review);
- an explanation that no response to the allegations within three business days will result in an automatic referral of the case to the Dean of Students for adjudication through the College Judicial System (see Second Level Review);
- an explanation that the instructor will complete a confidential online Faculty Report
of Suspected Academic Dishonesty form. The form includes: student’s name; dates of
contact; an explanation of the suspected offense(s); an account of the results of
the first level review; and a statement that the student reserves the right to present
a written rebuttal to the allegations and to receive access to all information relative
to the matter. The original form shall be sent to the Dean of Students who shall distribute
copies to the instructor and the student. For cases that do not result in suspension
or dismissal, the Dean of Students will destroy the record three years after the end
of the academic year in which the violation occurred, or the date of the student’s
graduation, which ever occurs later. For cases that result in suspension or dismissal
from the college, the file will be kept in perpetuity.
It is recommended that both parties maintain notes relative to the details of this initial discussion.
- Discussion Outcomes and Further Procedures:
Option 1: The student admits to the alleged academic dishonesty
Instructor: a.) The instructor may specify a sanction not to exceed a failing grade for the course. OR b.) The instructor may recommend a more stringent sanction through the College Judicial System (sanction to be determined by the dean of the faculty where the course was held or the incident occurred, in conjunction with the judicial coordinator, the dean of the faculty of the student’s major, and the chief student affairs officer or designee). See Second Level Review.
Student: a.) The student may agree to the sanction specified by the instructor. OR b.) The student may request the sanction specified by the instructor be reviewed through the College Judicial System. See Second Level Review. NOTE: If the college Judicial Affairs Office finds that a Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty for a previous allegation is on file for the student, the student’s record of academic honesty will be reviewed by the dean of the faculty where the course was held or the incident occurred, in conjunction with the judicial coordinator, the dean of the faculty of the student’s major, and the chief student affairs officer or designee, and the sanctions in addition to any specified or recommended by the instructor may be set.
Option 2: The student denies the alleged academic dishonesty:
Student: The student’s denial constitutes a request for a formal review of the allegations through the College Judicial System. See Second Level Review.
Instructor: The instructor should not assign a grade until the second level review is completed. If final grades become due before the second level review is completed, a grade of incomplete (I) should be assigned.
- Completion of Faculty Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty:
Whatever the outcome of the initial discussion, the instructor must complete within three business days whether or not classes are in session (excluding weekends and holidays) a Faculty Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty Form. This form is to be submitted online through the faculty member’s MyPlattsburgh Portal page. The form will be under the “Faculty Services” tab in the “Student Information” section. The form will be sent automatically to the Dean of Students Office once the submit button is pressed. A link to the MyPlattsburgh login page is provided above. If the Dean of Students Office finds that a Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty for a previous allegation is on file for the student, the student’s record of academic honesty will be reviewed by the dean of the faculty where the course was held or the incident occurred, in conjunction with the Dean of Students, the dean of the faculty of the student’s major, and the chief student affairs officer or designee, and sanctions in addition to any specified or recommended by the instructor may be set. See Second Level Review.
B. Second Level — Formal Review: See Student Conduct Manual for College Judicial System procedures and policies.
These procedures replace College Regulations Concerning Cheating, Faculty Senate Action 161 (Nov. 1979).
Adopted by the Faculty Senate, April 13, 2004 (Faculty Senate Action #556). Approved by the President, June 7, 2004. Amended February 2005, April 2006, October 2011 (Faculty Senate Action #748).