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Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, and any attempt to obtain credit for academic work through fraudulent, deceptive, or dishonest means. Below is a list of some forms academic dishonesty may take.

  • Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise
  • Submitting work previously submitted in another course without the consent of the instructor
  • Sitting for an examination by surrogate or acting as a surrogate
  • Representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one’s own in any academic exercise
  • Conducting any act that defrauds the academic process

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas or work as one’s own. As such, plagiarism constitutes fraud or theft. Plagiarism or academic dishonesty in any form is a grave offense and will not be tolerated.

If an instructor determines there is sufficient evidence of academic dishonesty on the part of a student, the instructor may exercise one or more of the following options:

  • Require a timed writing sample to be written on the assigned topic to determine the veracity of the suspicion
  • Require that the work be rewritten
  • Issue a lowered or failing grade for the assignment
  • Issue a lowered or failing grade for the course
  • Request formal disciplinary action by the Judicial Affairs Officer

If a student’s assignment or course grade is lowered on the grounds of academic dishonesty, the instructor must inform the student that academic dishonesty figured into the calculation of the grade. The student may exercise his/her right to appeal the grade by requesting a review from the Disciplinary Appeals Committee, convened by the Judicial Affairs Officer (JAO). The student must submit an e-form electronically via the student portal within forty-five (45) days of the submission of the grade for the course. The student must attach clear, substantiating documentation that demonstrates grounds for appeal to the e-form. If the evidence meets the criteria, the JAO forwards the student’s e-form to the instructor. The JAO then refers all documentation to the Disciplinary Appeals Committee. Students are responsible for the work they submit and intent cannot be determined, so neither is grounds for appeal.

Disciplinary Appeals Committee
A standing committee, the disciplinary appeals committee consists of three or more faculty members. The disciplinary appeals committee considers the documentation and may decide either to change or uphold the allegation.

The disciplinary appeals committee will render a final decision within thirty (30) days of receiving the e-form information from the JAO. This decision is then forwarded to the JAO who notifies all parties via e-mail.

The decision of the disciplinary appeals committee on these matters is final and cannot be appealed.

It is the instructor’s responsibility to report any reasonable suspicion of academic dishonesty to the Judicial Affairs Officer so that such behavior may be monitored and repeat offenders identified. Notification may be made through one’s department chair. Upon request for disciplinary action or upon repeated offenses, the Judicial Affairs Officer will initiate hearing proceedings that may result in disciplinary action such as probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Avoiding Plagiarism
Students are responsible for the work they submit and must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. For example, it would be necessary to give credit to an author who provided an argument about the strategic importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in the American Civil War. Conversely, major historical facts, such as the dates of the American Civil War, are considered common knowledge and do not require that credit be given to a particular author.

If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. If a student borrows the words of another author, he/she must be careful to use the author’s exact words, enclose them in quotation marks, and cite the source in the body of the text and also on the reference page. If students are unsure whether or not they should cite, they are encouraged to cite. They are also encouraged to ask their instructors for guidance on this issue. Students might also consult writing handbooks such as the Essential Little Brown Handbook and for formatting questions refer to manuals such as The MLA Handbook for the Humanities, The Publication Manual of the APA for social sciences and business, and The CBE Style Manual for natural and applied sciences.

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

National University is a member of the National University System.