UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
STUDENT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY
The academic community of the University of Southern Maine recognizes that adherence to high principles of academic integrity is vital to the academic function of the University.
Academic integrity is based upon honesty. All students of the University are expected to be honest in their academic endeavors. All academic work should be performed in a manner which will provide an honest reflection of the knowledge and abilities of each student. Any breach of academic honesty should be regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community.
The entire academic community shares the responsibility for establishing and maintaining standards of academic integrity. Those in charge of academic tasks have an obligation to make known the standards and expectations of acceptable academic conduct. Each student has an obligation to know and understand those standards and expectations. While the academic community recognizes that the responsibility for learning and personal conduct is an individual matter, all students and faculty members are expected to help to maintain academic integrity at the University by refusing to participate in, or tolerate, any dishonesty.
We recognize that there is an educational component to the student academic integrity policy and its associated behaviors at the university. This policy must be linked to efforts to educate students, faculty and staff regarding definitions, concepts and issues associated with academic integrity.
Violations of Student Academic Integrity
Academic integrity means not lying, cheating, or stealing. To cheat on an examination, to steal the words or ideas of another, or to falsify the results of one’s research corrupts the essential process by which knowledge is advanced. Cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of data, giving or receiving unauthorized help on examinations, and other acts of academic dishonesty are contrary to the academic purposes for which the University exists.
Violations of student academic integrity include any actions which attempt to promote or enhance the academic standing of any student by dishonest means. The following is a listing of some, but not necessarily all, actions that are violations of academic integrity:
- Cheating on an academic exercise. Cheating includes giving or receiving unauthorized aid or information by copying, by using materials not authorized, by attempting to receive credit for work performed by another, or by otherwise failing to abide by academic rules. The person who aids an individual in cheating holds equal responsibility for the cheating.
- Plagiarizing the words, ideas, or data of others by not giving proper acknowledgement of sources. Plagiarism includes failing to identify verbatim statements as quotations and failing to give appropriate credit and citations of sources used.
Study, preparation, and presentation should involve at all times the student’s own work as much as possible. It is a proper part of the learning process to incorporate the thoughts or ideas of others into one’s own mind and one’s own presentations with the purpose of learning and enlarging personal boundaries of knowledge. When a new idea is learned from the work of others, however, there is a clear distinction between the presentation of that idea with acknowledgement of sources and the presentation of the idea as one’s own. Any work that the student borrows from others must be suitably identified with appropriate citations because conscientious acknowledgement of sources is always required by the principles of academic integrity.
It is understood by the academic community that the principles of academic integrity require that all work submitted or presented without citation of sources will be the student’s own work, not only on tests, but in themes, papers, homework, and class presentations, unless it has been clearly specified that the work is a team effort.
- Fabricating information with intent to deceive. Fabrication includes, but is not limited to, falsifying experimental data or results, inventing research or laboratory data or results for work not done, knowingly presenting falsified or invented results, citing information not taken from the source indicated, falsely claiming sources not used, and that are known to be false, misleading, or not supported by evidence.
Conclusions or opinions that are presented must be drawn from genuine research or data or from well known information unless they are clearly identified as being speculation or supposition.
- Submitting any academic accomplishment in whole or in part for credit more than once whether in the same course or in different courses without the prior consent of the instructors.
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain an examination, or any part of it, before the examination has been given.
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain an examination. Or any part of it, after the examination has been given when specifically prohibited.
- Intentionally attempting to interfere with or prevent others from having fair and equal access to the resources of the University’s libraries or the University’s computers including the intentional damaging or destroying of any materials or computer files.
- Copying, editing, or deleting computer files without permission.
- Altering, changing, or forging University academic records or forging the signature of any academic officer.
Sanctions for Student Violations of Academic Integrity
A student who admits to being guilty or who is found to be guilty of a violation of academic integrity will be subject to appropriate sanctions. Sanctions will be determined in accordance with the Procedures for Student Violations of Academic Integrity. The exact penalty will depend upon the particular circumstances of each individual case. Graduate students will, in general, be held to a higher standard.
Student violations of academic integrity may be either course related or non-course related. A course-related violation of academic integrity is any offense that may be committed for the purpose of promoting or enhancing the academic standing of the student who commits the offense. A non-course related violation of academic integrity is any offense that does not affect the academic standing of the person committing the offense.
The following is a list of possible sanctions that may be imposed upon students for multiple, course-related, violations of academic integrity or for any number of non-course-related violations of academic integrity. This list shall not be taken to be exhaustive and may be modified or enlarged to meet particular circumstances in any given situation. A combination of two or more of these sanctions may be imposed when justified by the type of violation.
- Dismissal from the University. Severance of the student’s relationship with the University of Maine System. Readmission is possible only in accordance with the review process outlined in the UMS Student Conduct Code.
- Suspension from the University for a stated period of time up to one academic year during which time the student will not be allowed to take any courses in the University of Maine System. The University of Southern Maine will not accept nor give credit for any courses taken at another institution during suspension.
- Probation. Notification that further violations of academic integrity will result in suspension or dismissal from the University, depending on the seriousness of the violation. The period of probation to be specified for the particular situation; normally for no more than one academic year. Probation may include loss of one or more privileges such as representing the University in an intercollegiate event or contest, participation in extracurricular activities, or appointment to any University committee.
- Appropriate grade penalties up to and including F grades in one or more involved courses. For a single, first-time, course-related violation of academic integrity, the maximum penalty impose will not be greater than a grade of F for the course. Course instructors may exercise discretion in prescribing lesser penalties or additional academic tasks appropriate to allow the student to complete a course and thereby receive a grade representing demonstrated knowledge of the course.
- Loss of some or all of the benefits of programs, scholarships, and other opportunities normally afforded students as support and recognition for superior academic achievement. This would not include any need-based federal financial aid programs.
- Academic conduct probation for a stated period of time, normally for no more than one academic year, during which time any further violation of academic integrity will constitute grounds for more severe sanctions.
- Restitution for damages done to any library materials or computer files. (Damaging library materials or computer files may also subject the student to civil or criminal penalties.)
- Completion of an assignment to work a specific number of hours at a designated community service activity.
- Such other action as may be appropriate.
Procedures for Student Violations of Academic Integrity
A. Charges of Student Violations of Academic Integrity.
When, in the opinion of a faculty member, an administrative officer, or a student, a violation of student academic integrity has occurred, these procedures shall be followed in a reasonable and timely fashion:
Charge by a Faculty Member:
- The faculty member will inform the student in private of the specific charge and the aspect of academic integrity that is alleged to have been violated. The student may explain the circumstances and attempt to justify the action if the student chooses. The charge may be dropped if an explanation by the student is accepted as being adequate.
- If the faculty member chooses to continue the complaint, with or without an explanation by the student, the faculty member will verify through the Dean of Students Office whether or not the violation is a first offense.
- If the faculty member confirms that a course-related violation of academic integrity is a first offense, the faculty member may choose to deal with the offense without further consulting the Dean of Students Office. In this case, regardless of whether or not the student has responded to the changes, the faculty member will impose a penalty up to and including a grade of F in the course. If the proposed sanction is approved by the chair of the department, program or school in which the course is taught (and/or the next higher academic officer if the chair is unavailable or is the person bringing the sanction) the faculty member will notify the student in writing of the charge and the sanction imposed.
The letter from the faculty member to the student will include a notice that the student has the right to contest the action by appealing to the Dean of Students Office in writing within seven calendar days of receiving the letter of notification.
- The faculty member will send a copy of the charge letter to the Dean of Students Office for placement in the student’s file. NOTE: Given that the student has the right to appeal the faculty member’s decision, no action on the sanctions imposed will be taken until after it has been verified that the student did not appeal.
- If the student wishes to contest the charge or the sanction imposed by the faculty member, the student will have seven calendar days from receipt of the letter of notification to present a letter of appeal to the Dean of Students Office. The Student Conduct Officer will initiate the appeal process and the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board will convene the Student Academic Integrity Board as soon as is feasible.
- If the faculty member finds that there is evidence of multiple or repeated violations of academic integrity by the student, the complaint will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for appropriate action. In this case, the faculty member will not take any punitive action against the student. Any sanctions to be imposed will be determined by the Student Academic Integrity Board through procedures of fundamental fairness.
Charge by an Administrative Officer:
The administrative officer will notify the Dean of Students Office of the specific charge in writing. The Student Conduct Officer will initiate the hearing process and the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board will convene the Student Academic Integrity Board as soon as is feasible. A student will not be required to withdraw from courses or from the University before the hearing process is completed.
Charge by a Student:
The student making the charge will notify the Dean of Students Office of the specific charge in writing. The Student Conduct Officer will initiate the hearing process and the and the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board will convene the Student Academic Integrity Board as soon as is feasible. A student will not be required to withdraw from courses or from the University before the hearing process is completed.
B. Hearing of Student Violations of Academic Integrity
Any hearing related to violations of student academic integrity will be conducted the Student Academic Integrity Board in accordance with the following guidelines:
- The Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall make every reasonable effort to insure that the Board hears each case promptly at a time that is convenient for all concerned.
- Arrangements shall be made for keeping an audio tape record of the proceedings of the hearing.
- In cases of appeal, the student charged with the violation, and authorized University officials may have access to the tapes for the purpose of review relating to the appeal.
- Such tapes shall be kept by the University for seven years after all appeal rights have been exhausted; The tapes shall then be destroyed.
- Audio-taped records of hearings are deemed to be Student Education Records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and may not be disclosed publicly without the consent of the student charged with the violation and all other students named on the tape or as provided in that Act.
- The student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity and the person who has made the charge should both be present at the hearing.
- If the student charged with a violation or the person who has made the charge is not present at the time appointed for the hearing, the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall first attempt to determine the reason for that person’s absence. The Board may then proceed in a normal manner, may hear any appropriate portion of the testimony and adjourn to a later date, or may continue the entire hearing to a later date. The Board may not consider the absence of any party as relevant to whether or not the accused student committed the alleged violation of academic integrity.
- The student charged with a violation, the Student Conduct Officer, and the person who has made the charge shall each have the right to challenge for cause any member of the Board by submitting to the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board a written statement of the grounds for this challenge at least two days prior to the scheduled hearing. Removal of members of the Board for cause shall be within the authority of and at the discretion of the Chair of the Board or the Vice-Chair of the Board if the Chair is not able to exercise that function or if the Chair has been challenged for cause.
- The student charged has the right to have up to two support people at the hearing. The hearing shall normally be open, but it must be closed at the request of the student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity or at the request of the person who has made the charge. The Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board may close the hearing or a portion of the hearing to protect witnesses or other parties. If the hearing is closed, the Chair shall stress the confidentiality of the hearing.
- At the beginning of the hearing:
- The Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall:
- Outline and review the procedures to be followed throughout the hearing process.
- Review the charges.
- The person who had made the charge shall summarize the evidence that constitutes the basis for the charge. If the person who had made the charge is not present, the Student Conduct Officer or the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall summarize the evidence that constitutes the basis for the charge.
- The student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity may contest the charges by presenting an explanation or other appropriate evidence to justify reduction or dismissal of the charges.
- The Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall:
- During the presentation of evidence:
The student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity and the person who had made the charge may both call witnesses and present additional evidence if they wish to do so.
- All parties may be accompanied by an advisor or support person, for example, his/her parent(s), legal guardian(s), or member of the University community. Any party to the proceedings may have legal counsel present to give advice.
- Members of the Student Academic Integrity Board may question witnesses or parties to the proceeding.
- Witnesses or parties to the proceeding may ask questions of other witnesses or parties to the proceeding only through the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board and only at the discretion of the Chair of the Student Conduct Committee.
- Cross-examination of any party by any advisor will not be permitted. The advisor will not be permitted to speak at the hearing at such time as his/her advisee’s presentation is made to the Committee.
- The Chair reserves the right to remove any party from the hearing in order to protect any party participating.
- After the presentation of all evidence at the hearing:
- Each party or their respective advisor(s) may present arguments on the applicability of this Student Academic Integrity Policy or interpretations of any sections within this policy and/or the appropriate sanctions to be assessed if a violation of student academic integrity is found to have been committed.
- The standard of review to be followed in all proceedings related to student violations of academic integrity shall be fundamental fairness. The standard of proof to be followed in all proceedings related to student violations of academic integrity shall be preponderance of evidence. Strict rules of evidence and procedures will not be required so long as the proceedings are conducted in a manner, which follows fair and full explanations of the circumstances, by both sides. Decisions regarding the admissibility of evidence and the weight to be given to evidence shall be made by the person conducting the hearing in consultation with the members of the Student Academic Integrity Board.
- The decision of the Student Academic Integrity Board will be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. When determining sanctions to be imposed, the Board will give due consideration to recommendations made both by those who have brought charges and by the student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity.
- When a decision has been reached by the Student Academic Integrity Board:
- The Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall provide written notice as soon as is practicable to inform the student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity of the disposition of the case.
- The written notice to the student shall include:
- The charges found to be true.
- A statement that identifies the applicable sections of this Student Academic Integrity Policy that have been violated.
- The disciplinary penalties to be imposed on the student.
- A statement of the right of the student to appeal the decision of the Board and a statement of the rules governing such an appeal including a statement of the time limit for the filing of an appeal.
- Any disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Board shall be effective immediately upon notification unless otherwise specified or unless the student appeals under Section C below in which case sanctions will be stayed unless deemed necessary for the protection of other persons.
- If the student does not appeal a decision of the Student Academic Integrity Board within the specified time, the decision stands and copies of the written notification will be placed in the student’s file in the Dean of Students Office and will be sent to the dean of the school in which the student is registered.
C. Appeal of the Findings of the Student Academic Integrity Board
Any student who has been found by the Student Academic Integrity Board to violate the principles of academic integrity shall have the right to appeal to the President of the University or to the President’s designee for a review of any decision of the Board.
- The appeal shall be limited to a review of procedures followed and the appropriateness of any sanctions imposed.
- An appeal shall not result in the imposition of more severe sanctions.
- The appeal must be in writing and must satisfy the following requirements:
- Clearly state the specific charge, recommendation, action, or sanction to which the appeal is related.
- Clearly state what procedures or sanctions are appealed.
- Present specific reasons, grounds, explanation, or justification to support the appeal.
- Be signed by the student making the appeal.
- Be submitted within seven calendar days of receipt by the student of notification of the charges or the sanctions that are being appealed.
- The decision of the President of the University or the President’s designee shall be final.
Any sanction for violation of academic integrity will be noted in the student’s file in the Dean of Students Office.
The Dean of Students Office serves as the repository of all records of violations of student academic integrity. Such records are normally destroyed seven years after the year the record was created except records pertaining to cases resulting in dismissal, which are held indefinitely.
NOTE: While Lewiston-Auburn College shall establish a Student Academic Integrity Board with jurisdiction over students enrolled in Lewiston-Auburn College degree programs or in USM courses offered at Lewiston-Auburn College, the Dean of Students Office shall serve as repository for all records.
The membership for each Student Academic Integrity Board shall consist of:
Two (2) full-time faculty members, drawn from the pool of faculty members appointed by the chief academic officer of the university. If the chair is unavailable or unable to serve on the Board the vice-chair serves along with another faculty member.
Five (5) student members to be drawn from the Student Conduct Committee by the Student Conduct Officer.
The membership of the Student Academic Integrity Board of Lewiston-Auburn College shall consist of:
Two (2) full-time faculty members, drawn from the pool of faculty members appointed by the chief academic officer of the college. If the chair is unavailable or unable to serve on the Board the vice-chair serves along with another faculty member.
Five (5) USM student members, three (3) to be appointed by the chief academic officer of the college, and two (2) to be appointed by Student Government.
Terms of Appointment to the Board:
The terms of appointment to the Student Academic Integrity Board for faculty members will be a renewable two (2) years.
Student members will be eligible to serve on the Student Academic Integrity Board for the duration of their appointments to the Student Conduct Committee. The Student Conduct Officer as needed and as available will draw student members from the Student Conduct Committee when a hearing is scheduled. In cases where a graduate student is facing charges, at least two of the students serving on the Board will be graduate students.
The terms of appointment for student members of the Student Academic Integrity Board of Lewiston-Auburn College shall be for 1 or 2 years. These terms are renewable once. No student may serve for more than four years.
The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board (and for Lewiston-Auburn) shall be appointed by the President of the University of Southern Maine. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall temporarily perform all the duties of the Chair.
In addition to chairing all hearings, the Chair of the Student Academic Integrity Board, with the assistance of the Student Conduct Officer, shall have the responsibility for scheduling meetings of the Board, notifying parties and witnesses, and reporting the outcome of hearings to the student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity, the Dean of Students Office, and the person who has made a charge.
A quorum of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall consist of one faculty member (Chair or Vice-Chair) and three students.
All decisions of the Student Academic Integrity Board shall be by a majority vote with at least the above quorum of members present and voting.
The student who has been charged with a violation of academic integrity may appeal decisions of the Student Academic Integrity Board.
Decisions of the Student Academic Integrity Board of Lewiston-Auburn College shall be by a majority vote with at least the above quorum of members present and voting.
The Student Academic Integrity Board shall prepare an annual report regarding the nature and outcome of the cases heard. This report will be available on request.
Student Rights in Alleged Violations of Student Academic Integrity
Students alleged to have committed a violation of academic integrity shall have the following rights relative to any hearing on the allegations:
- Written notice shall be provided to the student prior to any hearing. The written notice shall include:
- All charges and the complaints upon which the charges are based.
- The dates of the alleged occurrences.
- The sections of this Student Academic Integrity Policy, which are alleged to have been violated.
- The possible sanctions including the maximum sanction that may be imposed if the charges are found to be true.
- The time and place at which the hearing will be held.
- A statement of the right of the student to appeal.
- The written notice shall be delivered to the student sufficiently in advance of the hearing provide a reasonable time for the student to prepare a response.
- The right to reasonable access to the case file. Photocopies of all appropriate materials shall be made available at no expense to the student at the time of the hearing. Prior to the hearing the student is permitted to review all materials in the Dean of Students Office.
- The right to review all evidence.
- The right to present evidence and witnesses.
- The right to have an observer or advisor present during any hearing in accordance with the applicable paragraphs of this Student Academic Integrity Policy contained in section B above entitled “Hearing of Student Violations of Academic Integrity.”
Faculty Rights in Alleged Violations of Student Academic Integrity
Members of the faculty have the right to establish appropriate standards of academic performance and expectations for students under their instruction and to assign grades accordingly.
The instructor in charge of an academic course in which an alleged violation of student academic integrity has occurred has the right to be informed of the procedures of the Student Academic Integrity Board and has the right to be present throughout any hearings.
The instructor in charge or an academic course in which an alleged violation of student academic integrity has occurred has the right to be informed of the decision of the Student Academic Integrity Board and the results of appeals.
Except as noted above with respect to jurisdiction and membership for Lewiston-Auburn College, all provisions for the Student Academic Integrity Board shall apply to all cases from the Portland and Gorham campuses and Lewiston-Auburn College.
The authors of this document on student academic integrity gratefully acknowledge that they have freely borrowed, adapted, modified, and used words, phrases, ideas, and concepts found in similar publications of the following educational institutions, listed in alphabetical order:
University of Delaware
University of Georgia
University of Maine System
University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Texas A & M
University of Wyoming
The policy was approved by President Richard Pattenaude on 2/22/95.
This policy was originally published and designed by Student Judicial Affairs September 1995.
Revisions were drafted by Stephen Nelson, Assistant to the Vice President for Community Standards and Jan Burson, Chair, Student Academic Integrity Board. The revised document was presented to the Faculty Senate by the Faculty Senate Academic Standards and Policies Committee.
Revisions were approved by the Faculty Senate, March 7, 2003.