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Responding to Academic Dishonesty:
A Guide for Faculty



DEFINITION OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY
Purdue prohibits "dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty" (Student Regulations). Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that "the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of ghost-written papers, the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest" (University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972).

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
"Purdue University values intellectual integrity and the highest standards of academic conduct. To be prepared to meet societal needs as leaders and role models, students must be educated in an ethical learning environment that promotes a high standard of honor in scholastic work. Academic dishonesty undermines institutional integrity and threatens the academic fabric of Purdue University. Dishonesty is not an acceptable avenue to success. It diminishes the quality of a Purdue education which is valued because of Purdue's high academic standards" (S. Akers, Academic Integrity, A Guide for Students, 1995, revised 1999).

PURDUE UNIVERSITY CODE OF HONOR
(Student Regulations, 2002-2003)

"The purpose of the Purdue University academic community is to search for truth and to endeavor to communicate with each other. Self-discipline and a sense of social obligation within each individual are necessary for the fulfillment of these goals. It is the responsibility of all Purdue students to live by this code, not out of fear of the consequences of its violation, but out of personal self-respect. As human beings we are obliged to conduct ourselves with high integrity. As members of the civil community we have to conduct ourselves as responsible citizens in accordance with the rules and regulations governing all residents of the state of Indiana and of the local community. As members of the Purdue University community, we have the responsibility to observe all University regulations.

To foster a climate of trust and high standards of academic achievement, Purdue University is committed to cultivating academic integrity and expects students to exhibit the highest standards of honor in their scholastic endeavors. Academic integrity is essential to the success of Purdue University's mission. As members of the academic community, our foremost interest is toward achieving noble educational goals and our foremost responsibility is to ensure that academic honesty prevails."

DEALING WITH CASES OF DISHONESTY
If you suspect academic dishonesty, follow the guidelines outlined below. Courts are reluctant to interfere in academic matters unless universities act arbitrarily or capriciously. Therefore, you are urged to follow established procedures.

Before any formal action is taken, an accusation of academic dishonesty requires a fact-finding discussion between you and the accused student. The meeting should be prompt, private and informal. All measures should be taken to have this meeting in person, face-to-face with the student suspected of being dishonest.  Although there is no prescribed procedure for your discussion with the student, at some point the student should be given an opportunity to respond. Depending upon the situation and your level of comfort, you may wish to have another official departmental representative present to later corroborate any exchange of information. If you conclude that the student is not responsible for the suspected violation, this meeting should end the matter. Teaching assistants are encouraged to discuss the situation with the instructor in charge of the course before attempting to deal with the issue.

The appropriate standard of proof is based upon a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, does the information cause one to believe that it is more likely than not that the student committed academic dishonesty? If you conclude that the student is responsible for the suspected violation, you may resolve the matter with the student through punitive grading. Examples of punitive grading are:

  • giving a lower or failing grade on the assignment/exam,
  • having the student repeat the assignment and perhaps some additional assignment, or
  • assessing a lower or failing grade for the course (even if a failing grade will be assigned, the student may continue to attend class).

If alleged dishonesty occurs near the end of the course or otherwise cannot be resolved prior to the grade submission deadline, you may assign a grade of incomplete to hold the final grade in abeyance until the investigative process has been concluded. Faculty may find this especially helpful to do when arranging a face-to-face meeting with the student to discuss the suspected violation proves difficult because of end of semester pressures. 

In all matters of suspected academic dishonesty, faculty members are encouraged to report these incidents to the Office of the Dean of Students for further follow up. By reporting incidents, we are able to better track the culture of integrity on campus and also look at the “bigger picture” of the individual you student which may also include additional violations of the Code of Student Conduct  .

REFERRAL TO THE OFFICE OF THE DEAN OF STUDENTS

Faculty members are encouraged to report all incidents of suspected academic dishonesty to the Office of the Dean of Students by completing our on-line reporting form: Academic Dishonesty Report Form.

Procedures for resolving student conduct cases are described here Student Conduct Process.

The majority of cases referred to the Office of the Dean of Students will follow the procedures outlined under the Administrative Conduct Conference tab. However, because of the nature and egregiousness of certain cases and/or the student’s previous disciplinary history, some cases referred to the Office of the Dean of Students may result, if the student is responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, in the student being potentially suspended or expelled from the university. For those cases, the procedures outlined under the Community Standards Board Conference will be utilized. 

In the event that an incident warrants a Community Standards Board proceeding, the faculty member who referred the cases to the OSRR Office, may be requested to participate in that proceeding. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR FACULTY

revised 2009, 2013, January 2014