Administrative Services

File Code: PRO.ACADINTEGRITY.POL
Approved: 01/10/05
Revised: 05/10/11, 02/27/20
Approved by: President

Student Academic Integrity Policy

Preamble

Western Illinois University, like all communities, functions best when its members treat one another with honesty, fairness, respect, and trust. Students must realize that deception for individual gain is an offense against the members of the entire community, and it is the student's responsibility to be informed and to abide by all University regulations and policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy (detailed below).

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious violation of University conduct regulations (See Section I).

Faculty members are expected to exemplify academic integrity and to instill in their students a desire to behave honestly. Faculty members shall clearly state their policies regarding academic integrity in their syllabi and reinforce principles of academic integrity in their teaching. Clearly stating expectations (including standards unique to a particular academic discipline) and potential penalties for violations of academic integrity makes consequences transparent to the student.

When faculty adhere to this policy and report confirmed acts of academic dishonesty they protect both the reputation of the University and the rights of the student. Below is a brief summary of the procedures for and value of reporting acts of academic dishonesty.

  • When a student is suspected of committing an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member is expected to conduct an investigation (Section III.A).
  • If the investigation determines that academic dishonesty occurred, the faculty member is expected to submit an Academic Integrity Incident Report to the Department Chair and to the Council on Admissions, Graduation, and Academic Standards (CAGAS) for undergraduate students or the Graduate Council for graduate students (Section III.B).
  • The faculty member has the exclusive prerogative for assigning any penalty pertaining to the act of academic dishonesty relative to the course (Section III.C.1). Any administrative sanctions (if applicable) are under the authority of the Director of the Student Conduct Office.
  • If a student engages in a pattern of academic dishonesty across multiple courses appropriate administrative sanctions may be imposed under the Director of the Student Conduct Office (Section III.C.2).
  • If the student feels that the determination of academic dishonesty is incorrect, the student has the right to appeal (Section III.B.5 and Section IV).

This document provides policies and procedures to be followed when academic dishonesty is encountered.

Section I. Definitions of Academic Dishonesty

The following definitions and examples are not meant to be exhaustive. The University reserves the right to determine, in a given instance, what action constitutes a violation of academic integrity.

  1. Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is presenting the work of another as one's own. Plagiarism occurs whenever:

    1. one quotes another person's actual words or replicates all or part of another's product without acknowledgment. This includes all information gleaned from any source, including the Internet.
    2. one uses another person's ideas, opinions, work, data, or theories, even if they are completely paraphrased in one's own words without acknowledgment.
    3. one uses facts, statistics, or other illustrative materials without acknowledgment.
    4. one fails to acknowledge with a citation any close and/or extended paraphrasing of another.
    5. one fails to use quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it is a few words, a sentence, or a paragraph.

    Typical examples: Submitting, as one's own, the work of another writer or commercial writing service; knowingly buying or otherwise acquiring and submitting, as one's own work, any research paper or other writing assignment; submitting, as one's own, work in which portions were produced by someone acting as tutor or editor; collaborating with others on papers or projects without authorization of the instructor.

    In addition to oral or written work, plagiarism may also involve using, without permission and/or acknowledgment, computer programs or files, research designs, ideas and images, charts and graphs, photographs, creative works, assignments and other types of information that belong to another.

    Because expectations about academic assignments and citation vary among disciplines and instructors, instructors should clearly state their expectations. Students should seek clarification from the instructor when in doubt.

  2. Fabrication and Falsification

    Fabrication or falsification is intentionally and knowingly making unauthorized alterations to information, or inventing information or citations. Fabrication (inventing or counterfeiting information) and/or falsification (altering information) occur whenever:

    1. one alters or falsifies a graded work after it has been evaluated by the instructor and resubmits it for re-grading.
    2. one invents data in a piece of work or provides a false account of the method by which data were generated or collected.
    3. one misrepresents by fabricating an otherwise justifiable excuse such as illness, injury, accident, etc., in order to avoid timely submission of academic work or to avoid or delay the taking of a test or examination.

    Typical Examples:

    Fabrication--inventing or counterfeiting data, research results, information, or procedures; inventing data or fabricating research procedures to make it appear that the results of one process are actually the results of several processes; counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences.

    Falsification--altering the record of data or experimental procedures or results; false citation of the source of information (e.g., reproducing a quotation from a book review while indicating that the quotation was obtained from the book itself); altering the record of or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; altering grade reports or other academic records; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness in a scheduled academic exercise; altering a returned examination paper and seeking regrading.

  3. Cheating

    Cheating is intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, solution manuals, or other devices in any academic exercise, test, or quiz. This includes unauthorized communication of information during an exercise. Cheating includes:

    1. possessing unauthorized notes, crib sheets, additional sources of information, or other materials during an examination.
    2. preparing a written answer to an exam question outside of class and submitting that answer as part of an in-class exam.
    3. possessing term papers, examinations, lab reports, or other assignments which were supposed to be returned to the instructor.
    4. altering test answers and then claiming the instructor improperly graded the test or examination.
    5. giving or receiving answers by use of any signals or technology during a test.

    Typical Examples: Copying from another student's paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz, test or examination; using books, notes, or other devices (e.g., calculators) when these are not authorized; procuring without authorization tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise (including discussion of the substance of examinations and tests when it is expected these will not be discussed); copying reports, laboratory work, computer programs or files and the like from other students; collaborating with others on laboratory or computer work without authorization or without indicating the nature and extent of the collaboration; sending a substitute to take an examination.

  4. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty

    Complicity in academic dishonesty is intentionally or knowingly helping, or attempting to help, another individual commit an act of academic dishonesty. Complicity includes:

    1. permitting another student to copy one's work during an examination or allowing another student to copy one's paper, lab report, computer program, or other assignments.
    2. taking an examination or any portion of a course for another student; writing a paper, lab report, computer program, or other assignments for another student.

    Typical Examples: Knowingly allowing another to copy from one's paper during an examination or test; knowingly and without authorization distributing test questions or substantive information about the material to be tested before the scheduled exercise; collaborating on academic work knowing that the collaboration will not be reported; taking an examination or test for another student, or signing a false name on an academic exercise. (Note: Collaboration and sharing information are characteristics of academic communities. These become a violation when they involve dishonesty. Instructors should make expectations about collaborations clear to students. Students should seek clarification when in doubt).

  5. Abuse of Academic Materials

    Abuse of academic materials is intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other resource material.

    Typical Examples: Stealing or destroying library or reference materials needed for common academic exercises; hiding resource materials so others may not use them; destroying computer programs or files needed in academic work; stealing or intentionally destroying another student's notes or laboratory experiments; receiving assistance in locating or using sources of information in an assignment where such assistance has been forbidden by the instructor. (Note: The offense of abuse of academic materials shall be dealt with under this policy only when the abuse violates standards of integrity in academic matters, usually in a course or experience for which academic credit is awarded).

  6. Multiple Submissions

    Multiple submissions occurs when one intentionally or knowingly submits substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without the explicit authorization of both instructors.

    Typical Examples: Submitting the same or substantially the same work for credit in more than one course without prior permission of both instructors. Building upon or reworking prior work is acceptable with permission of both instructors.

Section II. Reporting Academic Dishonesty

All members of the University community share the responsibility and authority to challenge and make known acts of apparent academic dishonesty. Any student, faculty member, or staff person who has witnessed an apparent act of student academic dishonesty, or has information that reasonably leads to the conclusion that such an act has occurred or has been attempted, has an ethical responsibility for reporting said act(s).

Confronting and reporting academic dishonesty can be done in a variety of ways, and people should choose the manner most appropriate for the circumstances. Acts of apparent academic dishonesty that occur in the classroom should be reported directly to the course instructor, and/or the course instructor's Department Chair, and/or the instructor's College Dean. CAGAS or the Graduate Council will not accept or act upon anonymous reports, but will hold in strict confidence the identity of any person reporting a suspected instance of academic dishonesty, unless that person consents to having his/her identity revealed.

Section III. Investigation, Determination of Violation, and Assignment of Penalty

  1. Investigation of alleged act of academic dishonesty
    1. A faculty member responsible for assigning final grades in a course may acquire evidence, either directly or through information supplied by others that a violation of academic integrity may have occurred. After collecting the available evidence, the faculty member must meet with each student suspected of academic dishonesty to present the evidence of a violation and request an explanation. If the faculty member accepts the student's explanation and finds that no violation has occurred, no further action is taken. (If a face-to-face meeting is impossible or impractical, this meeting may take place by phone or by e-mail communication.)
  2. Determination of violation of academic integrity
    1. If the faculty member determines that a violation has occurred, the faculty member must complete an Academic Integrity Incident Report. (To expedite the process the faculty member may prepare a preliminary report in advance of meeting with the student and finalize it during the meeting). Students must be given a copy of the report and any supplementary materials within five (5) working days of the initial meeting. The report must contain:
      1. the nature of the charge
      2. brief summaries of the evidence and the meeting with the student
      3. the proposed academic penalty
      4. notice of the procedure and time frame for appealing the decision
    2. The report must be signed and dated by both the student and the faculty member. The student’s signature is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgement that he or she has been notified of the charge. If the student refuses to sign, the faculty member shall write “refused to sign” on the form. The Department Chair shall also sign the form. The faculty member will send copies of the report and all supplementary material, including copies of the evidence of academic dishonesty, to the Department Chair and (for record-keeping purposes) to the Council on Admission, Graduation and Academic Standards (if the case involves an undergraduate student) or to the Graduate Council (if the case involves a graduate student.) The faculty member should retain original copies of all evidence.
    3. Once a faculty member has charged a student with academic dishonesty, the student may not withdraw from the course until the charge is resolved. Any student who withdraws from a course after the charge is made may be reregistered by the Registrar for the course so that appropriate action can be taken.
    4. An incomplete will be given to the student(s) by the instructor in the event that a charge of academic dishonesty cannot be resolved before the submission of the final course grade(s). If it is not possible for the faculty member and student to meet prior to the submission of final grades, the faculty member shall advise the Department Chair and the Chair of CAGAS or the Graduate Council (as appropriate) of the pending case and submit a provisional version of the Academic Integrity Incident Report along with any supporting materials. The Chair of CAGAS or the Graduate Council (as appropriate) shall notify the student of the incomplete grade and inform the student of his or her responsibility to meet with the faculty member before the end of the second week of the next fall or spring semester to discuss the allegations of academic dishonesty. If the student does not meet with the faculty member by the end of the second week of the next fall or spring semester it is assumed that the student is not appealing the decision of the faculty member, and the faculty member shall submit a Change of Grade Form to remove the incomplete and assign the appropriate grade for the course. If a course grade of “F” is assigned as a penalty for the academic dishonesty, this must be indicated on the Change of Grade Form. A student assigned a course grade of “F” as the penalty is eligible to retake the course, but not for grade replacement.
    5. If the student wishes to appeal the faculty member's charge of academic dishonesty, he or she must file a written appeal with the course instructor’s Department Chair within five (5) working days following receipt of the Academic Integrity Incident Report. In cases where a student does not file a written appeal with the department chairperson, then the faculty member will assign the penalty specified on the Academic Integrity Incident Report. If the deadline to withdraw from the course has not passed, and if the specified penalty is not a grade of “F” for the course, then the student’s option to withdraw from the course is reinstated.
  3. Assignment of Penalty
    1. Penalties assessed for student violations of academic integrity are the sole discretion of the faculty member responsible for the course and must be course related (with the exception of a referral to the Student Conduct Office). Representative penalties include the following (this list is not intended to be exhaustive):
      1. a revision of the work in question and/or completion of alternative work, with or without a grade reduction;
      2. a reduced grade (including "F" or zero) for the assignment;
      3. a reduced grade (including "F") for the entire course;
      4. referral to the Student Conduct Office.
    2. A second violation of this policy will automatically result in formal judicial charges being brought against the student.
  4. Assignment of Penalty for Academic Integrity Violations in Graduate Exit Options
    1. An offense committed in completing an exit option of a graduate program is particularly egregious. The penalty for the violation may include any of the options described in III.C.1. above, as recommended by the professor directing the exit option (when appropriate), in conjunction with the department/program's graduate committee and supported by the Department Chairperson/Director. In addition the penalty also may include dismissal from the degree program, an action that prohibits the student from completing program requirements for graduation.
    2. The use of dismissal from a program to address a violation of academic integrity for an exit option is at the discretion of the professor directing the exit option (when appropriate), the Department/Program Graduate Committee, and the Department Chairperson/Director; these individuals will function as the Department Academic Integrity Committee. However, a student who has been removed from a degree program may appeal to a special ad hoc College Academic Integrity Committee, selected from eligible College faculty who have full membership in the graduate faculty. If the decision of the special ad hoc College Academic Integrity Committee is unsatisfactory to either the graduate student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to the Graduate Council. All committees follow the procedures established below.

Section IV. Procedures for Appeals

  1. Constitution and Scope of Academic Integrity Committees:

    Each academic department and college within the University will establish an Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) in accordance with the procedures outlined below. The sole responsibility of an AIC is to determine whether there has been a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. If the AIC determines there was a violation of the policy they may not waive or alter any penalty assigned by the faculty member (Section III.C).

    Faculty members and students should be aware of potential conflicts of interest and excuse themselves from service. If the impartiality of a committee member is questioned, the committee itself must reach a decision as to the continuance of the individual so questioned. If a member is disqualified, another individual from the same constituency will be appointed to serve in his or her place. Department Chairs and administrators (assistant dean, associate dean, dean, etc.) of any college will not serve on any AIC.

    1. Department Academic Integrity Committee
      Each department will establish a standing AIC comprised of an odd number of members. If the AIC consists of the minimum of three members, then one member must be a student who was not in the course from which the allegation originates and is not currently a student in any course taught by the faculty member bringing the allegation. (If the case involves an undergraduate student, then the student representative must be an undergraduate student. If the case involves a graduate student, then the student representative must be a graduate student.) If the committee consists of more than three faculty members, then the committee must have two student members that were not in the course from which the allegation originates and are not currently in any course taught by the faculty member bringing the charge. Department Chairs will notify each faculty member on the AIC of the first meeting at the beginning of the semester, before an Academic Integrity report is filed. At this meeting, the chairperson will be elected by the members of said committee.
    2. College Academic Integrity Committee
      The College AIC will consist of five persons: two voting students selected according to the criteria for Department Committees and three voting faculty members appointed by the Dean from the chairpersons of Department AICs (or their designees) within the College but not from the academic department from which the Academic Integrity case originated. The chair will be appointed by the Dean of the College.
    3. University Academic Integrity Committee
      CAGAS will serve as the AIC for undergraduate students at the University level. The Graduate Council will serve as the AIC for graduate students at the University level.
  2. Procedures for All Committees
    1. Within five (5) working days following the receipt of a student's written request to appeal a charge of academic dishonesty, the appropriate AIC will arrange a hearing. Academic Integrity hearings are normally heard during the Fall/Spring semester unless all parties agree to an earlier hearing. At least five (5) working days in advance of any hearing, the Chairperson of the AIC will notify the student and the faculty member involved of the time and place of the hearing, the specification(s) of the complaint (including any written documentation that was provided by the student or faculty member), and the right of each individual to be accompanied by an advisor. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the class schedules of students and faculty members when setting committee meetings and hearings. If either the student, the faculty member, or their witnesses are unable to attend the hearing in person, they may participate in the hearing by telephone or video conference. In the event that the faculty member is on medical leave, sabbatical leave, retired or is no longer employed by WIU and is unable to participate in the hearing, the faculty member’s perspective may be represented by another faculty member assigned by the department chair.
    2. One advisor for the student and one advisor for the faculty member may be present when evidence is presented to the AIC. Advisors are not allowed to ask questions or present material and cannot serve as witnesses. The student and the faculty member may submit written materials to support his or her position. Either party may have witnesses testify in writing or in person. All committee hearings will be confidential. Witnesses will be excluded except for the period of their questioning. All participants will conduct themselves in a professional and collegial manner. Anyone failing to comply with this requirement can be excluded for the remainder of the hearing.
    3. Agreement or disagreement with the charge of academic dishonesty shall be determined by majority vote of those present on a secret ballot. A written report of the proceedings will be prepared by the Chairperson of the AIC and submitted to the members for their approval. This report should include the basis for the charge, conclusions reached by the committee, and a report of the voting which reflects the majority and minority points of view.
  3. Department Level Hearing
    1. The hearing at the department level will be completed within twenty (20) working days after the receipt of the student's request to appeal. Within five (5) working days after the departmental hearing, the Chairperson of the AIC must inform the faculty member, student, chair of the department, and (for record-keeping purposes) either CAGAS (if the case involves an undergraduate student) or the Graduate Council (if the case involves a graduate student) of the decision in writing. If the AIC finds that a violation occurred, the student should be informed of the procedure and timeline to appeal the decision to the College level (Section IV.D.) and that if the student chooses not to appeal, the penalty imposed by the faculty member will stand.
    2. If the AIC finds that no violation has occurred, the faculty member must inform the Chairperson of the AIC in writing as to whether or not he or she will appeal the decision within five (5) working days. The Chairperson of the AIC must then inform the student and the chair of the department in writing of the faculty member's decision within five (5) working days. If the faculty member fails to reply within the specified time limit, it will be assumed that he or she has decided not to pursue a charge of academic dishonesty. If the faculty member does not appeal the decision, or if he or she fails to reply within the specified time limit, the allegations will be dismissed and the faculty member is responsible for assigning the appropriate grade without penalty.
    3. In cases where the faculty member declines to participate in the proceedings and the Departmental AIC makes a decision in favor of the student, the allegations will be dismissed. The Chairperson of the AIC will then submit a change of grade form listing the appropriate grade and indicate that the change is due to an Academic Integrity appeal.
  4. College Level Hearing
    1. If the result of the decision of the Departmental AIC is unsatisfactory to either the student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to the Dean of the College in which the department involved is located. The written appeal must be filed with the Dean's Office within fifteen (15) working days after all parties have been notified of the Department AIC’s findings. The Chairperson of the Department AIC will forward the committee's report, and all written material considered by the committee, to the Dean's Office upon being notified by the Dean that there will be an appeal at the College level. This material will also be sent to both the faculty member and student involved with the Academic Integrity hearing.
    2. A hearing will be held within ten (10) working days after receiving the appeal using the same procedures provided for at the department level. The College AIC will also include in its deliberations the written report of the Departmental AIC and any other written materials forwarded to the Dean from the Chairperson of the AIC.
    3. The College AIC shall notify all parties of their decision following the same timeline and procedures as described for the Department Committee.
  5. University Level Hearing--Undergraduate Student
    1. If the decision of the College AIC is unsatisfactory to either the undergraduate student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to CAGAS. The written appeal must be filed with the Chairperson of CAGAS within fifteen (15) working days after all parties have been notified of the College AIC’s findings. The Chairperson of the College AIC will forward all reports and written materials that had been forwarded to the College AIC to the Chairperson of CAGAS upon being notified that there will be an appeal.
    2. In preparation for the hearing, the Chairperson of CAGAS shall review the case and may request additional information from the Department or College AICs or any of the parties involved. CAGAS shall then conduct its hearing in the same manner as provided for the Department and College AICs. No member of CAGAS from the department in which the appeal originated may participate in the deliberations or vote on the case.
    3. The Chairperson of CAGAS will then inform the student, faculty member, chair of the department, and dean of the college in writing of the decision in the case. If CAGAS finds that a violation has occurred, then the faculty member will assign the appropriate grade that includes the assigned penalty. If CAGAS finds no violation has occurred, the charge of academic dishonesty will be dismissed. The student may then remain in the course without penalty, withdraw from the course regardless of any published deadlines, or a change of grade form listing the appropriate grade will be submitted.
  6. University Level Hearing -- Graduate Student
    1. If the decision of the College AIC is unsatisfactory to either the graduate student or the faculty member, that person will have the right to appeal to the Graduate Council. The written appeal must be filed with the Chairperson of the Graduate Council within fifteen (15) working days after all parties have been notified of the College Committee’s findings. The Chairperson of the College AIC will forward all reports and written materials that had been forwarded to the College AIC to the Chairperson of the Graduate Council upon being notified that there will be an appeal.
    2. In preparation for the hearing, the Chairperson of the Graduate Council shall review the case and may request additional information from the Department or College Committees or any of the parties involved. The Graduate Council shall then conduct its hearing in the same manner as provided for the Department and College Committees. No member of the Graduate Council from the department in which the appeal originated may participate in the deliberations or vote on the case.
    3. The Chairperson of the Graduate Council will then inform the student, faculty member, chair of the department, and dean of the college in writing of the decision in the case. If the Graduate Council finds that a violation has occurred, then the faculty member will assign the appropriate grade that includes the assigned penalty. If the Graduate Council finds no violation has occurred, the charge of academic dishonesty will be dismissed. The student may then remain in the course without penalty, withdraw from the course regardless of any published deadlines, or a change of grade form listing the appropriate grade will be submitted.

Section V. Record Keeping and Access

Individual records of academic dishonesty shall be kept by the Registrar's office for all students and an additional file will be maintained by the Graduate Studies office for graduate students. The only persons having immediate access to these records shall be the President, the Academic Vice President, the Director of the Student Conduct Office, the NCAA Athletic Faculty Representative (for student athletes), and the Chairperson of CAGAS (for undergraduate students) or the Chairperson of the Graduate Council (for graduate students). Any other person(s) wishing to view these files must have the permission of the Chairperson of CAGAS (for undergraduate students) or the Chairperson of the Graduate Council (for graduate students).

The purpose of this record keeping is to ensure that students who violate the University's Student Academic Integrity Policy a second time are dealt with appropriately. A second purpose is to deter students from repeating offenses.

Section VI. Interpretation of the Academic Integrity Policy

Any questions concerning the interpretation or execution of the Academic Integrity Policy will be resolved by CAGAS for undergraduate students and the Graduate Council for graduate students. CAGAS will be informed of all decisions regarding undergraduate student Academic Integrity hearings. The Graduate Council will be informed of all decisions regarding graduate student Academic Integrity hearings.

For the purposes of this policy, working days are days during which the University is open and classes are in session. Days during final exam week are considered working days. If the time allowed for any appeal under this policy extends beyond the end of the academic term in which the incident occurred, that appeal period will be extended to the end of the second week of the next fall or spring semester. Hearings may occur outside of the fall or spring semester only when all parties agree (Section IV.B.1) and there are sufficient committee members present, as outlined in Section IV.A.

All communication from appeal committees described in this policy shall be in the manner of official University communication. Students or faculty members wishing to make a request for an appeal as required in this policy may do so by e-mail to the appropriate party.

Download the Academic Integrity Incident Report (pdf)