Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Slippery Rock University

Academic Integrity Policy

This policy applies to all Slippery Rock University students except students in those academic programs that have program-specific academic integrity policies, such as the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program, Physician Assistant Studies Program, and the Doctor of Education in Special Education Program. These programs have different academic integrity policies due to accreditation agency requirements or related Pennsylvania of Department of Education requirements. Students should refer to their student handbooks for policies and procedures specific to their programs.

Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy by student organizations, and any incidents involving individual students that violate the Academic Integrity Policy and other University policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for handling under the Student Code of Conduct hearing procedures. In such matters, sanctions outlined in this Policy may be included with the sanctions imposed by the student conduct hearing board.

PURPOSE

This policy establishes the University standards and expectations for academic integrity, as well as the procedures for charges of academic dishonesty.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY EXPECTATIONS

The value of a University education is determined by the quality and character of the University’s students and graduates. Therefore, all University community members are expected to uphold the academic integrity standards embodied in this policy when engaging in academic or scholarly pursuits. All students are expected to demonstrate their mastery of subject matter in an honorable and straightforward manner in compliance with established standards and norms, and without improper use of the works of others.

It is expected that students will meet the following standards:

  • Because we seek constant new learning in each course, all academic work, including, but not limited to, papers, creative projects, computer programs, assignments, and tests, must consist of their own original work and not that from other coursework (unless the faculty member approves an exception) or from other students or other authorities not cited in full accord with an appropriate citation style (APA, MLA, CBE, etc.) consistent with the academic discipline or the instructor’s directions.
  • Students are expected to be honest in all academic work, refraining from all forms of academic dishonesty.
  • Students are responsible for understanding the difference between the generation of their own work and using artificial intelligence in the generation of work. It is the student’s, not the faculty member’s, responsibility to ensure that use of artificial intelligence is appropriate to the context of the course.
  • Students are expected to function as such, including, but not limited to, attending class regularly and completing all assignments and examinations on their own unless the faculty member notes otherwise.
  • Students are expected to learn, practice, and apply standard techniques for accurately citing resource material. It is the student's, not the faculty member's, responsibility to ensure that all material is cited.
  • Students are expected to know the difference between direct quotations and paraphrases. No one choice between direct quotations and paraphrases is inherently “better,” but if one does choose to paraphrase, then the essence of the text should be conveyed FULLY in the student’s own words and sentence structure. Citation of the IDEA is required regardless of whether a student quotes or paraphrases.
  • Students are expected to understand basic principles of respect and compliance with intellectual property law. Particularly important are those aspects of the Copyright Law of the United States that apply to academic and creative work as well as to the use of university computer resources.

VIOLATIONS DEFINED

A violation of the Academic Integrity Policy occurs where a student: engages in deceit or misrepresentation for the purpose of influencing the grading process or obtaining academic credit; engages in behavior that breaches applicable professional standards; or assists other students in evading or violating the University's Academic Integrity Policy.

Academic dishonesty may take many forms. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Buying, selling, or trading papers, projects, or other assignments.
  • Using or attempting to use any unauthorized book, notes, or assistance (for example, copying another student’s test or homework).
  • Plagiarizing and/or submitting the work of another as your own.
  • Completing class work for another person.
  • Fabricating information, research results, or citations.
  • Facilitating dishonest acts of others pertaining to academic work.
  • Conducting research with human subjects without IRB approval.
  • Conducting research with animals without IACUC approval.
  • Possessing or sharing unauthorized examinations.
  • Submitting, without instructor permission, work previously used.
  • Tampering with the academic work of another person.
  • Recording an instructor's teaching content and/or distributing a professor’s teaching content without permission.
  • Ghost-taking an exam in place of a student or having any person take an exam in your place.
  • Any attempt to falsify an assigned grade on an examination, report, or program or in a grade book, document, or other record.
  • Any attempted, or actual computer program theft, illegal use of software; illegal downloading or streaming of copyrighted media, or inappropriate use of the Internet; such as, but not limited to, illegal or unauthorized transmission; or improper access to any computer system or account.
  • Any attempted, or actual, collusion willfully giving or receiving unauthorized or unacknowledged assistance on any assignment or examination (all parties are considered responsible).
  • Forging a faculty member's or administrator’s signature on any document.
  • Copying and pasting digital media (including but not limited to, email correspondence, text, images, or other media from online sources) without proper citation, the copyright owner’s permission to use the digital media, or evidence of having performed a favorable fair use analysis.
  • Copying and pasting significant portions of digital media with or without citation.
  • Submitting work generated by artificial intelligence as your own.

PROCEDURES FOR DISPOSITION OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS

Initial Meeting

When faced with a suspected or reported academic integrity violation in the classroom, faculty will promptly inform the student of the alleged violation and will engage the student in the following process within 14 calendar days:

a. The faculty member will gather information, including documents or information provided by others, and schedule a meeting (virtually or in person) with the student.

b. During this meeting, the faculty member will share the information gathered indicating that an alleged violation has occurred and provide the student with an opportunity to respond to the information. Accepting the meeting with the faculty member, is not an indication of agreement by the student that the alleged academic integrity violation has occurred. Students should bring evidence or documentation that supports their perspective. This meeting is limited to the faculty member and the student. No audio or video recording of the meeting is allowed.

Please Note: If the student refuses to attend the meeting, or fails to respond to the email notification without reasonable excuse, the faculty member will proceed with their review of the alleged academic integrity violation. A student alleged to have violated the Academic Integrity Policy may not avoid review and disposition of the alleged violation by withdrawing from the course or refusal to respond.

Faculty Review

The faculty member will review the information gathered, including any response and information provided by the student during the initial meeting, and will take one of the following actions within five (5) calendar days of the meeting date:

a. Find that no Academic Integrity violation has occurred and close the Academic Integrity Violation process. No academic sanction is applied. The student will be notified of the finding; or

b. Find that an Academic Integrity violation has occurred and impose an academic sanction. A faculty member may impose a negative finding where the evidence supports a finding that a violation occurred and the faculty member believes, in their discretion, that no further response or information is required. Sanctions may include one or more of the following that are at the faculty member’s discretion:

  • Academic written warning
  • Developing a remediation plan for educational intervention.
  • Re-examination, re-writing the paper, re-producing the assignment by the student
  • Reduction in grade/score for the examination, paper or assignment
  • Assigning a failing grade for the assignment
  • Assigning a failing grade for the course

Where the faculty member finds a violation, they must electronically submit an Academic Integrity Violation report, the following individuals will be informed of the finding and the sanction: the student; Chair of the student’s major program; Chair of the department the course is housed; the student’s academic adviser; the Dean; Office of Student Conduct. The student will receive an electronic notification informing them of the finding, the sanction, and their appeal rights.

APPEALS

A student may appeal the finding and/or sanction of a charged violation of the Academic Integrity Policy by responding to the electronic notification. Absent extraordinary circumstances, appeals must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of transmission of the finding to the student. The student must submit their appeal electronically using the link provided in the finding notification. If a student does not submit an appeal of the finding notification within (7) calendar days of the transmission of the finding, the finding and the sanction are final.

There is only one level of appeal on academic integrity matters. No further appeals will be permitted. Where an appeal is filed, the finding and sanctions are stayed pending the appeal decision.

The student must set forth the reason for the appeal and the requested relief. Appeals are directed to the Academic Integrity Review Board (AIRB) for decision.

The Academic Integrity Review Board (“the Board”) is comprised of up to five members: the Associate Provost (or other designee appointed by the Provost); Dean of the College where the course is located, or other college dean; and three faculty members selected by the Provost from a list of faculty (5) elected by the local APSCUF unit, or if elected faculty are unavailable a college dean, whenever a board needs to be convened for a hearing. The Board will not include a referring faculty member. Only the AIRB reviews appeals.

Appeals may be made on any of the following grounds:

  • A procedural irregularity under the Academic Integrity Policy or procedures that affected the finding.
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available through the exercise of reasonable diligence at the time of the scheduled meeting with the faculty member that could affect the outcome of the alleged violation. Where an appeal is sought on this basis, the student must submit an explanation using the text box, identifying the new evidence and explaining how it would have affected the outcome.
  • The faculty member had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the student that affected the decision.
  • The academic sanction imposed was grossly disproportionate based on the alleged violation and the student’s academic record in the course.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the Associate Provost will review the appeal to determine timeliness, completeness, and appropriateness of the grounds for purposes of accepting the appeal. Appeals that are untimely, incomplete, or which raise a basis for appeal other than those permitted may be rejected.

If the appeal is accepted, the Associate Provost will convene a meeting with the AIRB to review the appeal, including the documentation, findings, and the sanction imposed.

Within seven (7) calendar days of the AIRB meeting, the AIRB will take one of the following actions:

a. Uphold the decision of the faculty member and close the Academic Integrity Violation process. The student and faculty member will be notified of the finding; or

b. Schedule a formal hearing on the alleged violation for the purpose of gathering additional evidence and making a finding on the alleged violation. The Associate Provost will communicate with the student to determine a mutually agreeable date and time for the hearing. The Associate Provost will send a written notice to the student confirming the date and time for the hearing, the matters to be reviewed at the hearing. If the student fails to respond to the request for a hearing date or fails attend the hearing, the hearing may proceed in the student’s absence.

The AIRB members will identify one member to serve as the Chair during the hearing. The Chair has the responsibility and authority to maintain an orderly proceeding, including determining what evidence may be accepted for consideration by the Board.

The student may attend the Board hearing with an advisor. An advisor is defined as an individual who may be present to support a party throughout the conduct process. The Advisor may be a member of the University Community or other individual selected by the party. The Advisor may accompany the party they are supporting to any hearing or meeting that the party is required to attend. Each party is responsible for coordinating and scheduling with their choice of Advisor.

In all Academic Integrity matters the Advisor may communicate only with the party they are supporting and may not otherwise speak for, or on behalf of, the party. The Advisor may not be a party or witness in the matter.

The student must notify the Board Chair at least two (2) days in advance of the hearing of any advisor or additional information or witnesses that they wish to present at the hearing. The student’s advisor may only consult and interact privately with the student, and may not address the board. Advisors who are disruptive to the process will be asked to leave the hearing, and the hearing will proceed in their absence.

All hearings are closed proceedings. The Board Chair may exclude witnesses from the hearing room until the appropriate time for their testimony. The Board retains the right to continue a hearing whenever necessary and appropriate. All matters upon which the finding will be based must be placed into evidence at the hearing.

Within 21 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Board will issue a written finding on the alleged violation, setting forth the facts and reasons for the finding.

The AIRB may take one of the following actions:

  • Uphold the finding and the sanction imposed;
  • Uphold the finding that a violation occurred, but modify the sanction as deemed appropriate by the Board;
  • Reverse the finding on the academic integrity violation, enter a finding that no violation occurred, and remove the sanction imposed

In the event that the Board upholds a finding that a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy occurred, but modifies the sanction, the Board may impose the following sanctions:

  • Academic written warning
  • Developing a remediation plan for educational intervention.
  • Re-examination, re-writing the paper, re-producing the assignment by the student
  • Reduction in grade/score for the examination, paper or assignment
  • Assigning a failing grade for the assignment
  • Assigning a failing grade for the course
  • Academic probation
  • Academic suspension
  • Academic dismissal

ACADEMIC PROBATION: When subject to academic probation due to an Academic Integrity violation, the student will be placed on probation for one semester. Students who are placed on probation at the end of summer or winter session will be continued on probation for the following semester and will not be suspended/dismissed. A student on probation will return to satisfactory academic standing at the end of the semester

ACADEMIC SUSPENSION: First Time Suspension: Student(s) on academic suspension for the first time will not be able to register for or attend classes at the University for one semester. Summer Term and Winter Intersession do not count as a semester for suspension purposes. Second Time Suspension: Student(s) on academic suspension for the second time will not be able to register for or attend classes for two semesters. Summer Term and Winter Intersession do not count as a semester for suspension purposes

ACADEMIC DISMISSAL: Student’s on academic suspension for violating the Academic Integrity policy for the third time will be dismissed from the University. The student will be dismissed for at least three years, and after that time only special cases will be considered by the Academic Standards Committee (Assistants to the Deans of each college and the Assistant to the Associate Provost for Enrollment Services). Academic dismissal is imposed only in very serious cases or in response to progressive discipline involving an academic separation from the Student’s major and/or minor program and may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for further handling under the Student Code of Conduct hearing procedures.

The following individuals will be informed of the Board’s determination: the student; the Provost; the Associate Provost; Chair of the student’s major program; Chair of the department the course is housed; the student’s academic adviser; the Dean; Office of Student Conduct. No further appeal is permitted.

RIGHTS AND INTERPRETATION

This policy does not create rights in any person. This policy should be interpreted to have sufficient flexibility to be consistent with law and to permit the accomplishment of the purpose(s) of the policies of the University.

Presented to Academic Affairs Executive Council, December 7, 2011

Presented at Meet and Discuss, April 18, 2012

Approved by the Provost, July 27, 2012Amended and approved by the Dean’s Council, March 4, 2020

Amended and approved by the Dean’s Council August 7, 2020

Amended and approved by the Academic Leadership Council December 5, 2023