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Academic Integrity Policy

WVU Policy on Student Academic Integrity

  1. Purpose and Scope.

    1. This sets forth the Student Academic Integrity Policy at West Virginia University and sets forth necessary requirements for any procedures necessary to resolve those allegations.
    2. This Policy applies to all incidents of Academic Dishonesty by all students, as defined in Section 8.9 of this policy, at West Virginia University. This includes West Virginia University Institute of Technology and West Virginia University Potomac State College (collectively the “University”), but excludes graduate students in the following programs:
      1. School of Dentistry
        1. Doctor of Dental Surgery
        2. Master of Science in Endodontics
        3. Master of Science in Orthodontics
        4. Master of Science in Periodontics
        5. Master of Science in Prosthodontics
      2. School of Medicine
        1. Doctor of Medicine
        2. Doctor of Physical Therapy
        3. Master of Health Science in Pathologists’ Assistant
        4. Master of Occupational Therapy
        5. Physician Assistant Studies
      3. School of Pharmacy
        1. Doctor of Pharmacy
      4. College of Law
        1. Doctor of Jurisprudence
        2. Master of Laws
    3. This Policy does not address routine grade appeals not based on a specific instance of Academic Dishonesty. Those appeals are handled in accordance with the West Virginia University Academic Catalog.
  2. Prohibited Conduct

    1. Academic Dishonesty means Plagiarism; Cheating; Fabrication or Falsification; Other Prohibited Academic Conduct; and Facilitation as it relates to academic or educational matters.
      1. Plagiarism means the theft or unauthorized use of work, typically created by another. It includes but is not limited to: (a) the use of another’s words, ideas, or media – whether published or unpublished, partial or complete, by paraphrase or direct quotation – without complete and accurate acknowledgement; (b) the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another individual, including an individual engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials; or (c) repeated submission of one’s own work, specifically submission of the same material in multiple courses or iterations of a course, without the instructor’s express permission.
      2. Cheating means reliance on unauthorized resources, in connection with examinations or Academic Assignments. It includes but is not limited to: (a) collaboration with peers beyond that authorized by the instructor in the completion of an examination or Academic Assignment; (b) cheating on an examination or Academic Assignment, by either (i) utilizing unauthorized physical or technological resources (e.g., cheat sheets, online resources), or (ii) receiving unauthorized personal assistance (e.g., copying from another student); or (c) the acquisition or use, without permission, of examinations or other academic material belonging to a member of the University faculty or staff.
      3. Fabrication or Falsification means acts of misrepresentation, forgery, or fraud as they relate to academic or educational matters. It includes but is not limited to: (a) fabricating or falsifying citations, data, or other records; (b) wrongfully fabricating or falsifying attendance or participation records for a University course or in an experiential or clinical setting; (c) wrongfully fabricating or altering an educational record (e.g., admission, grade, or attendance record) after it has been created; (d) use of University documents or instruments of identification for fraudulent purposes (e.g., impersonation of another student); or (e) knowingly furnishing false statements in any University academic proceeding.
      4. Other Prohibited Academic Conduct means (a) engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by a faculty member in the course syllabus; or (b) violating other departmental, college, or university academic standards, and/or legal or professional standards.
      5. Facilitation means (a) providing unauthorized materials or personal assistance to another student when such assistance allows them to commit Academic Dishonesty; or (b) compelling someone else to commit Academic Dishonesty on one’s behalf.
  3. Administration of Policy.

    1. The Director of Academic Integrity, in conjunction with the Offices of the Provost and Student Conduct, shall serve as the Administrators of this Policy for the University and shall be available to assist any student, staff member, faculty member, or administrator in understanding and applying this Policy.
    2. The Provost, as the University’s Chief Academic Officer and the President’s designee on academic matters, shall approve any amendments to this Policy.
  4. Initial Review of Incidents of Academic Dishonesty.

    1. Formal complaints of Academic Dishonesty shall be filed (via the Academic Dishonesty Form (ADF)) with the Director of Academic Integrity by any Authorized Reporter (typically the Instructor of Record). Complaints should be submitted to the Director within ten (10) academic days following discovery of the alleged incident of Academic Dishonesty.
      1. In cases where Academic Dishonesty occurs outside of a course, the Authorized Reporter may be another member of the University faculty or staff. In such cases, Course-Level Sanctions may not be applied, and the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process will be followed.
      2. Regardless of whether a formal complaint is ever filed, allegations of Academic Dishonesty, from any credible source (including both University employees and students, or others with direct knowledge), may be reviewed by the Director of Academic Integrity.
      3. Allegations of Academic Dishonesty will not be investigated more than one (1) year after the alleged misconduct took place or after the alleged misconduct should have been discovered, unless good cause is shown for the delay and an extension is granted by the Director of Academic Integrity.
    2. Upon receipt of the ADF from an Authorized Reporter, the Director of Academic Integrity shall review the ADF to determine if the matter should be handled through the Course-Level Process or the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
      1. If (i) the Accused Student has no prior instances of Academic Dishonesty on record, and/or (ii) there are no aggravating factors that potentially warrant more serious sanctions, the allegations of Academic Dishonesty will be handled through the Course-Level Process.
      2. If (i) the Accused Student has prior instances of Academic Dishonesty on record, and/or (ii) there are aggravating factors that potentially warrant more serious sanctions, the allegations of Academic Dishonesty will be handled through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
      3. Aggravating factors to consider in determining which process the Accused Student shall proceed through include, but are not limited to: the seriousness of the allegations; the potential scope; the student’s alleged intent, i.e., whether there was any planning or coordination; the potential impact on other students; whether there was any financial gain; and whether sophisticated methods were allegedly utilized.
    3. After initial evaluation the Director of Academic Integrity will inform the Authorized Reporter of the appropriate process for the Accused Student. However, should certain aggravating factors be subsequently revealed during the Course-Level Process, the University reserves the right to resolve the matter through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
  5. Course-Level Process.

    1. Application. The sanctions available through the Course-Level Process are educational and/or remedial sanctions (including Required Repetition of the Academic Assignment), Reduced Grade on the Academic Assignment or Course, and Failure of the Academic Assignment or Course.
      1. If the Authorized Reporter believes more serious academic sanctions (e.g., Unforgivable Failure of the Course) are warranted, the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process must be followed.
    2. Notice of Charge. If it is reasonable to believe that a violation of this Policy has occurred, the Authorized Reporter shall prepare a written charge of the alleged conduct the Authorized Reporter believes constitutes Academic Dishonesty.
      1. The Charge shall be addressed to the student who allegedly violated this Policy and shall include a brief outline of the specific allegations upon which the Charge is based and proposed sanctions which will result if the Accused Student is found responsible.
      2. Within ten (10) academic days of discovery of the alleged incident, the Charge shall be delivered electronically to the Accused Student through the University’s designated student e-mail system and, if necessary, by any other means reasonably designed to ensure the Accused Student receives it.
      3. The Charge shall identify a date and time (no later than ten (10) academic days from the date of the Charge) by which the Accused Student may present evidence to the Instructor to determine whether the Accused Student is responsible for violating this Policy as accused.
    3. Opportunity to Present Evidence. During a Course-Level Process, an Accused Student will have an opportunity to present evidence to the Authorized Reporter to determine whether the Accused Student is responsible for violating this Policy as accused. This may be done through written submission of information electronically, or orally via a telephone or web-based conference or an in-person meeting (to be summarized by the Authorized Reporter in writing). After ten (10) academic days, if a student fails to respond to a Notice of Charge or does not present any information in response, a Notice of Outcome shall be sent.
    4. Notice of Outcome. After consideration of the evidence, the student is entitled to written notification of the outcome. The Authorized Reporter’s determination of responsibility shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence. Each Outcome Letter (which will be issued by the Director of Academic Integrity) shall plainly state the decision and the rationale for the decision; in the event that the student is found responsible for any part of the Charge, the Outcome Letter will include a brief statement of the facts relied upon by the Authorized Reporter, the assigned sanction, and an explanation of appeal rights.
    5. Withdrawal. An Accused Student is not permitted to withdraw from the course, either between submission of the Notice of Charge and Notice of Outcome, or after submission of the Notice of Outcome (if the Accused Student is held responsible and a grade sanction is applied).
    6. Appeal.
      1. The Accused Student shall have ten (10) academic days to appeal in writing this Outcome Letter to the Dean (or designee) of the Authorized Reporter’s College or School. If the student does not submit an appeal within the prescribed time, the sanction(s) will be applied, no appeal will be considered, and the matter will be concluded.
      2. A written appeal and supporting documents, if any, shall be submitted (in accordance with the instructions in the Outcome Letter) to the Office of the Dean of the Authorized Reporter’s College or School with a copy to the Director of Academic Integrity.
      3. Grade-based sanctions are not stayed pending appeal but may be reversed if warranted based on the Dean’s decision.
      4. Grounds for appeal include claims that the decision (1) was arbitrary, capricious, or prejudiced academic evaluation; (2) was clearly unreasonable based on the information presented by the Authorized Reporter; (3) reflects discrimination based on any criteria prohibited by the University; (4) shows an unreasonable severity of the penalty; (5) contained demonstrable prejudice in the decision-making process; or (6) failed to consider additional or new information that was not available throughout the process.
      5. The student may be accompanied to any appeal proceeding or be advised by a person of his or her choice from the University. Advisors may participate in the proceedings consistent with the instructions of the individual or committee conducting the appeal.
      6. The Dean or designee shall consider the appeal and deliver a decision within ten (10) Academic Days of receipt of such appeal, except where adherence to such time period would be impracticable, in which case such time period shall be extended as warranted by the particular circumstances. Any such delays will be communicated via WVU email to the student and the Director of Academic Integrity within the initial ten (10) day time period.
      7. The Dean may decide to: (a) deny the appeal; (b) modify, reduce or otherwise limit the sanction(s) imposed (more severe sanctions may not be imposed on appeal by the Dean); or (c) grant the appeal in its entirety.
      8. Once the Dean has issued a decision, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.
  6. Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.

    1. Application. The sanctions available through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process include the course-level sanctions previously described, as well as Unforgivable Failure of the Course, Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation, Probation, Deferred Suspension, Suspension, Dismissal from an Academic Program, and/or Expulsion. Responsibility for determination and assignment of sanctions is delineated as follows:
      1. Course-Level Sanctions. The Authorized Reporter will determine the appropriate course-level sanction, ranging from educational and/or remedial sanctions to failure of the course.
      2. Unforgivable Failure of the Course/Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation. Course-level sanctions that result in a permanent record (e.g., Unforgivable Failure of the Course) or separation (e.g., Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation) must be recommended by the Authorized Reporter, who may only assign these sanctions if authorization is given by the Director of Academic Integrity and/or the Adjudicator (in cases that result in a Hearing).
      3. Dismissal from an Academic Program. Departmental- or college-level sanctions (e.g., dismissal from an academic program) may not be independently assigned by the relevant department chair or dean but must be recommended by them. Authorization for such sanctions will be given by the Director of Academic Integrity and/or the Adjudicator (in cases that result in a Hearing).
      4. Other Sanctions. All other sanctions available through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process will be assigned by the Director of Academic Integrity, or in cases that result in a Hearing, by the Adjudicator.
    2. Conduct Process. The Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process will be conducted in accordance with the hearing provisions applicable to all student conduct violations and set forth in Section 9 of the Student Conduct Code, with the following differences:
      1. Participation. The Authorized Reporter will be permitted to participate actively in the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process, including both formal and informal proceedings. Responsibilities in this process will be delineated as follows:
        1. Investigation. The Director of Academic Integrity will oversee the investigation of each formal complaint or allegation of misconduct, and the Authorized Reporter shall provide assistance as necessary during this investigation.
        2. Notice of the Charge. The Director of Academic Integrity will prepare and provide a written charge of alleged prohibited conduct (“Charge”) to the accused student.
        3. Determination and Assignment of Sanctions. The Authorized Reporter will be required to provide active input into sanctions, following the guidelines for responsibility outlined in Section 6.1.
        4. Resolution of the Case. Beyond participation in the investigation and determination/assignment of sanctions, the Authorized Reporter may be asked by the Director of Academic Integrity to participate in either formal or informal proceedings to resolve the case (as described in Section 9 of the Student Code of Conduct). When such a request is made, the Authorized Reporter is expected to participate fully and as needed.
      2. Grade in Course Following Results of Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
        1. If the Accused Student is found “not responsible” for Academic Dishonesty through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process, the Instructor of Record shall give the student the appropriate grade in the course as if no allegation of Academic Dishonesty had been made, subject to the other objective academic criteria applicable to the Academic Assignment.
        2. If the Accused Student is found “responsible” for Academic Dishonesty through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process, the Instructor of Record may elect to give the student a grade sanction ranging from a reduced grade on the assignment to failure of the course. The Instructor of Record may also recommend Unforgivable Failure of the Course or Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation, subject to the limitations listed in Section 6.1.2).
      3. Appeal.
        1. Students who have violated this Policy, as determined through the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process, may appeal the decision and/or the imposed sanction within ten (10) academic days from the date that the Outcome Letter is sent. If the student does not submit an appeal within the prescribed time, the sanction(s) will be applied, no appeal will be considered, and the matter will be concluded.
        2. A written appeal and supporting documents, if any, shall be submitted (in accordance with the instructions in the Outcome Letter) to the Office of the Provost with a copy to the Director of Academic Integrity.
        3. Sanctions received that consist of Expulsion, Suspension, Deferred Suspension, Dismissal from Academic Program, Probation, Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation, or Unforgiveable Failure in the Course are stayed pending the appeal. However, the specific grade on the assignment or in the course (as assigned by the Instructor of Record) is not stayed pending appeal.
        4. Grounds for appeal include claims that the decision (1) was arbitrary, capricious, or prejudiced academic evaluation; (2) was clearly unreasonable based on the information presented throughout the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process; (3) reflects discrimination based on any criteria prohibited by the University; (4) shows an unreasonable severity of the penalty; (5) contained demonstrable prejudice in the decision-making process; (6) failed to consider additional or new information that was not available throughout the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
        5. The Provost shall consider the appeal and deliver a decision within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of such appeal, except where adherence to such time period would be impracticable, in which case such time period shall be extended as warranted by the particular circumstances. Any such delays will be communicated via WVU email to the student and the Director of Academic Integrity within the initial thirty (30) day time period.
        6. The Provost may decide to: (a) deny the appeal; (b) modify, reduce or otherwise limit the sanction(s) imposed (more severe sanctions may not be imposed on appeal by the Provost); (c) grant the appeal in its entirety; or (d) remand the matter to the Director of Academic Integrity to provide a new proceeding, or allow the student to have his or her case handled beginning at any specific stage of the Academic Dishonesty Conduct Process.
        7. Once the Provost has issued a decision, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.
  7. Potential Sanctions.

    1. The University will impose a sanction that is fair and proportional under the circumstances. To that end, a student found responsible for Academic Dishonesty shall be subject to sanctions commensurate with the offense with consideration given to any aggravating and mitigating circumstances, including past incidents of Academic Dishonesty.
    2. Sanctions available for violations of this Policy include any of the following:
      1. Remedial and/or Educational Sanctions: Community service, educational classes, and other work or research projects may be imposed by the Director of Academic Integrity instead of or in addition to the specified sanctions.
      2. Required Repetition of the Academic Assignment: Revision or repetition of the particular Academic Assignment at issue.
      3. Reduced Grade on Academic Assignment or Course: A reduced grade for the particular Academic Assignment or course at issue.
      4. Failure of Academic Assignment or Course: A grade of an “F” for the particular assignment or course at issue.
      5. Unforgivable Failure of the Course: A final grade of an Unforgivable Failure designates that the failure occurred for academic dishonesty. When an Unforgivable Failure is assigned, a student may repeat the course, but the undergraduate (and where applicable the graduate or professional school) D/F repeat process will not be applied. A permanent record will appear on the student’s transcript, and the F will be permanently factored into the student’s GPA.
      6. Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation: A final grade of an “F” for the course at issue and where the student is prohibited from continued enrollment or participation in the course for the duration of the semester.
      7. Disciplinary Probation: A written reprimand for Academic Dishonesty that specifies a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if, during the designated probationary period, the student violates or fails to comply with any rules or policies of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, with institutional or campus rules and regulations or with directives issued by any University official acting in the course of his or her authorized duties.
      8. Deferred Suspension: The student will be given a certain set of expectations, but any suspension will be deferred and does not go into effect as long as the student complies with all requirements during the interim period. In those cases where the student completes all expectations during the interim period, the student’s record will show that the sanction was never imposed. In the event that a student fails to comply with a sanction and the Director of Academic Integrity has decided to seek the suspension, the student will be given written notice of the apparent failure to comply and of the intent to suspend, and provided an opportunity to be heard prior to a final decision, consistent with this Policy.
      9. Disciplinary Suspension: Separation of the student from the University for a specified period of time. Permanent notification will appear on the student’s transcript. The student may be denied access to University premises and to all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, provided that such restrictions are stipulated in the Outcome Letter and bear a reasonable relationship to the violation. Suspended time will not count against any time limits for completion of a degree. If a student is suspended, the student will not receive a refund of any tuition or fees that have been paid to the University. Any student who is serving a suspension may be subject to a review and evaluation meeting prior to re-enrolling to ensure that all conditions of the suspension have been satisfied and that the student is prepared for return. A student who receives a period of suspension as a disciplinary sanction is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that takes place during the period of suspension.
      10. Dismissal from an Academic Program: Termination of student status, including any right or privilege to receive some benefit or recognition or certification, from a specific academic program. A student may be academically dismissed from any program and remain eligible to enroll in courses in other programs at the institution.
      11. Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the University. Permanent notification will appear on the student’s transcript. The student may be denied access to University premises, provided that such restrictions are stipulated in the Outcome Letter and bear a reasonable relationship to the violation. If a student is expelled, the student will not receive a refund of any tuition or fees that have been paid to the University.
      12. Other Sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified, where those sanctions bear a reasonable relationship to the nature and severity of the violation. For example, permanent transcript notations may be utilized in serious cases of academic dishonesty.
    3. Interim Measures and Interim Suspension.
      1. Interim Measures. When the alleged actions of a student threaten the operations or safety of the University, interim measures may be put into place by the Director of Academic Integrity. Interim measures are administrative directives that are intended to insure the safety of the University and prevent a situation from escalating; they are not disciplinary in nature.
      2. Interim Suspension. If the Director of Academic Integrity has reasonable cause to believe that a student’s presence on University premises presents: (a) a significant risk of substantial harm to the student, other individuals, or property; or (b) an ongoing threat of disrupting the normal operations of the University, then the matter should be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.
  8. Definitions

    1. "Accused Student” means a student who has received a Notice of Charge regarding an alleged violation of this Policy.
    2. "Academic Assignment” is defined as a quiz, test, examination, paper, report, problem set, project, or any other academic exercise conducted for a grade or other credit.
    3. "Academic Days” means any day that the University is open for instruction of students, which includes finals and summer terms, but does not include the winter term. If classes are canceled for the entire campus, for any portion of a day, the day will not be deemed an academic day.
    4. "Dean" means the Dean of a College or School or designee, including a committee.
    5. "Director of Academic Integrity” means the Director of Academic Integrity or designee.
    6. "Authorized Reporter” means a member of the University faculty or staff who is in a position (e.g., Instructor of Record, Course Coordinator, Department Chair) to be aware of violations of Academic Dishonesty and to file a formal complaint. In cases where the Instructor of Record is no longer employed by WVU, another departmental representative will be identified as the Authorized Reporter and will serve as a proxy.
    7. "Instructor of Record” means the faculty member or graduate teaching assistant responsible for the course or course section in which the Academic Dishonesty is alleged to have occurred.
    8. "Provost" means the Provost of West Virginia University or designee.
    9. "Student" means all persons taking or auditing courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies; persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission; or persons who are living in University supervised housing at any time, even if not enrolled at the University. A person will continue to be a “Student” until such status is terminated upon the occurrence of one or more of the following events:
      1. Graduation (without any indication of intent to pursue post graduate activities at the University during the following semester);
      2. Voluntary withdrawal of the student from West Virginia University; or
      3. Involuntary dismissal (or other withdrawal of the student initiated by the University) from all programs and activities of the University, and the exhaustion of all internal grievance procedures to redress the dismissal or withdrawal (if applicable).
  9. Responsibilities.

    1. Interpretation - Responsibility for interpretation of this Policy rests with the Provost or designee.
    2. Application - The Director of Academic Integrity may implement additional procedures for further guidance and practical application of this Policy, which may include designated time frames and other procedural matters related to an Academic Dishonesty hearing, and the factors that should be considered in determining the appropriate sanctions.
  10. Authority and References.

    1. West Virginia University Board of Governors Academics Rule 2.5, Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  11. Supercedes.

    1. This Policy supersedes all other policies, procedures or guidelines at the University to the extent those documents are inconsistent with and fall under the scope of this Policy.