Academic Honesty

This policy may be changed only by action of the Faculty Assembly. Georgian Court strives to be a moral community with ethical convictions. Academic integrity is essential to collegial pursuit of truth and knowledge and gives the Georgian Court community credibility. The principles of academic integrity demand the commitment of all persons at Georgian Court. Georgian Court expects the highest standards of integrity from its students in their academic pursuits.

Dishonesty in any work is regarded as a serious offense and may result in failure in the course and dismissal from Georgian Court. Anyone who willfully assists another in the breach of integrity is held equally responsible and subject to the same penalty.

Academic dishonesty is any act of cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, abuse of resources, forgery of academic documents, dissimulation, or sabotage, or any act of aiding and abetting academic dishonesty. In cases where academic integrity is in question, the following definitions and policies shall apply:

  1. Cheating is using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, copying homework, copying someone else’s test, or using an unauthorized “cheat sheet.”
  2. Fabrication is the falsification of any information or citation in any academic exercise, including, but not limited to, making up a source, giving an incorrect citation, or misquoting a source. Fabrication includes falsification of information on any application for any academic program.
  3. Plagiarism is representation of the work of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. Plagiarism includes failing to give a citation when using work from any other person or source. Work may include, but is not limited to, words, ideas, data, and/or images.
  4. Dissimulation is the disguising or altering of one’s own actions so as to deceive another about the real nature of one’s actions concerning an academic exercise. Examples include, but are not limited to, fabricating excuses for behavior such as missing classes, postponing tests, or handing in late papers; or turning in a paper for one class that was originally written for another class.
  5. Abuse of resources is damaging any resource material or inappropriately limiting access to resource material that is necessary for academic work. Abuse includes, but is not limited to, hiding library materials; removing non-circulating material from the library; failing to return library materials when requested; or hiding or stealing another person’s textbook, notes, or academic resources.
  6. Forgery of academic documents is the unauthorized changing or construction of any academic documents such as transcripts, grade books, or work submitted for a course.
  7. Sabotage is the damaging or impeding of another’s academic work. Examples include but are not limited to ruining another’s lab work, damaging another’s electronic data, or destroying another’s term paper.
  8. Aiding and abetting academic dishonesty is facilitating any act defined above.

Procedures for Dealing with Academic Dishonesty

Any faculty member who perceives or is informed of academic dishonesty initiates the process by first informing the student and attempting to set up a meeting to discuss the evidence and significance of the alleged infraction. If the instructor determines that a penalty (e.g., lowered grade for assignment, 0 for assignment) should be exacted, the incident must be reported to the dean of the school in which the violation occurred. The instructor and the student sign a form describing the alleged infraction, verifying that the meeting took place, and specifying the penalty that the instructor exacted. Within ten (10) working days of the meeting with the student, the instructor shall submit the signed form, along with the evidence, to his or her school dean, who shall record the names of the student and instructor, the semester and the course, and the penalty that was exacted. The instructor shall also send a copy of the form to the instructor’s department chair and the chair or program director of the student’s major(s). The school dean shall file documentation in the Office of the Provost. Electronic files are accessible only to individuals authorized by the provost. These records are accessible to deans of all schools.

If the instructor and student are not able to meet, the instructor shall complete the form; the instructor shall inform the student by GCU e-mail about the penalty exacted, if any, and indicate that the infraction has been reported to the school dean. When recording the infraction, the school dean shall consult the confidential records to determine if the student charged with violating the Academic Honesty Policy has been charged with academic dishonesty on one or more prior occasions. If the dean judges that the combined evidence of current and previous infractions warrants, the school dean may exact an institutional penalty such as a plan of academic tutoring and support, suspension, or dismissal. Within ten (10) working days, the school dean shall inform the student by GCU e-mail of any institutional penalty.

If the student does not appeal the charge or the penalty suggested by the instructor and, if applicable, the dean, no further action is necessary. The school dean maintains the records and the evidence until seven years after the student leaves the institution.

Appeals

A student has the right to appeal a charge of dishonesty or the severity of a penalty through an academic integrity panel.

To initiate an appeal, the student must submit a letter of appeal to the dean of students within ten (10) working days of being informed by the instructor or the school dean. The dean of students shall convene the academic integrity panel. Members of the academic integrity panel are chosen from a pool of volunteers who are willing to serve on the committee on an ad hoc basis, based on availability and lack of connection with the case. The panel shall consist of one full-time faculty member from each school, one student from each school, and one at-large full-time faculty member selected by the other panel members. The at-large faculty member shall serve as chair of the panel and votes only if there is a tie. The students and faculty members on the panel are selected from those who regularly take or teach undergraduate or graduate courses, consistent with the accused student’s status.

The chair of the panel shall set the time and place of the meeting, which should normally occur within fifteen (15) working days from the date the dean of students receives the written appeal from the student. The panel shall examine the evidence. In the hearing, the student may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice and may call witnesses but no legal counsel, since this is an academic matter. The advisor may not participate in the hearing. If the meeting is to appeal an instructor’s accusation or penalty, the instructor has the option to appear before the panel to explain evidence presented. The instructor may also opt not to attend. The instructor shall have no vote. If the meeting is to appeal an institutional penalty exacted or recommended by a school dean, that dean has the option to appear before the panel to explain evidence presented. The dean may also opt not to attend. The dean shall have no vote.

Hearings shall be recorded or transcribed and kept in the Office of the Dean of Students. A copy of such material shall be available to the student. The chair of the panel shall report the panel’s recommendation to sustain or reject the student’s appeal with explanation by GCU e-mail and in writing to the provost within two (2) working days. The provost’s decision is final and shall be issued within ten (10) working days to the student, with copies sent to the school dean, department chair, faculty member, dean of students, and chair of the panel.

Sanctions

When a student is found in violation of the university’s Academic Dishonesty Policy, one or a combination of the following sanctions may be imposed.

  • Reduction of grade on the assignment
  • Zero on the assignment
  • Course grade of F
  • Verbal and/or written warning
  • Educational remediation
  • Counseling remediation
  • Probation
  • Suspension from the university
  • Dismissal from the university