Academic Integrity Policy
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted January 2016; Revised February 2016; July 2016; February 2020; April 14, 2021
The purpose of the Academic Integrity Policy is to provide students, faculty, and staff with guidelines about expectations for academic integrity, what behaviors violate academic integrity, and the process for addressing academic integrity issues. McNeese State University seeks to strengthen the value of student academic achievement by fostering a learning environment which is based on honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility, accountability, and excellence in the search for truth and knowledge. The University expects members of its academic community to uphold the policy for academic integrity.
Definitions Related to the Academic Integrity Policy
Cheating: Cheating is defined as the act of giving unauthorized assistance to or receiving unauthorized assistance from another individual or other source for the purpose of completing academic assignments or other requirements. Plagiarism includes using another’s writing, ideas, or work as one’s own and is considered cheating. Academic requirements include, but are not limited to, completion of homework, tests, projects, research assignments, written papers, or other course requirements. A cheating violation may result in a penalty imposed by the academic department (instructor, department, or college dean) and/or may be referred to the dean of student services for review. The dean of student services may investigate the matter or refer it to the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee.
Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to:
- during an examination or when completing assignments, receiving or giving information that aides in answering examination questions or completing the assignment unless the assignment is specifically designed by the instructor for group participation and collaborative work;
- allowing another student to copy work or view examination answers;
- plagiarizing or representing another person’s work (published or unpublished) as one’s own without appropriate citations (in some cases specific course guidelines may more thoroughly define plagiarism and/or what constitutes other forms of cheating);
- copying all or part of another’s work and claiming it as one’s own without appropriate citations;
- copying all or parts of information (either word for word or with interchanging words) without citing the source;
- obtaining, distributing, or referring to a copy of an examination which the instructor and/or department has not authorized to be made available for such purpose;
- submitting work that has been previously or is being concurrently used in a different class by oneself or by another student. (Special written permission from the instructor who assigns work must be obtained to develop work for a class which was prepared for another class.);
- misrepresentation of data for any purpose; and/or
- other examples of academic misconduct such as, but not limited to, viewing inappropriate sources to gain assistance during an examination, allowing another person to complete exams or assignments, or creating and sharing inappropriate sources for use in examinations.
Falsification: Falsification is defined as altering official University documents, forging signatures of University officials or any other individual, or any attempt to misrepresent official documents or records. Falsification is a violation of policy, and, when there is reason to believe falsification has occurred, the issue is referred to the dean of student services who will determine if the case should be presented to the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee or handled otherwise.
Unauthorized Access: Unauthorized access refers to acquiring or forcing unauthorized access to property, information, academic resources or materials which belong to another person or department. Materials may belong to another student, a faculty or staff member, or the University and can be acquired in any form. Allowing an unauthorized user to access University software by sharing login credentials for any University account also qualifies as a violation of this policy. Unauthorized access is a violation of policy, and, when there is reason to believe unauthorized access has occurred, the issue is referred to the dean of student services who will determine if the case should be presented to the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee or handled otherwise.
Reporting Violations of Academic Integrity
- Violations of cheating or plagiarism may be handled at the discretion of the faculty member, department head, and/or dean according to the violation reporting flow chart.
- Repetitive violations of cheating or plagiarism and violations including falsification or unauthorized access should be reported to the dean of student services using the Academic Integrity Reporting Form.
- If the faculty member handles the situation, violations of academic integrity and the penalty imposed by faculty should be reported in writing by the faculty member to the academic department head and the Office of Student Services using the Academic Integrity Reporting Form.
- A student or non-faculty employee wishing to report a violation of academic integrity should inform the appropriate instructor or the dean of student services.
Consequences for Violations of Academic Integrity
- Withdrawal from a course may not supersede any disciplinary measures imposed by the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee. Failing grades may be retroactively assigned when cheating or academic dishonesty are detected after course grades are posted or after a student withdraws from a course or withdraws, resigns, or graduates from the University. A failing grade assigned after a student graduates that effects that student’s eligibility to graduate may result in revocation of a degree.
- Academic misconduct by a student is determined by the faculty member under whom such misconduct occurs. Instructors have the option of presenting possible academic integrity violations directly to the dean of student services who will determine if the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee should hear the case.
- The penalty for cheating or plagiarism, which is determined by the faculty member, may include an F on the specific assessment (quiz, test, project, etc.), lowered grade, F in the course, or other reasonable consequence. If a student enrolled in a graduate program earns a final grade of F in the course, the student will be suspended from the graduate program.
- An accused student may opt to accept the penalty imposed by a faculty member or may appeal according to the Academic Integrity Reporting Form. Matters unresolved in the academic unit may be appealed to the dean of student services for a hearing by the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee. Committee decisions are binding on all parties.
- The University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee may confirm an instructor’s penalty, modify an instructor’s penalty, and/or move to impose other penalties including suspension or dismissal from the University. Penalties imposed and/or confirmed by the committee may be appealed for procedural review only. In cases of suspension of one year or more and in cases of dismissal, students may appeal for a procedural review only to the University president and then through processes specified by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. A student dismissed from the graduate program must appeal first to the Graduate Council which may conduct a review of the case or confirm the committee decision.
- If the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee finds that no academic integrity violation has occurred, the instructor must work with the committee and college dean or graduate school director to adjust the student’s grade as appropriate.
Cases involving falsification (Student Code 3.18), unauthorized access (Student Handbook Code 3.36), or other Student Code of Conduct violations must be submitted to the dean of student services for further investigation and possible sanctioning. The dean of student services will also determine if a hearing by University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee is appropriate. The penalty for falsification or unauthorized access may be determined by the dean of student services or the University Conduct and Academic Integrity Committee.
This policy is distributed via routine communications to students, course syllabi, and the University Policies webpage.