​Academic Honesty

Date of Adoption

July 2000

Effective Date of Last Review

August 1, 2020

Date of Last Review

​September 2019

Date of Next Review

​September 2026

Custodian of Policy

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy

As members of this University community, students assume the responsibility to fulfill their academic obligations in a fair and honest manner. This responsibility includes but is not limited to avoiding inappropriate activities such as plagiarism, cheating or collusion. Students found responsible for one or more of these activities may face both academic sanctions (such as lowering a grade, failing an
assignment, failing of a course, removal from an academic program, etc.) and disciplinary sanctions (such as probation, suspension, or expulsion).

It is the intent of Minnesota State University, Mankato to encourage a sense of integrity on the part of students in fulfilling their academic requirements. To give students a better understanding of behaviors that may constitute academic dishonesty, the following definitions are provided.

Plagiarism: Submission of an academic assignment as one’s own work, which includes critical ideas or written narrative that are taken from another author without the proper citation. This applies both to direct quotes and to critical ideas paraphrased by the student. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

-submitting the work of others as your own;
-submitting others’ work as your own with only minor changes;
-submitting others’ work as your own without adequate footnotes, quotations, and other reference forms; or
-multiple submission of the same work, written or oral, for more than one course without both instructor’s permission, or making minor revisions on work which has received credit
and submitting it again as new work.

Cheating: Use of unauthorized material or assistance to help fulfill academic assignments. This material could include unauthorized copies of test materials, calculators, electronics, crib sheets, help from another student, etc.

Collusion: The act of students working together in a dishonest manner to fulfill an assignment.

Procedure

As this policy refers to academic obligations, the process will be managed in the academic department(s), college(s) and the Office of Academic Affairs.

Step 1: When a faculty member suspects that an incident in violation of academic honesty has taken place, the faculty member shall;

  • Alert the student to the alleged violation of the academic honesty policy
  • Present to the student evidence in support of the allegation
  • Offer to meet with the student to discuss the alleged violation of the academic honesty policy
  • Maintain copies of all the evidence and a record of the meeting with the student.

After alerting the student to the alleged violation, and meeting with the student (if the student wishes to meet), the faculty member will make the following determination.

  • No corrective action--alleged incident did not meet the criteria of a violation of academic honesty.
  • No corrective action--in the opinion of the faculty member the incident is best dealt with by additional education about the academic honesty policy.
  • Assign a grade of F to the assignment and/or record zero (0) points for the assignment
  • Drop the student from the course with a grade of F for the course
  • Drop the student from the course with a grade of F for the course and move to have the student dismissed from the program

In instances where departments have already established policies and practices for addressing academic honesty violations, the faculty member will follow those existing policies and practices.

Step 2: Student appeal process:

  • Following the decision by the faculty member to implement the corrective action, the student may appeal the decision of the faculty member to the department chair. As part of this appeal, the department chair will:
    • Meet with the student and the faculty member to review the allegation, the evidence and discuss with both parties the allegation and the corrective action. Following this meeting, the department chair will:
      • Support the faculty member’s corrective action or
      • Suggest an alternative corrective action
    • This meeting must take place within 10 days of the faculty member’s decision. In instances where the 10 day limit would fall outside of duty days for faculty, the time limit will be expanded (for example, over the winter break or over summer)
  • Appeal the decision of the Chair to the Dean of the College (or designee). In incidents involving students who have yet to declare a major, the appeal will be made to the Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education. In this appeal the Dean/designee will:
    • Meet with the student, faculty member and chair to review the allegation, the evidence and discuss with both parties the allegation and the corrective action. Following this meeting, the Dean/designee will:
      • Support the proposed corrective action or
      • Suggest an alternative corrective action
    • This meeting must take place within 10 days of the department chair’s decision. In instances where the 10 day limit would fall outside of duty days for faculty, the time limit will be expanded (for example, over the winter break or over summer)
  • Appeal the decision of the Dean/designee to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee). In this appeal, the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/designee will
    • Meet with the student, faculty member, chair and Dean to review the allegation, the evidence and discuss with both parties the allegation and the corrective action. Following this meeting, the Dean/designee will:
      • Support the proposed corrective action or
      • Suggest an alternative corrective action
    • This meeting must take place within 10 days of the Dean/designee’s decision. In instances where the 10 day limit would fall outside of duty days for faculty, the time limit will be expanded (for example, over the winter break or over summer)
    • The decision of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/designee will be final.

Step 3: Faculty member appeal process

The faculty member also has the right to appeal the decision of the chair. Should the faculty member wish to appeal the decision of the chair, the appeal will be made to the Dean/Designee. In incidents involving students who have yet to declare a major, the appeal will be made to the Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education. In this appeal the Dean/designee will:

  • Meet with the student, faculty member and chair to review the allegation, the evidence and discuss with both parties the allegation and the corrective action. Following this meeting, the Dean/designee will:
    • Support the proposed corrective action or
    • Suggest an alternative corrective action

This meeting must take place within 10 days of the department chair’s decision. In instances where the 10 day limit would fall outside of duty days for faculty, the time limit will be expanded (for example, over the winter break or over summer) If the faculty member disputes the decision of the Dean/Designee, the faculty member may then:

  • Appeal the decision of the Dean/designee to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee). In this appeal, the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/designee will
    • Meet with the student, faculty member, chair and Dean to review the allegation, the evidence and discuss with both parties the allegation and the corrective action. Following this meeting, the Dean/designee will:
      • Support the proposed corrective action or
      • Suggest an alternative corrective action
    • This meeting must take place within 10 days of the Dean/designee’s decision. In instances where the 10 day limit would fall outside of duty days for faculty, the time limit will be expanded (for example, over the winter break or over summer)
    • The decision of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/designee will be final.

All efforts should be made to resolve the allegations at the lowest level possible. All records will be maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs. Cumulative decisions against a particular student may lead to increased levels of corrective actions.

Procedure for Disciplinary Sanctions

An instructor may choose to refer a violation of the Academic Honesty policy to the Office of Student Conduct for consideration or disciplinary action above and beyond the academic sanctions imposed in a case. The Office of Student Conduct may elect to defer a decision on disciplinary consequences until grade appeal issues are resolved, if a case is being contested. Additionally, any member of the University community, or other individual who has been impacted by the alleged violation of Academic Honesty by a student, may initiate a complaint by contacting the Office of Student Conduct. While anyone may submit a complaint, the University will first investigate to determine if the complaint seems warranted.

Resources are posted at https://www.mnsu.edu//conduct/facultyresources.html.

The Office of Student Conduct will address alleged violation in alignment with Minnesota State Board Policy 3.6 and Procedure 3.6.1 and as outlined in Minnesota State University’s Statement of Student Responsibilities Policy.  Complete, accurate documentation is essential. Faculty, staff and students may be asked to appear as a witness in a University Conduct Board hearing. Students who are suspended or expelled at public universities in Minnesota have the right to request a Chapter 14 contested case hearing before an administrative law judge, in addition to an appeal to the college president.

Students should be afforded the following due process considerations:

  1. Oral or written notice of the allegations.
  2. An explanation of the evidence supporting the complaint.
  3. An opportunity to present their side of the story.
  4. A written notice of the decision and any applicable sanctions.
  5. An opportunity to appeal the decision and sanction(s).

Rationale

In order for an academic community to teach and support appropriate educational values, an environment of trust, cooperation, and personal responsibility must be maintained. Adherence to principles and practices of academic honesty is a key requirement for any student at Minnesota State University, Mankato.