Academic Dishonesty

January 29, 2013

(This article first appeared in the Graduate Teacher Program Handbook. Copyright © 1988 by the Board of Regents, University of Colorado.)

Kay Cook, Graduate Teacher Program


The maintenance of the highest standards of intellectual honesty is the concern of every student and faculty member in the university. The faculty is committed to imposing appropriate sanctions for breaches of academic honesty.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, instructors, including GPTIs and TAs, must impose sanctions for violations of academic ethics. All faculty members are REQUIRED to report in writing all breaches of academic honesty to the associate dean.
GPTIs or TAs in other schools or colleges should contact the appropriate dean for the procedures and sanctions involved in cases of academic dishonesty.

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty can occur in many ways. Some common forms described in statements from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School, are listed below.

Plagiarism.
Although ideas which comprise part of the general fund of human knowledge need not be documented in student papers, students are often unaware that using more specific knowledge requires careful acknowledgment. Instructors should apprise students about what their particular discipline considers common knowledge and what requires documentation.
Students are expected to present their own work; all papers, examinations, and other assignments must be original; explicit acknowledgment. must be given for the use of other persons' ideas or language. Examples of plagiarism as it might occur in term papers, research papers, laboratory reports, and other written assignments are listed below.

  • Failure to use quotation marks: All work which is quoted directly from a source should be enclosed in quotation marks or printed as a blocked quotation and followed by a proper reference giving the exact page or pages from which the quote is taken. Failure to do this, even if a footnote source is provided, is plagiarism.
  • Failure to document ideas: When a student uses one or more ideas from and/or paraphrases a source, he or she must give the exact page or pages from which the ideas or paraphrasing were taken. Failure to provide an exact reference is plagiarism.
  • False documentation: Falsifying or inventing sources or page references is plagiarism.

Cheating on Examinations.
Students are expected to present their own work on all examinations. Some examples of cheating as it might occur in examinations follow.

  • Copying the work of another student during an examination.
  • Permitting another student to copy one's work during an examination.
  • Possessing unauthorized notes, crib sheets, additional sources of information, or other material during an examination.
  • Writing an answer to an exam question outside of class and submitting that answer as part of an in-class exam.
  • Taking an examination for another student.
  • Having an examination taken by a second party.
  • Altering or falsifying examination results after they have been evaluated by the instructor and returned to the student.

Computer abuse.
The statement issued by Academic Computing Services, "Responsibilities of Users," stresses the need for CU faculty, staff, and students to respect the purpose of the facilities on campus, the privacy of users, and the integrity and resource controls of the systems. The document states that "individuals shall not use the ACS resources to develop or execute programs that could harass other users, infiltrate the system, or damage or alter the software components of the systems." Violations include "unauthorized use of another's account, tampering with other users' data, files, tapes, and passwords, harassment of other users, and unauthorized alteration of resource controls." Such violations "may result in suspension of computing privileges; disciplinary review, which may include suspension or expulsion from the university; termination of employment; or legal action....Any instances of academic dishonesty...will be reported to the individual's professor and the associate dean of the individual's college or school, as well as to the Office of Student Conduct."

Research Misconduct.
The draft policy statement of the Educational Policy and University Standards Committee (December 1987) states that faculty, including all members of the general, part-time, and research faculty, "are responsible for emphasizing the importance of ethical research conduct to staff and students who are under their supervision and for providing reasonable supervision to minimize the opportunities for research misconduct." Complaints about research misconduct are referred to the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct.

The draft statement provides the following definitions for misconduct in research and authorship.

  • Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results from research.
  • Material failure to comply with federal requirements for protection of researchers, human subjects, or the public or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals.
  • Failure to meet other legal requirements governing research.
  • Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications.

Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty

  • Possessing term papers, examinations, lab reports or other assignments that have not been formally released by the instructor is dishonest. (Formally releasing such materials means that the instructor has distributed material to the students and has not required that it be returned.).
  • Possessing another student's work without permission.
  • Writing a paper, lab report, or other assignment for another student or submitting material written by someone else.
  • Submitting the same paper for two different classes without the explicit authorization and approval of the faculty members teaching those classes. (It is immaterial whether or not the classes are taught in the same semester.).
  • Selling or purchasing examinations, papers, or other assignments.
  • Falsifying university documents for the purpose of altering a transcript or other official university record.
  • Presenting forged or false statements for the purpose of enabling a student to take advantage of such university policies as Incomplete, Pass/Fail, and Late Withdrawal.
  • Altering another student's examination, term paper, laboratory work, or other assignment.
  • Falsifying data.

Procedures for Confronting and Reporting Cases on Academic Dishonesty
Instructors should be aware that confronting students with suspected academic dishonesty is a serious and sensitive situation. Students should be informed of their rights in these cases. It is advisable to include statements about academic dishonesty at the beginning of the semester in, for example, the course syllabus or in statements about course policy. Official statements about academic dishonesty (e.g., that of the College of Arts and Sciences) can be duplicated and given to students.

The College of Arts and Sciences provides the following procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty.

  • The student shall be confronted with the charge, in person when possible. If the student admits guilt, the instructor is required to deal with the matter and impose sanctions according to College policy.
  • Faculty members must report all cases to the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who will write to the student and will place a copy of this letter in the student's college record.
  • In those cases in which the student admits guilt and where the behavior does not require referral to the Committee on Academic Ethics, the matter shall be considered closed. Behavior requiring referral to the Committee includes:
    • All matters involving repeated unethical behavior.
    • All matters involving the purchase or inappropriate possession of examination or term papers.
    • All matters in which a student is accused of taking an examination for another person or having an examination taken by another person.
    • All matters in which several students are involved in a single incident and where one or more do not admit guilt; in such cases all students involved will appear before the Committee.
    • All matters involving the forgery or alteration of documents affecting a student's academic record.
  • In those cases in which the student denies the allegation, the following procedures shall be followed.
    • The instructor shall refer the case to the Committee on Academic Ethics by writing to the associate dean.
    • As soon as possible the associate dean will schedule a hearing with the Committee. This hearing is closed to the public. Unless the student waives his or her right to a personal appearance, the student, the faculty member, and any witnesses either party may wish to bring are interviewed by the Committee

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