Student Rights & Responsibilities
Academic Dishonesty Policy and Complaint Procedure

Definitions

  1. Academic Dishonesty: deceptive behavior or actions with regard to data, records, submitted works, exams, or other materials related to participation in a course or other academic exercise; these actions includes, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, multiple submissions, misrepresentation of academic records, falsification of any course related documents, facilitation of academic dishonesty by others, unfair advantage, violation of known safety requirements and ethical misconduct.
  2. Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance (e.g., asking someone for an answer during a test, copying answers from another student’s test, etc.), using unauthorized study aids during an exam (e.g., “cheat sheets” or books/notes), or submitting the work of another as one’s own.
  3. Plagiarism: using the idea, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment. See the College’s full definition of plagiarism.
  4. Multiple submission: submitting (or attempting to submit), without prior permission of the current faculty member, any work previously submitted to fulfill another academic requirement (e.g., paper or project submitted for another course).
  5. Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with any portion of a student’s transcripts or academic record.
  6. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping (or attempting to help) another student to commit academic dishonesty.
  7. Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students (e.g., unauthorized access to exam materials, preventing or interfering with another student's efforts, lying about a need for a due date extension, continuing to write when time for a test has expired, destroying or keeping library materials beyond the allotted time period or permanently, etc.)
  8. Student: any person who is taking or auditing classes (including non-credit) at the College or is enrolled in any College program.
  9. Instructor of Record – Person identified as instructor on the student's schedule. In most cases, this refers to a faculty member; however in cases of clinical or laboratory study, the term may refer to a professional staff member who oversees student progress and is responsible for course evaluation (for example, clinical, laboratory, or program director).
  10. Business day: Monday through Friday, excluding any days that the College is closed. Also excluded, for the purposes of instructor responses, are days that classes are not in session for the given semester (e.g., Spring Break).

Policy

Upon admission to Penn College, students make the unqualified commitment to responsible, ethical academic conduct. Academic dishonesty, as defined above, is contrary to the mission of the College and to the best interest of its members. Therefore, students are expected to represent themselves, their work, and the work of others with honesty and integrity.

Charges of academic dishonesty will be take seriously. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty will be subject to action and penalties as the circumstances justify, including suspension or expulsion from the College.

Any staff of faculty member who believes a student is guilty of academic dishonesty is to follow the complaint procedure as presented below.

Any violation of this policy that involves behavior prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct may also be subject to the provisions and sanctions provided therein.

Ultimate authority for student discipline is vested in the College president. Disciplinary authority may be delegated to College administrators, faculty, staff, committees, and organizations, as appropriate.

Complaint Procedure

The following identifies the rights, responsibilities, and protocol relating to academic dishonesty, as defined and articulated in P 4.45, Academic Dishonesty Policy Statement

  1. Authority for Student Discipline
    • Ultimate authority for student discipline is vested in the College president. Disciplinary authority may be delegated to College administrators, faculty, staff, committees, and organizations, as appropriate.
  2. Procedural Protections
    1. Students accused of academic dishonesty are entitled to the following procedural protections:
      1. To be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct as well as evidence upon which the charge is based
      2. To be allowed reasonable time to prepare an appeal of the charge.
      3. To be assured of confidentiality as provided by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (the nature of the case may require some disclosure as permissible under law)
      4. To be considered not responsible for the violation until shown to be responsible by a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not)
  3. Communication; Extensions of Time
    1. All written communication with the student regarding the academic dishonesty allegations and outcomes are delivered via the Penn College email system, absent extenuating circumstances.  It is the responsibility of the student to monitor his or her PCT email account to keep abreast of matters relating to the alleged violations and ensure timely student responses.
    2. The time periods provided for in this procedure may be extended if there are extenuating circumstances or additional time is necessary for the applicable College personnel to explore issues presented.
      1. If the instructor of record requires additional time to explore the possible infraction, he/she will notify the student of the extension.
      2. If the dean or assistant dean requires additional time to explore an appeal, he/she will notify the student and instructor of record of the extension of time.
      3. If the director of academic services requires additional time to explore an appeal, he/she will notify the dean/assistant dean, instructor of record, and the student of the extension of time.
      4. If the president requires additional time to explore an appeal, he/she will notify the director of academic services, dean/assistant dean, instructor of record, and the student of the extension of time.
  4. Academic Dishonesty Complaint Procedure
    1. The instructor of record begins the process within five business days of discovery of the alleged violation, but not more than two weeks after the infraction occurs (e.g., within two weeks of the it being submitted)
      1. If academic dishonesty relating to a previously assessed/graded assignment is discovered, the instructor of record must notify the student of the charges within five business days of the discovery.
    2. Within the above timeline, the instructor of record notifies the student, in writing, of the charges and schedules a meeting with the student to occur within ten business days of said notification. 
      1. In cases where the student fails to attend the scheduled meeting, the process is considered complete. The student will be deemed to have acknowledged that the violation has occurred and the instructor of record will proceed with issuing an appropriate sanction. 
      2. In cases where the student attends the scheduled meeting, the instructor of record will present the student with the charges, any evidence, and the instructor of record's sanction.  Penn College encourages the instructor of record and the accused student to informally arrive at a resolution.
      3. The instructor of record will provide the student, school dean, and the director of academic services with a written outcome, within two business days of the scheduled meeting, whether or not the student attended the meeting.
        1. The director of academic services may, in certain circumstances, intervene upon receipt of the instructor of record's statement. See section V, Administrative Intervention and Injunction.
      4. If the student accepts the instructor of record's sanction, the process is concluded.
    3. If the student denies the charges and/or rejects the sanction, the student then has five business days from the date of the notification of the written outcome in which to submit, in writing, an appeal of the instructor of record's sanction and a request for an administrative hearing with the appropriate school dean.
      1. The student may not drop the course until the issue is resolved.  Once resolved, the student may drop the course only if and to the extent permitted by the instructor of record's sanctions and, then, only in accordance with the College's normal policies and procedures for the dropping of courses.
      2. The school dean will proceed with an investigation of the charges and sanction. Within five business days of receiving the student's request for an administrative hearing, the school dean will meet with the student.  If the student fails to meet with the school dean at the scheduled time, the student shall be deemed to have withdrawn his or her appeal and the matter will be deemed to be finally determined in accordance with the decision of the instructor of record.
      3. The dean will provide the student, the instructor of record and the director of academic services with a written outcome notice within ten business days of the meeting between the dean and the student.
    4. The student and/or instructor of record may appeal the dean's administrative hearing outcome, but such an appeal is permissible only when new information has been discovered.
      1. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the director of academic services within five business days from the date of the notification of the school dean's written outcome.
      2. The written appeal must clearly state the basis for the appeal, specifically detailing the new information that has been discovered for review
      3. During the appeal, the administrative sanctions will be placed on hold.
      4. The director of academic services will provide the student, the instructor of record, and the dean with a written outcome notice, within ten business days of receiving the written appeal.
    5. The decision of the director of academic services is final and there is no further appeal of administrative outcomes, except in cases that result in suspension or expulsion from the College.  In such cases, an appeal may be submitted in accordance with section V-C of this procedure.
    6. If the faculty sanction or any subsequent appeal outcome impacts the student's final grade in the course, the director of academic services will notify the registrar of the change via e-mail.
    7. If the case has not been finally determined by the end of the semester, the instructor of record will submit an Incomplete (I) grade for the course. When the case is adjudicated, the instructor will submit a grade change form to the registrar.
  5. Administrative Intervention and Injunction
    1. For very serious matters in which the charges may result in suspension or expulsion, or in cases of multiple incidents of academic dishonesty, the director of academic services may initiate, at any point in the procedure, an investigation of the charges and/or initiate the process to suspend or expel the student.
    2. The director of academic services will provide the student, instructor of record, and school dean a written statement of his/her findings and decision within ten business days of the conclusion of the investigation or the suspension or expulsion process, as applicable.
      1. If the findings result in a change to the student's academic status, the director of academic services will inform the registrar.
    3. The decision may be appealed, but only in cases where new information has been discovered.
      1. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the president of the College within five business days from the date of the notification of the written outcome from the director of academic services.
      2. The written appeal must clearly state the basis for the appeal, specifically detailing the new information that has been discovered for review.
      3. The president will review all materials and provide to the student, the instructor of record, the dean, and the director of academic services with a written outcome notice within ten business days of receiving the appeal.
      4. The president's decision is final.
  6. Sanctions imposed for academic dishonesty may include, but are not limited to, the following, listed in order of severity:
    1. Course sanctions including, but not limited to, grade reductions or issuance of an F grade for specific assignments or classes/labs/clinics, additional assignments in a class/lab/clinic, temporary or permanent removal from classes/labs.
    2. Probation for a designated period of time and the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to be in violation of any College policy during the probationary period. Probation may include a loss of privileges, assignment of research projects, or other activities.
    3. School sanctions including, but not limited to, removal from an academic program.
    4. College suspension from the College for a defined period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission may be specified. While a student is suspended, he or she is prohibited from being on College premises and excluded from all courses, privileges, and activities.
    5. College expulsion, which is a permanent separation from the College. An expelled student is prohibited from being on College premises and is excluded from all courses, privileges, and activities.
  7. Any charge of academic dishonesty that also involves behavior prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct (PR 4.43) may be subject to the provisions and sanctions provided therein.
  8. Disciplinary Action While Legal Charges are Pending
    • The College may, if it chooses, pursue discipline charges against a student arising out of a violation alleged by any person(s), whether or not any legal action is pursued, dismissed, or reduced.
  9. Results of College Suspension and Expulsion
    1. Students who are expelled or suspended from the institution are assigned "T" grades for all courses in which they are currently enrolled.
    2. Students expelled or suspended from the College and/or College-owned housing are not entitled to refunds of tuition charges and or housing charges.
  10. Transcript Holds
    • In pending cases, a temporary hold can be placed on a student's records by the chief academic affairs officer or designee.
  11. Records that are part of the student's permanent academic record are maintained by the Registrar's Office. Records that pertain to academic dishonesty are maintained by the Academic Affairs Office.
    1. Only sanctions of withdrawal from a course (F or W grades), College expulsion, and College suspension shall become a part of the student's permanent academic record.
    2. All documentation (electronic or hardcopy) related to academic dishonesty will be maintained in Academic Affairs in accordance with records retention protocol established by the College.
  12. Revocation of Degrees
    • The College reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for academic dishonesty.

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