Student Rights & Responsibilities
Academic Dishonesty Policy and Complaint Procedure
- Academic Dishonesty: behavior/actions including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, multiple submissions, misrepresentation of academic records, falsification of any course related documents, facilitation of academic dishonesty, unfair advantage, violation of known safety requirements and ethical misconduct.
- 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.
- Plagiarism: using the idea, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement. See the College’s full definition of plagiarism.
- 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).
- Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with any portion of a student’s transcripts or academic record.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping (or attempting to help) another violate the principles of academic integrity (e.g., working together on a take-home exam without permission, providing another student with a pre-written paper or test, unauthorized collaboration of any kind)
- 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.)
- Student: any person who is taking or auditing classes (including non-credit) at the College or is enrolled in any College program.
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 taken 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 or 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.
The following identifies the rights, responsibilities, and protocol relating to academic dishonesty, as defined and articulated in P 4.45, Academic Dishonesty Policy Statement
- 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.
- Procedural Protections
- Students accused of academic dishonesty are entitled to the following procedural protections:
- To be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based
- To be allowed reasonable time to prepare
- To be informed of the evidence upon which any charge is based
- To be assured of confidentiality, in accordance with the terms of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (the nature of the case may require some disclosure as permissible under law)
- To be considered not responsible for the violation until shown to be responsible by a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not)
- Communication; Extensions of Time
- 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.
- The time periods provided for in Parts IV and V may be extended if there are extenuating circumstances or additional time is necessary to explore issues presented by the applicable College personnel, i.e., the faculty member, in the case of IVa and c, in which event the student will be notified of the extension of time; the dean, in the case of Part IVi, in which case the student and faculty member will be notified of the extension of time; the Assistant Vice President for Academic Services, in the case of Part IVj, ii, in which the case the student, faculty member and dean will be notified of the extension of time; or the President in the case of Part V,c,iii, in which case the student, faculty member, dean and Assistant Vice President of Academic Services will be notified of the extension of time.
- Academic Dishonesty Complaint Procedure
- The faculty member, within five business days of discovery of the alleged violation, notifies the student, in writing, of the charges and schedules a meeting with the student to occur within ten business days of said notification.
- 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 faculty member will proceed with issuing an appropriate sanction. The faculty member will provide the student, school dean, and the assistant vice president for academic services with a written outcome, within two business days of the scheduled meeting.
- In cases where the student attends the scheduled meeting, the faculty member will present the student with the charges, any evidence, and the faculty member’s sanction. Penn College encourages the faculty member and the accused student to informally arrive at a solution.
- The faculty member will provide the student, school dean, and the assistant vice president for academic services with a written outcome, within two business days of the meeting between the faculty member and the student.
- If the student accepts the faculty member’s sanction, the process is concluded.
- If the student denies the faculty member’s stated charges and/or rejects the sanction, the faculty member will inform the registrar that a hold is to be placed on the student’s course grade, pending completion of the process. The student will not be permitted to 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 faculty member’s sanctions and, then, only in accordance with the College’s normal policies and procedures for the dropping of courses.
- The assistant vice president for academic services may, in certain circumstances, intervene upon receipt of the faculty statement. See section IV, Administrative Intervention and Injunction.
- The student then has five business days from the date of the notification of the faculty member’s written outcome in which to submit, in writing, an appeal of the faculty issued sanction and a request for an administrative hearing with the appropriate school dean.
- If the student requests a hearing, the school dean will proceed with an investigation of the charges and faculty-issued 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 faculty member.
- The dean will provide the student, the faculty member, and the assistant vice president for academic services with a written outcome notice within ten business days of the meeting between the dean and the student.
- The student and/or faculty member may appeal the dean’s administrative hearing outcome, but such an appeal is permissible only when new information has been discovered.
- Appeals must be submitted in writing to the assistant vice president for academic services within five business days from the date of the notification of the school dean’s written outcome.
- The written appeal must clearly state the basis for the appeal, specifically detailing the new information that has been discovered for review
- The assistant vice president for academic services will provide the student, the faculty member, and the dean with a written outcome notice, within ten business days of receiving the student’s and/or faculty’s written appeal.
- During the student’s and/or faculty’s appeal, the sanctions of the administrative hearing will be placed on hold.
- The decision of the assistant vice president for academic services is final and there is no further appeal of administrative hearing 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 IV,c of this procedure.
- If the case has not been finally determined by the end of the semester, the faculty member will submit an Incomplete (I) grade for the course. When the case is adjudicated, the faculty member will notify the registrar to change the (I) grade to the appropriate grade via the grade change process.
- Administrative Intervention and Injunction
- For very serious matters in which the charges may result in suspension or expulsion, or in cases of multiple incidents of academic dishonesty, the assistant vice president for 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.
- The assistant vice president for academic services will provide the student, faculty member, 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. The decision may be appealed, but only in cases where new information has been discovered.
- 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 assistant vice president for academic services.
- The written appeal must clearly state the basis for the appeal.
- The president will review all materials and provide to the student, the faculty member, the dean, and the assistant vice president for academic services with a written outcome notice within ten business days of receiving the appeal.
- The president’s decision is final.
- Sanctions imposed for academic dishonesty may include, but are not limited to, the following, listed in order of severity:
- 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.
- Probation for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to be in violation of any College regulation or policy during the probationary period. Probation may include a loss of privileges, assignment of research projects, or other activities.
- School sanctions including, but not limited to, removal from an academic program.
- College Suspension - The termination of student status and the separation of the student 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.
- College Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student from the College. When a student is expelled, he or she is prohibited from being on College premises and excluded from all courses, privileges, and activities.
- 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.
- 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.
- Results of College Suspension and Expulsion
- Students who are expelled or suspended from the institution are assigned “T” grades for all courses in which they are currently enrolled.
- Students expelled or suspended from the College and/or College-owned housing are not entitled to refunds of tuition charges and or housing charges.
- Transcript Holds
- In pending cases, a temporary hold can be placed on a student’s records by the chief academic affairs officer or designee.
- 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.
- Only sanctions of College expulsion and suspension shall become a part of the student’s permanent academic record.
- 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.
- Revocation of Degrees
- The College reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud.