Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Code of Student Behavior
5.0 Academic Integrity
The University of Southern Indiana is an engaged learning community advancing education and knowledge, enhancing civic and cultural awareness, and fostering partnerships through comprehensive outreach programs. The campus is dedicated to a culture of civility among students, faculty, and staff. Academic integrity is vital to the campus mission and culture. The academic integrity statement serves as an educational tool, defining academic integrity, violations of academic integrity, outlining sanctions for violations, and administration of academic integrity policy.
- Demonstrates respect for all students’ right to a safe and quality learning environment
- Does not interfere with others’ educational goals
- Promotes professional and ethical behaviors of all majors
- Appropriately cites others' ideas, writings, and/or work
- Prohibits unapproved assistance with all academic endeavors but is not limited to tests, writing, research, analysis, interpretation, and artificial intelligence (AI) generative content unless approved by individual instructor
Academic Integrity ensures:
- Fairness to students
- All students have the same opportunities
- Everyone receives appropriate credit for their work
- Academic honor
- A culture of civility
Failure to uphold academic integrity:
- Diminishes degree value
- Threatens the credibility of the institution and students
The benchmarks of any great university are high academic standards and academic integrity. Academic integrity is the hallmark of truth and honesty in an engaged university community. Students have the right and responsibility to pursue their educational goals with academic integrity. All members of the University are accountable for their actions in maintaining high standards of academic integrity. Students are responsible for completing academic requirements without action and/or material that violates academic integrity.
5.1 Violations of Academic Integrity
Cheating is intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to:
- Using external assistance during any examination unless the instructor has specifically authorized such assistance. Examples of external assistance include but are not limited to: books, calculators, notes, formula lists, cues on a computer, photographs, cell phones, symbolic representation, and electronic devices.
- Copying from another student’s work. Examples include, but are not limited to: a test, paper, project, product, performance, or electronic document of file.
- Completing assignments for someone or having someone complete an assignment for them
- Taking a test for someone
- Having someone take a test for them
- Submitting the same academic work more than once without permission from all instructors who may be involved.
- Obtaining a copy of an examination from an unauthorized source
- Submitting another’s works as their own, using commercial term-paper companies, past papers, and/or AI generative tools.
Interference is behavior that detracts from a safe and quality learning environment of others' educational goals.
Examples of interference include, but are not limited to:
- Disruptive classroom behavior
- Disrespectful classroom behavior
- Failure to comply with instructor instructions
Fabrication is creating something for the purpose of deception.
Examples of fabrication include, but are not limited to:
- Creating false citations
- Falsifying research, lab, clinical activities, data, or source material
- Using AI generative tools.
Plagiarism is using the work and/or ideas of another person or source as if it is your own.
Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
- Quoting another person’s actual work without appropriate citation
- Using another person’s ideas, opinion, or theory without appropriate acknowledgment
- Using facts, statistics, or other illustrative material without appropriate citation
- Using AI generative tools.
5.1.E. Academic Sabotage
Academic sabotage is an intentional impediment of others' academic progress.
Examples of academic sabotage include, but are not limited to:
- Destroying another’s work
- Impeding another from completing their work
- Removing books, papers, journals, and/or electronic devices from a student or the University
- Changing other students' data, papers, results and/or assignments
- Defacing resources
5.1.F. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
Facilitating academic dishonesty is intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty.
Examples of facilitating academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- Allowing another to copy assignments, papers, examination answers, or lab results
- Providing copies of unauthorized examinations
- Providing copies of papers, examinations, or lab results
- Developing methods for exchanging information during an examination
5.1.G. Violation of research or professional ethics
Violations in this category include professional ethical codes, the University code of conduct, ethical research protocol, and/or any professional standard communication by a professor or program.
Examples of violations of research or professional ethics and/ or standards include, but are not limited to:
- Violation of professional ethical codes of behavior or professional standards
- Conducting research without completing University procedures
- Violation of HIPAA
- Misuse of funding
- Misuse of positions, such as teaching assistant, graduate assistant, or student worker
5.1.H. Violations Involving Potentially Criminal Activity
Violations in this category include actions such as theft, fraud, forgery, and/or distribution of unauthorized materials.
Examples of violations include, but are not limited to:
- Stealing material, including electronic files
- Forging any University documents such as grade change forms
- Falsifying transcripts or grades
- Selling stolen materials
- Violating state and federal regulations governing a profession
5.1.I. Repeated Academic Integrity Violations
Students found responsible of multiple Academic Integrity related violations may be referred to the appropriate academic College dean’s office for further action. Being found responsible of multiple Academic Integrity violations may result in disciplinary probation, removal from the academic program, removal from the college, and/or expulsion from the University.
5.2 Student Rights and Due Process in the Academic Integrity Process
5.2.A. Violation of Policy
A student is considered to have violated the Academic Integrity Policy when the student:
- Admits to their responsibility for a violation; or
- Is found responsible for one or more of the provisions.
5.2.B. Informal Resolution
The first step of any resolution should be at the lowest unit level between the student and the faculty member involved or the appropriate administrator. The faculty member involved, or the appropriate administrator should meet with the student to discuss the alleged violation. In the event an informal resolution is reached, the faculty will notify the appropriate academic college administrator (typically an associate or assistant dean) of the violation and the outcome and provide documentation. The college administrator will create an academic integrity conduct case file and send an official informal resolution letter to the student recapping the charge and the outcome. The student will have five (5) University business days after receipt of the letter to request a formal resolution if they do not agree with the outcome of the informal resolution.
5.2.C. Formal Resolution
If the student and faculty member or administrator are not able to reach an informal resolution or if the student requests a formal resolution within five (5) University business days of the receipt of the letter, the faculty member or administrator should notify the appropriate academic college administrator (typically an associate or assistant dean) who will send a formal charge letter to the student.
5.2.D. Presentation of Information Relevant to the Complaint Resolution Process
Charged students and complainants will be given every reasonable opportunity to present their information, including questions and presentation of additional testimony, during the complaint resolution proceedings. Students have the right against self-incrimination.
5.2.E. Standard of Proof
The standard of proof will be “more likely than not” a University policy has been violated. That proof need only show that the facts are more likely to be so than not so. Evidence, when considered and compared with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and produces in the hearing body’s mind the belief that what is sought is more likely true than not true (Journal of College and University Law).
5.2.F. University Advisor
The student and the complainant each have the right to an advisor. The student’s advisor must be a member of the University community—current student, faculty, administrator, staff, coach, recognized University affiliate, etc.
The role of the advisor is to provide support and to assist the student in preparing for the hearing. Since the complaint resolution process is not a civil or criminal court hearing, the advisor’s role is not that of an attorney representing the student. This person may not address the hearing officer or hearing board or ask questions of any witnesses. For assistance in securing an advisor, the student contacts the Provost's Office.
Witnesses, including the student accused of violating policy, are permitted in all complaint resolution proceedings. Witnesses may present information on behalf of the student or the complainant. It is the responsibility of the student or the complainant to secure their witnesses or witness statements. Witnesses may be questioned by the hearing administrator or hearing board members, by the complainant, and by the student. Witness(es) will be asked to provide information concerning only the violation(s) being adjudicated. Since the complaint resolution process does not have the authority to subpoena, witness statements may be submitted in place of having witness(es) present during the hearing.
5.2.H. Academic Integrity Process Environment
All hearings are closed to the public. Only individuals involved in the situation may be present. Involved individuals may include:
- Hearing officer and/or hearing board members
- Student accused of violating University policy
*Witnesses will remain only for the duration of their own testimony
Generally, within ten (10) business days of receipt of the complaint, the academic college associate or assistant dean will notify the charged student. This notification will include:
- The nature of the alleged inappropriate behavior.
- The date, time, and place of the alleged inappropriate behavior.
- The source of the complaint.
- A summary of information to be presented.
- The date, time, and place of the hearing.
- A description of the preservation and the release of information from the conduct record; and
- A notice that a decision will be made in the student’s absence if the student chooses not to appear at the hearing, and failure to appear will be considered in reaching a decision on whether the behavior code has been violated.
5.3 Academic Integrity Resolution Procedures
5.3.A. Academic Integrity Authority
The Provost's Office is charged with the development and administration of the University of Southern Indiana's academic integrity process. Under the supervision of the Provost’s Office, the following individuals will be charged with the execution of academic integrity proceedings:
- Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
- Dean of Graduate Studies
- Academic College Deans
- Associate and Assistant Academic College Deans
- Academic Department Chairs
5.3.B. University Hearing Board
These individuals are appointed and trained by the Dean of Students or their designee to hear cases involving student conduct or academic integrity. When the University hearing board is convened, the Dean of Students/ Associate Provost of Academic Affairs or their designee will comprise the board by members of the University hearing board pool:
- Students residing in University housing
- Students who live off campus
- Undergraduate students
- Graduate students
- Undergraduate faculty members
- Graduate faculty members
- Administrative staff members
5.3.C. Academic Integrity Process
In cases involving potential dismissal from an academic program or suspension or expulsion from the University, the student may request a hearing before the University Hearing Board (see 5.3.B.).
Most complaints are resolved via the administrative hearing process. An administrative hearing involves the student, the hearing officer (typically the academic department chair), and any other individuals necessary to determine whether the student is responsible for a violation of University policy. The advantages of an administrative hearing include a more timely resolution of the conflict and the involvement of fewer individuals.
An administrative hearing also may become necessary for those times when the full University hearing board is unable to meet. In such instances where the University hearing board would normally be convened, the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs or their designee will conduct the administrative hearing.
5.3.D. Administrative Hearing Process
- Students will meet with an academic department chair. Members of the University hearing board will not conduct administrative hearings.
- Student rights will be reviewed by the hearing officer with the student.
- Charges will be reviewed with the student. At this time, students can indicate whether they believe they are responsible for the policy violation(s) or not responsible for the policy violation(s).
- A student will be given the opportunity to present their version of events to the hearing officer and respond to any of the materials associated with the violation.
- The hearing officer may ask questions of the student and any witnesses.
- The hearing officer will deliberate over the information and will make every attempt to reach a decision within five (5) business days from the date of the meeting as to whether or not the student is responsible or not responsible for the violation(s).
- The student will be notified of the outcome in writing. Any sanctions associated with the outcome will be included in the written notification.
- The appeals process will be outlined and included in the notification of outcome.
5.3.E. University Hearing Board Procedures
- A student will meet with the University hearing board.
- Student rights will be reviewed by the hearing officer with the student.
- Charges will be reviewed with the student. At this time, the student can confirm whether they plead responsible for the policy violation(s) or not responsible for the policy violation(s).
- The University representative bringing charges against the student will present their testimony to the University hearing board.
- The student will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges and to present materials associated with the violation.
- The University representative and accused student shall have the opportunity to present witnesses/witness statements to the University hearing board.
- The University representative and accused student may ask questions of the witnesses through the chair of the University hearing board.
- The University hearing board members may ask questions of the witnesses, the student, and the University representative.
- The University representative and accused student may summarize evidence and testimony through closing statements.
- The University hearing board will deliberate over the information and reach a decision generally within five (5) business days as to whether or not the student is responsible or not responsible for the violation(s). Decisions will be made by a majority vote of the University hearing board.
- Students will be notified of the outcome in writing by the chairperson of the board. Any sanctions associated with the outcome will be included in the written notification. Additionally, the appeals process will be outlined and included in this notification.
5.3.F. Conflict of Interest
No member of the hearing board or no hearing officer who has a conflicting interest in a particular case may conduct an academic integrity hearing for said situation. Hearing board members and hearing officers with conflicting interests must recuse themselves from the proceedings. Either the student or the complainant may challenge a member of the hearing board or a hearing officer in writing with the Provost’s Office.
A hearing officer or the University hearing board will reach one of the following findings at the conclusion of the hearing:
- Charges Dropped: If the alleged conflicts prove to be unfounded, no action will be taken against the student. All written materials will be retained for a minimum of seven years and then destroyed.
- Not Responsible: The finding of the facts of the case found that it was NOT “more likely than not” that the student was responsible for the violation(s). No action will be taken against the student. All written materials pertaining to that charge will be retained for one year and then destroyed.
- Responsible: The finding of the facts of the case found that it was “more likely than not” that the student was responsible for the violation(s). Sanctions, restrictions, and/or stipulations can be imposed (see 3.7). All written materials will be retained for a minimum of seven years and then destroyed, except in the case of suspension or expulsion and/or at the discretion of the Dean of Students, which becomes a matter of permanent record.
5.3.H. Levels of Violations and Sanctions
A violation of academic integrity is a serious offense subject to sanction. The University of Southern Indiana classifies violations into three levels. Classification of violations depends upon several factors, such as premeditation/ planning, dishonest or malicious intent, first-time violation/ multiple violations, the academic experience, and the assignment. The classification of violations examines offenses in the context of the situation, facts, and evidence. Therefore, academic integrity violations committed by Graduate students often are more severely penalized than the same violation committed by an inexperienced undergraduate student. Violation of academic integrity, even a first offense, places the student in jeopardy of the most severe form of sanction—expulsion from the University.
|Severity of offense||Examples||Possible Sanctions|
Students found responsible for a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy may appeal. An appeal from any decision, either administrative hearing or University hearing board, must be made in writing within two (2) business days following the date the hearing record notification is assigned and notice received by the student.
5.3.J. Format of Appeal
An appeal shall be written and contain the student’s name, the date of the decision or action, and the reason(s) for the appeal. The appeal letter must specify in detail one or more of the following bases for appeal:
- Student’s rights were violated as a result of failure of due process (specify right believed to have been violated),
- Decision is arbitrary (no basis in University policy for decision) or capricious manner (the finding is against the substantial weight of the evidence),
- Significant new evidence is available that could change the outcome, and/or
- The appropriateness of the sanction is inconsistent with University community standards.
The Dean of the academic College in which the alleged violation occurred will review appeals.
5.3.L. Appeal Process
The appellate officer will review the written letter of appeal from the student and determine if one of the bases for appeal is present. If it is, a consideration of the appeal will be granted. The appellate officer shall review:
- The response from the hearing officer/body.
- Materials presented at the original hearing, and if available the recorded transcript of the hearing.
Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original proceedings and upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. Decisions of the hearing bodies will be given great deference by the appellate decision maker. After reviewing these materials, the appellate officer may decide to do one of the following:
- Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed.
- If specified errors occurred, remand to the original decision makers to reverse the error, change the procedures, consider new evidence that could not have been discovered by a properly diligent accused before or during the original hearing, substitute new adjudicators, or otherwise repair the grounds that gave rise to the appeal.
- Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate or increase the sanction if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.
- Cases may only be dismissed if the finding is held to be arbitrary and capricious.
A crucial point in the appeals process is the shifting of the burden of proof. At the initial hearing, the burden of proof lies with the complainant. Once there is a finding of responsibility, the burden shifts to the petitioner. The decision on the appeal will generally be made within ten (10) business days of receipt of the appeal but may take longer during University recesses or in the event of complex cases.
5.3.M. Provost Review
If the Dean upholds the original decision, the appellant may request that the Dean’s decision be reviewed by the provost or their designee if the outcome is dismissal from an academic program or suspension or expulsion from the University. Persons wishing to pursue this review must submit a request in writing to the Provost’s Office within ten (10) business days after the date of receiving written notice of the Dean’s appeal decision. Upon receipt of this written request from the appellant, the Provost’s Office will request the complete file of the complaint and the dean’s appeal evaluation.
The Provost or their designee will review all documentation and evidence that was used in support of both the original complaint outcome and the appeal decision. The Provost or their designee will have the option to uphold the prior decision all or in part, to overturn and reverse the decision all or in part, or to refer all or part back to the department chair with recommendations for further action. Within ten (10) business days after receiving the request for review, the Provost or their designee will notify the student of the outcome.
This Student Rights and Responsibilities was approved on August 14, 2023, by Dean Laurie Berry, and implemented on August 15, 2023.